It’s easy to overlook mentoring as a necessary part of remote work engagement. Yet studies show that it is one of the best tools to increase engagement and productivity. It is one of — if not the only — ways to transfer intangible assets to new employees. Mentoring provides emotional support, visions for life, and learning motivation. It is undeniable that companies perform better once the mentorship programs work well.
Remote mentoring is beneficial for both mentee and mentor as both sides benefit from increased interaction and team building. Yet, partnership formation and psychological participation are huge barriers to the effectiveness of any type of program. With LEAD.bot, you will be better able to match employees and managers, new hires, and senior employees well. After that, you’ll be able to take advantage of the best-in-class program that LEAD is. Plan out the mentorship program ahead of time to avoid potential pitfalls like lack of engagement.
How Do You Mentor Employees Virtually?
Even after the pandemic, many remote employees prefer working from home over commuting to an office. However, remote workers do suffer from a lack of social connection. Of course, forming a natural social connection is much easier said than done.
Overcoming those already formidable natural barriers to forming connections is hard virtually. To facilitate connections with employees, try using a mentor bot like LEAD.bot. LEAD forms connections between employees and mentors, letting you focus more on honing your mentorship skills.
How Do I Become A Good Virtual Mentor?
Forming a connection with remote employees, especially those you’ve never seen in person can be difficult, to say the least. If you’re new to mentoring entirely, then remote mentoring could seem like a daunting task. Treat it as a speed dating process — it is important to meet as many potential mentees just as they need to meet as many potential mentors. Then you can find a better fit through the initial qualification calls.
It is hard to run a mentoring speed dating with so many people in the company, the good news is that if your company uses Microsoft Teams or Slack, you can use an employee matching software like LEAD.bot to make connecting with remote workers easier than ever, letting you focus on remote mentoring best practices.
5 Best Practices For Mentoring Remote Employees
The potential list of best practices for mentoring remote employees could be nearly infinite, as different managers find success using a variety of tactics. However, we’ve found that these five best practices are great for any remote mentors looking to improve their skills.
Set Clear Goals
Whether you’re continuing to mentor an employee you’ve known for a while or just starting out with a new hire, you should begin by setting clear goals. The goals of the mentorship will vary based on:
• The employee’s personality
• The employee’s skill level
• Long-term goals for the organization
• The relationship between you and the employee
The easiest way to approach goal-setting is by asking the employee what their long-term career goals are. There’s a good chance that your company can help the employee learn new skills and guide them down their desired career path. As a mentor, it’s your job to help make this a reality.
Next, consider some short-term goals:
1. Help the employee perform their current role better
2. Prepare the employee for career growth
Note that goals change over time, so be sure to regularly check in with your mentee and adjust goals as necessary.
In LEAD.bot setting, it is important for admins to survey the participants and separate them into different cohorts. Use their different agendas to set up matching rules – for example, cross-matching the mentors with certain specialties or interests with mentees who are interested in similar areas. If you are unsure about how to set up the matching rules, our LEAD.bot support team is here to help. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org any time to set up a free setup consultation call.
Know How To Start The Conversation
Organic conversations are much harder to come by when you work remotely. As a manager and mentor, you should try to start the conversation with mentees and other employees.
If you don’t know where to start, please edit the introduction template on LEAD.bot’s dashboard. Here is a list of conversation starters you can consider. It is also important for you to change the discussion topics often so people don’t get bored over time. While LEAD.bot can also save you time and energy to introduce people together, the involvement of the admin in a LEAD matching project is crucial. We, LEAD do our best to help you run the project, and you are the culture champions that know your employees the best and are able to customize the software to your company’s needs the best.
Every good working relationship requires authentic communication in a professional manner. As a mentor, you should make it clear from the get-go that the mentee should feel free to voice their opinions, concerns, and ideas freely. However, it is also important to make sure you inform your employees about the code of conduct of your company, so people openly communicate with mutual respect.
One unfortunate side effect of remote work is that remote employees tend to work more than they did in the office. While this is great for productivity, the added work and blurred work-life balance can become stressful for workers.
Let your mentee know that they should reach out if they feel overworked, overburdened, or stressed with their current workload. Remember, there’s no other way to learn about problems that remote workers are experiencing than through open communication.
Set Regular Check-Ins When Not Scheduled, Too
Employees may prefer fewer meetings each week, but your remote mentorship should entail at least one weekly check-in. These meetings don’t have to have an agenda, and sometimes you and the mentee may not even discuss work — great for increasing employee engagement.
Aside from scheduled meetings, send your mentee messages via email or Teams to check in and see how they’re doing. You don’t want to seem overbearing, so try to reach out sporadically. Preference for connection frequency varies from person to person, so be sure to rely on your instincts as a manager.
Your mentee may also benefit from quick virtual coffee breaks with other employees. Not only does virtual coffee through LEAD.bot introduces hundreds of employees to each other at once, (for example, 10 am PT on Tuesday), employees can get to know their matches asynchronously based on their own schedules (for example, some are matched on Tuesday at 10 am but meet up at 3 pm, some agreed to chat on Thursday).
Hold Each Other Accountable
The mentor-mentee relationship should benefit both workers, which means holding each other accountable for tasks and requirements.
The mentor should be prepared to:
• Follow up on tasks assigned to the mentee
• Regularly check in on the mentee
• Make time to help the mentee when necessary
The mentee should be able to:
• Communicate clearly whether they agree to accept the assignments from the mentor
• Give mentors updates either weekly or based on their agreed timeline
• Avoid depending on mentors to solve everything and anything for them: ask for advice, but make decisions independently.
The remote mentorship program won’t work if both mentors and mentees are not holding up their end of the bargain. Regardless if it is remote or in person, mentorship is about relationships and it is important to have mutual respect and check in with each other regularly, just as you would with your close friends.
Build Better Connections Through LEAD.bot
Creating a thriving virtual mentorship program doesn’t need to be a stressful process. Tools like LEAD.bot make connecting employees easier than ever, facilitating many of the best practices for virtual mentoring.
Of course, LEAD.bot can’t make the mentor-mentee relationship work, and any good virtual mentor needs to step up and do more than what’s normally required.
Cultivate the benefits of remote mentoring today with LEAD 👉 Take 3 minutes and 3 simple steps to install LEAD on Slack or Microsoft Teams