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Engage Your Employees with Virtual Mentoring
The COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the globe, spurring shelter in place orders around the world and forcing organizations to implement full-time work from home strategies. Before the pandemic, 4.7 million people, about 3.4% of the U.S. population, worked remotely. This number has increased significantly, with an estimated half of the U.S. workforce now working from their home.
But even before coronavirus was a household name, recent research by Flex Jobs suggested that flexible working is the new normal. A report this month from CNBC suggests in the aftermath of the pandemic, many companies will be embracing more flexible models and allowing employees to work from home more often.
Whether your employees will come flooding back to the office as shelter in place orders lift or remain remote, now is a critical time to engage your employees with virtual mentoring.
Engage Employees with a Virtual Mentoring Program – Right Now
An estimated 50% of businesses are considering layoffs. That includes a dishearteningly long list of big players who have already been forced to make cuts. On the surface, now may seem like the perfect time to just bunker down and get through this.
But your organization simply can’t afford to do that, for many reasons, including:
- You are operating with a lean workforce. Generally, organizations retain their top talent during layoffs, which means remaining employees are already identified as high performers. Your organization can’t afford to have them disengage or find a new position. You need them to be as motivated and productive as possible.
- Your perks might be slimmer. Just a few months ago, your employees were heading into the office, visibly reminded of your great company culture. This probably included a positive office vibe and small perks, like free coffee, that added value to their workday. Not only are these gone, but in some businesses, key benefits like 401K match or merit increases have been tabled until as late as 2021. Without these perks, you’ll need to find new ways to engage employees – and reminding them they have a bright career path on the other side of this is a great way to do that.
- You can get a jump on your competition. Work from home policies are here to stay – at least to some degree. By launching a virtual mentoring program now, not only can you engage employees during a stressful time, but you can also emerge as a leader for employee engagement. This will be even more important as things open up in the coming months and companies resume their hiring processes.
How to Achieve Employee Engagement through Virtual Mentoring
Virtual mentoring isn’t simply booking a meeting room or scheduling a coffee date. A virtual mentoring program must be intentional. To find success with this type of modern mentoring, your organization should:
- Advocate for proactive check ins. Individual mentors and program participants must be proactive about staying in touch. Your organization needs to proactively manage the program during this time to support your employees’ efforts to build connections. Check-in regularly and provide participants with resources to improve their mentoring relationship.
- Embrace technology. Technology provides a wealth of options to cultivate connections. Mentoring software tools include virtual mentor matching, direct messaging between participants, and ad-hoc admin reporting.
- Engage everyone. If you already have a mentoring program in place, don’t overlook those who aren’t currently participating. This is a very challenging time, and many who brushed off a mentoring program in a more stable time may be grateful to participate in this uncertain one. By reminding all employees of your program, you make it easy to sign up.
- Provide thought leadership. Remember, even your mentors are navigating uncharted waters right now. Remove barriers for participants by facilitating resources participants need – like ice breakers or conversation starters, examples for goal setting or useful articles and webinars. Mentoring software gives you a place to house this content and makes it easy for participants to access it. And, don’t forget to ask your participants what resources they need to be successful.
The Benefits of Virtual Mentoring
During a time where physical distancing is mandated, human connection is pivotal. Virtual mentoring has several benefits, for both employees and the organization.
In addition to all the well-known benefits that come with a traditional mentoring program, virtual mentoring enables your organization to:
- Cultivate deep, intentional relationships on a global scale. A virtual mentoring program enables your organization to make the best matches, even if participants are located on opposite sides of the world, or in another state.
- Enable both casual and intentional conversations. When the relationship is virtual, participants are already communicating through modern means. This increases the likelihood that they will send a quick instant message to their mentoring partner, instead of simply waiting for the next scheduled meeting.
- Flexible meetings. When employees don’t have to align on being in the same place at the same time, scheduling becomes much more flexible. Not only does this make it easier for participants, but that convenience also makes it likely more people will participate.
- Larger participant pools. When more people can participate, your organization reaches a wider audience. This translates into better mentor matches and more broad organizational benefits, like employee engagement.
Implement Mentoring Software to Facilitate Virtual Mentoring
Now more than ever, making connection easy for employees can help support their engagement and general happiness. With mentoring software, you can design a virtual mentoring program that:
- Analyzes program results to demonstrate ROI.
- Helps develop mentoring goals.
- Effectively matches mentors and mentees.
- Maintains all the information in a consolidated place.
Insala’s mentoring software will support your business as you transition your mentoring program to a virtual one or build a mentoring program from the ground up. Our software empowers you to engage and support participants and analyze results to make informed decisions along the way.
Business leaders are now navigating an unprecedented crisis, and although this one is new to us too, hard times aren’t. In our more than 30 years of experience, we’ve helped many businesses tackle the challenges of implementing a mentoring program, and we can support you as you do the same.
Please contact us to request a demo and see for yourself how Insala can help you develop a virtual mentoring program that engages and inspires your employees.
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