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- Take Your Mentoring Online
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- Virtual Mentoring Preparation Worksheet
FOR THE MODERN WORKFORCE
Workers increasingly demand remote work opportunities from their employers. A trend that pre-dated the global COVID-19 pandemic, Gartner found that over 80% of companies plan to allow for remote work once the pandemic ends and that 51% of global business professionals will be working remotely by the end of 2021. For companies more accustomed to traditional work styles, this change to remote work can complicate key retention initiatives, including mentoring programs.
Whether your business still operates a legacy mentoring program built on in-person environments or you’re launching a mentoring program for the first time, the shift toward remote work necessitates virtual mentoring. Thankfully, virtual mentoring is not only highly effective but by leveraging modern tools, the setup, management, and evaluation process significantly improve upon traditional mentoring methods.
What Is Virtual Mentoring?
A virtual mentoring program is one that connects mentors and mentees through virtual communication instead of requiring physical meetings face-to-face. A virtual mentorship program can also be established, maintained, and tracked using digital tools that automate much of the process to help reduce how much time everyone involved (mentors, mentees, administrators) need to spend on managing the relationship.
For example, if a mentor and mentee communicate primarily through email, phone calls, business chat services like Slack, or video conference platforms like Zoom, this would in essence be an example of virtual mentoring. Many of us have become accustomed to remote communication tools, making the transition to mentoring via virtual tools feel completely natural.
MentorcliQ integrates with the technology your employees use everyday. Integrations deliver a seamless experience for your participants and more data for your administrators. Making it even easier to book meetings and engage in mentoring relationships.
What Are the Benefits of Virtual Mentoring
For many of us, virtual mentoring presents a new element to the mentoring process. We’re far more used to meeting with mentors (or mentees) in person, grabbing a drink together, and discussing goals, challenges, and successes. Virtual mentoring doesn’t remove the human connection element; all it does is alter the meeting place. Outside of that, virtual mentoring has some unique benefits over traditional face-to-face mentoring.
Virtual mentoring is not limited by location. Mentees can have mentors from within their organization anywhere in the world, something that’s nearly impossible for a distributed workforce.
Having to meet physically significantly limits how many mentor and mentee pairings can exist. Accounting for travel time to and from meeting locations is always a factor, as is tracking. Virtual mentoring eliminates travel time, and when virtual mentoring software is used as a programmatic framework, the time required to track progress tracking is reduced.
Traditional mentoring is limited by time availability. You have to organize your schedules, meet in person, and make sure you dedicate that time to your schedule. However, leaning into a virtual mentorship program means mentoring can be asynchronous if you and your mentee want it to be. You can connect over chat, email, or record videos.
Especially when mentoring software is properly leveraged, virtual mentoring allows organizations to quickly create and manage various program types, such as onboarding new employees or succession mentoring, or establishing group mentoring for diversity and inclusion.
MentorcliQ Makes Virtual Mentoring Easy
How Do You Mentor Someone Virtually?
For manAll mentoring, regardless of the mentoring format, requires mentors to have the following:
Do you have the right attitude (such as openness, honesty, and a willingness to share) for effective mentoring?
Can you commit to a regular schedule or to making time regularly for a mentee?
Can you hold yourself and your mentee to fulfill the duties both implicit and explicitly elaborated in the relationship?
Outside of the mentor competencies that would make for a good virtual mentor, there are some elements to the program design that can also make virtual mentoring easier to accomplish, more rewarding for mentees, and more accountable for everyone.
Virtual Mentoring Program Suggestions For Success
Ready to get started and launch a virtual mentoring program?
MentorcliQ’s online mentoring platform was built for this. While some of our users may choose to meet in person (under normal circumstances), the platform is designed to help people conduct mentoring online. From setting goals and planning integrated learning activities, to tracking discussions and monitoring progress with surveys, MentorcliQ is built to facilitate online mentoring.
Here are some best practices we’ve learned over the years on how to conduct virtual mentoring relationships, which I hope will make it easier for you to stay connected at this unprecedented time in our lives.
Ready to Launch a Virtual Mentoring Program?
ADDITIONAL DESIGN TIPS
FOR VIRTUAL MENTORING PROGRAMS
TIP 1 Automate Mentor and Mentee Matching
Traditional mentoring programs often kicked off with mentors and mentees getting paired off in matching events. Program administrators would host these events in conference rooms with coffee and donuts and mentors and mentees would eventually pair up and begin the mentorship engagement. If not a matching event, administrators would instead pour through employee profiles and data and manually select matches, a process that could take hours for each pairing alongside the problem of potentially introducing bias in the matching process.
Virtual mentoring, however, is typically designed from the ground up with automation and ease-of-use mind. Administrators now utilize virtual mentoring software that provides automated matching based on advanced algorithms that pull data surveys supplied by potential mentors and mentees. From there, mentors and mentees often have two matching options:
Mentees choose from a pool of available mentors, or mentors invite available mentees to join them in a mentoring relationship).
Virtual mentorship program administrators will review the data from the matching program and select the best fits.
Virtual mentoring programs like MentorcliQ make both administrator and self-directed matching easier than traditional pen-and-paper matching. Instead of spending hours for each match pouring over data personality types, experiences, and profiles, MentorcliQ’s award-winning matching tool gathers this data and automates the matching process with visualized match percentages. Because MentorcliQ is virtual by design, it supports multiple engagement types, such as 1:1, group mentoring, quick connections coaching sessions, and more.
Before we started using MentorcliQ we were manually matching mentors and mentees based on their preferences. The time saved from the automatic matching has allowed us to focus more on supporting our mentees and mentors with communication, resources, training sessions, and more.
Once matched, mentors and mentees will choose the time and communication method for introductions. Given virtual mentoring happens remotely, participants can choose to send a quick hello through a chat message, or block off time on a calendar for a more extensive video call.
TIP 2 Implement Goal Management and Success Tracking
Mentoring should have measurable goals, and measurement means program management. After goals have been established, mentors and mentees should track progress toward meeting those goals. As much as possible, goals should be something that the mentee can tangibly track as a way of measuring the success of the mentoring relationship, whether that’s with ROI or overall satisfaction from participants.
Something as simple as a satisfaction survey can go a long way to helping program administrators and mentors understand what is or isn’t working. You can also help those sitting in the C-Suite see the value of the mentoring program with effective measurement criteria that help you establish a baseline of your ROI.
Tracking the progress of a virtual mentoring program is best accomplished using integrated virtual mentoring software. The traditional approach often relies on spreadsheets, which can get difficult to manage and require extensive amounts of time for upkeep. All told, your mentors and mentees will appreciate more dynamic program tracking in the virtual mentoring program, as will the executives signing off on the program expenditures.
VIRTUAL MENTORING GUIDES
Advice and resources around engaging employees remotely through virtual mentoring – MentorcliQ’s mentoring experts answer frequently asked questions about virtual mentoring!
One question we frequently receive from our customers is how should mentoring programs evolve in order to keep participants engaged when they shift to virtual work?
With the global shift from in-person work to working from home, companies are facing significant business challenges with engaging their new remote workforce.
As businesses are transitioning to operate in a virtual space and working from home becomes the new normal, employers are racing to find ways for their employees to connect and engage.
Virtual Mentoring Software Platform
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