Mentorship is inarguably one of the most critical factors in cultivating good company culture. With the ongoing pandemic, however, many companies have been forced to adapt to new systems—particularly working from home. This doesn’t mean that your mentorship programs have to be put on pause. In fact, mentoring and developing your employees can be beneficial for their wellbeing during these extraordinary times.
Fortunately, you can still offer guidance to your employees and keep your connections alive, even from a remote setting. This is especially helpful since a lack of upward mobility and learning opportunities are two of the biggest reasons why employees leave a company. Mentoring your employees shows that you see the value that each one of them provides—especially now. All in all, successful mentorship comes from a place of care and respect.
That being said, here are some tips on mentoring your employees amidst these tough times.
Determine Expectations Together
For companies who are new to the remote set-up, it goes without saying that shifting to a work from home setting will be quite the challenge. It’s worth noting, however, that even fully remote companies have been struggling to adapt to the background noise of the pandemic. As such, setting clear expectations from the get-go can definitely help. Accept that it may take some time. Be mindful of the impact the social climate might have on your employees and their workload.
Finding success as a remote team – especially in these trying times – depends largely on the amount of trust generated between you and your employees. Building this trust comes from providing them with a realistic expectation of what’s to come. Look back on the data your business generated in the past months and go from there. Current circumstances have changed the way nearly all industries operate, so be realistic with your team about what this means for them. Will this mean that they will have to take on more responsibilities as you shift to fully remote operations? Will some of their old tasks be made obsolete? Be upfront about the changes you foresee could happen and set those expectations together.
Support Open Communication
Aside from establishing expectations through trust, encouraging open communication is also crucial to the success of remote teams. Although this is something that is easily practiced even in a traditional office the setting, it can get a little tricky in a remote setup due to the lack of face-to-face interactions, body language, and social cues. In order to facilitate mentorship programs, you have to create a healthy online environment where employees can freely share their ideas or ask questions without worrying about judgment.
Actively listen and fully immerse yourself in the conversations you are having with your employees. If you are on a video call, avoid spacing out, doing other activities, or tinkering with your phone – instead, listen intently to what your mentee is sharing. Open communication enables your employees to step out of their comfort zone and, ultimately, help them reach their full potential.
Help Them Construct a Routine
Being an efficient mentor also means helping them strengthen their character outside the office. With most of their time now spent inside their homes, it’s easy for your employees to become idle or feel disengaged from their work. You can still maintain healthy boundaries and bring out the best version of themselves by creating more structure in their lives.
One way to do this is by recommending a lifestyle change that positively affects both their personal and work life. For instance, the Independent notes that it’s best to work on high-priority projects first thing in the morning so that more energy and effort is invested in the work. In this regard, you can schedule your employees’ tasks based on their difficulty levels to help them properly manage their time.
The bottom line is that your employees need guidance now more than ever. As we’ve mentioned time and again, these certainly are some exceptionally trying times. It’s in your best interest as their mentor to at least try to make it easier for them by providing ample support and direction.