Mentoring is a great tool that lets organizations hold onto valuable employees, makes employees feel engaged, and prepares employees to take on leadership roles in the future. Building a mentoring program has always been a part of any successful organization.

However, the pandemic has led to many employees working from home. Now, face-to-face mentoring is not always a possibility. This guide will discuss some steps in creating an effective virtual mentorship program.

What Will a Good Virtual Mentorship Program Accomplish?

Virtual mentoring programs are designed to lead to employee development, teach new skills, integrate new employees into your organization’s culture, and retain a diverse group of employees. Virtual mentoring programs have grown in popularity as distributed workplaces are becoming the norm.

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However, a virtual mentoring program is more than just taking what was a one-on-one, face-to-face mentoring program and migrating it online. There are unique challenges that you need to be aware of and you can use customized training solutions that can help make virtual mentorship a success.

Making Virtual Mentoring Effective

It’s challenging to build a connected remote work culture. Virtual mentoring can be part of your organization’s strategy to bring employees together who otherwise don’t interact. It gives you a chance to invest in the professional growth of your team while creating a socially connected remote workplace.

Virtual mentoring is an effective way to onboard new teammates. Creating and onboarding the buddy system makes it easier for new hires to adapt to your company’s culture. It allows for effective remote interactions that mimic what would have occurred naturally in an office setting. An excellent virtual mentor will help new hires set goals, understand the communication style within the organization, and provide those small details that might not be in the training manual but are essential to the employees’ success.

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Virtual mentoring can be an effective way to prevent burnout and minimize stress. Both the mentor and the mentee will feel like the work they’re doing is meaningful. It provides a space where all parties involved can reflect, communicate, and realize that their anxieties are shared among team members.

How Does Virtual Mentoring Work?

Virtual mentoring requires you to pair employees with mentors and set a predetermined meeting frequency. The objectives of these meetings are laid out and could include discussing:

  • Personal challenges
  • Professional goals
  • Ideas
  • Sources of anxiety
  • Recommendations for improvement

Virtual mentoring can be set up as the traditional one-on-one leader and protégé dynamic, or you can use other effective models. Group mentoring allows a leader to oversee and encourage the professional development of several employees. Reverse mentoring is where the junior employee shares knowledge about technology with senior employees who may lack it. Peer mentoring is where colleagues on the same level of seniority work with and encourage each other.

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Starting a Virtual Mentorship Program

  1. Set your goals. Define what you want from the virtual mentorship. Do you want to build new leaders, attract new candidates, or ensure that new hires understand and adhere to your company’s culture?
  2. Get Employee Buy-In. The success of your program depends on genuine employee participation. Survey to hear what your team wants to be mentored on and what they feel mentorship should look like. After the virtual mentorship program goes live, get feedback to ensure that your employees feel the program is meeting their needs.
  3. Properly match mentor and mentee. Have employees fill out a questionnaire when they opt into the mentorship program. Include demographic information, interests, gender preference for the mentor, especially if it’s a one-on-one mentor pairing, and goals for the program. This is one of the most essential parts of having a meaningful mentoring experience.
  4. Show the value of virtual mentorship to the rest of the team. Show the rest of your team the mentoring program’s impact on participants. Make a highlight reel of success stories that you can share. Sharing this data will help you maintain employee buy-in, keeping the program strong.
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Virtual Mentorship Is Key to Organizational Success

The remote work environment and the need for mentoring are two things that aren’t going anywhere. Creating an effective virtual mentorship program will help your organization grow, improve employee happiness, and set you up for a successful future.

AUTHOR NAME : ALISON LURIE

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