Companies are switching permanently to remote or hybrid work environments after the pandemic, and internal programs need to be reviewed with a ‘remote’ lens. If your company has had a successful in-person mentorship program for years, it might be time to refresh it to cater to the hybrid/remote set-up.
Here are some aspects to consider while revamping your mentorship programs to fit into the new normal.
Structure, Rules, Goals, and Outcomes
It is important to understand that an existing in-person mentoring program may not work for a remote set-up with a few recalibrations. The program would need to be looked at with fresh eyes for a changing world. A structure that enables both the mentor and mentee to connect and work together virtually needs to be enabled by the organization with the right tools. A rule book that states acceptable work timings and modes of communication, defines personal and professional boundaries, and a mutual respect for each other's time should be created to serve as a guide. Lastly, clearly stating the purpose of the program for both parties and the expected outcome on which the success of the program will be based will ensure a steady alignment with organizational goals and expectations of the participants.
The truly global nature of a remote work environment needs to be harnessed to create new-age mentoring programs. The old-school method of identifying potential mentors and mentees included factors such as physical location and common work streams. However, a virtual mentoring program provides a lot of choices of mapping parameters to work with. With the help of mentoring program software custom algorithms can be created to map mentors and mentees.
Diversity data can also be tapped to create meaningful mentoring relationships. Pairing participants from different parts of the world can also help increase cultural awareness and cross cultural competence.
A remote work environment can be a lonely place. Conversations during the course of the work day would mostly be transactional and work-related. With back-to-back meetings, it becomes difficult to form connections. This space becomes especially challenging for new joinees or young employees who do not understand or get to witness the company culture firsthand. Virtual mentoring programs are a great way to bridge this distance. Encourage mentors to have honest conversations, guide their mentees, and understand the challenges they are facing and listen with intent. It can also be a great opportunity for reverse mentoring and can provide insights about the expectations of the new generation from the workplace.
Easy access to resources
With mentors and mentees in different physical locations, ensuring they have easy access to the same set of resources becomes essential. A program plan replete with milestones and action items for each mentor-mentee interaction can be easily set up in mentoring platforms like Teleskope Talent Peak. Such platforms can also send meeting invites, track milestone completion, schedule action items, and record attendance which ensures all participants comply with the program even with busy schedules. A mentoring program can be truly successful only when the participants commit to the process and are aided with the right tools.
Employees in mentoring programs feel seen, heard and motivated to make a change and are more loyal. Investing in the right tools to support mentorship programs in remote work environments will pay rich dividends in the future.