Everything You Need to Know About Virtual Mentoring
There is no denying that the ongoing Covid pandemic has changed the way office work, well, works. People, instead of grinding away at their daily nine to fives, now have to work from home. This has led to no loss of productivity and provides a way more comfortable way to work.
However, this has come with its own set of challenges. When a new employee joins the workplace, they are most often paired with a mentor who shows them the ropes. The mentee learns the way of the office and brings any and all doubts to their assigned mentor, and together, they work things out.
With Covid putting a stop to people coming to the office, how can we ensure that these mentorship programs do not fall apart? After all, people need jobs, and they need to know the ins and outs of how to work them. Mentorships are essential, and they need to live on. Which they do, but not in a face-to-face manner like before. Instead, mentorships have taken to the interwebs, and it is this form of virtual mentoring that we shall be discussing in this article.
What Is Virtual Mentoring?
Virtual mentoring is any practice in which knowledge is disseminated from a superior to a newcomer without it happening face to face. This has been in practice even before the pandemic changed the way we work. With the help of software like Skype, Google Meets, and Microsoft Teams, or even instant messaging apps like WhatsApp or Telegram, an employee can stay in touch with their mentor and get the help they need.
And because workplaces were privy to and experienced with this new form of mentorship, the transition into Covid induced work from home schedules became much smoother. However, while virtual mentoring may be efficient, is it effective? To answer this question, we will take a look at the pros and cons of virtual mentoring in the next section!
The Pros and Cons of Virtual Mentoring
Let us first consider the positives of virtual mentoring:
Flexible Meetings. The very nature of virtual meetings is built around flexibility. People can schedule calls whenever they are free. If they chose to communicate through messages, then they can communicate throughout the day without issue. There is no set time for mentorships anymore - help is available at the press of a button. This also makes it easier for people working from remote locations, who may be in other time zones, to get mentored quite easily and without much hassle.
Larger Recruitment Pools. Going off of the previous point, the ability to mentor different people from far-flung places of the world with ease allows the company to look beyond the local talent pool. Being restricted to only those who have a decent commute and can arrive at the office on time is a limitation that needs to be outgrown. Reaching across borders allows different cultural ideas to be brought to the table, enriching and diversifying the workplace.
Better Exposure and Exchange. Again, to build off the previous point, mentoring is seldom a one-way street - especially if the mentees are from different cultures relative to the mentors. This facilitates a fertile mixture of ideas and new outlooks, something from which all parties involved can learn a thing or two. Not only does this promote diversity awareness in the workplace, but it is also fruitful to the company’s development as a global brand.
Now, having spoken about the positives, let us also look at the unique hurdles virtual mentoring has to solve and how to do it:
Communication Challenges. For someone new joining the team, especially if they are from a different part of the country or a different country entirely, it will take time for them to be able to communicate properly with their mentors. They have to get over cultural differences, learn to understand the personality of each other, and also work and be productive. A lot of these issues can be solved by scheduling video calls outside of work to get to know each other and how the other person communicates. Video calling is as close as we can get to being face to face, but it will help people get a feel for each other pretty well.
Time zones. People situated across wide time zones would find it difficult to schedule a call. In extreme cases, with a time difference of twelve or so hours, it is damn near impossible. However, with instant messaging, leaving voice notes and scheduling emails will help everyone stay in contact.
Lack of Chemistry. Even if you talk, no amount of talking will help you build chemistry if there is none. You can try to make time for bonding calls outside work, but even if that fails, you can simply request a mentor who understands your case better. If the company is truly global, you can request to see if anyone is available from a similar cultural background.
Technical Difficulties. Let’s face it: technology is not perfect. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong - Internet connectivity, battery levels, the whole works. You can’t hope to eliminate them entirely, but by planning around it, you can get rid of some hiccups. For example, encouraging employees to just send an email or make a good, old-fashioned phone call can do the trick in a pinch.
Organizing Virtual Mentoring With Lanteria
It is a known fact that Covid has changed the world. Now, emerging into a new world, we will need all the help we can get so as to not wander around, blind. To make sure you never miss a beat, we at Lanteria offer you all our knowledge to make working remotely work for you. Whether it be organizing your team’s work or managing employee performances, we have a solution for all your needs. Contact us today to get a live demo!