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What is virtual mentoring?

In this article, we explain what virtual mentoring is and what it can be used for in your workplace.

Meryl D'Sa-Wilson

April 27, 2022

The way we work and what we expect in our workplace has changed a lot in the last two years — from testing remote work to the Great Resignation. Employees know what they want from their roles and companies. For some, this may mean more flexibility. For others, better career advancements. 

How do you take care of your employees and make them stay with these growing expectations?

One way is to provide a space for mentorship, support, and growth. Studies have shown that workplace mentorship programs succeed in retaining and engaging employees. And while social distancing restrictions or remote workplaces may seem like a problem here, virtual mentoring comes as a happy solution.

Whether you run a remote-first workforce or have teams distributed globally, you can rely on virtual mentoring platforms to develop mentor-mentee relationships and provide employees with the guidance they need.

What is virtual mentoring?

Virtual mentoring is a kind of workplace mentoring where mentors and mentees meet virtually instead of in-person; most likely over video or voice calls. With the growth of technology, many aspects of business communication happen on Zoom calls, Chat hangouts, or Slack channels. So, why not move your mentorship program to these platforms? 

This type of remote mentoring program supports organizations with a remote-first workforce or distributed teams. It provides a more structured way of connecting mentors and mentees, no matter where your employees are placed. And virtual meetings tend to run more efficiently than face-to-face meetings, promoting productivity and time management.

Why is virtual mentoring important?

Workplace mentorship programs benefit both your employees and your organization. Mentors and mentees work together to help each other grow in their positions. New members can onboard effectively with guidance and training. And mentors can use their experience to nurture new talent while evaluating goals and challenges with a new perspective.

So, what makes virtual mentoring different and important?

Here are the main benefits of running a virtual mentoring program within your organization:

Professional and personal growth

The main goal of workplace mentoring is to support your employees and help them become their best selves. Best practices for mentorship programs include:

  • Setting realistic goals
  • Having clear expectations
  • Listening actively and establishing boundaries
  • Being accountable and proactive
  • Gathering and utilizing feedback

When paired with a mentor who will provide guidance, real-world experiences, and support, you set employees up for success. And the best part? They don’t only grow professionally but personally as well.

Supports a remote workforce

More organizations are remote or have a distributed workforce. Whether this is due to COVID-19 or because you want to offer employees more flexibility, remote working can make it harder to monitor how employees are doing. 

But with virtual mentoring, you intentionally keep aside time and space for employees to train, learn new skills, and connect with other employees. This helps new employees onboard successfully, interact with others within your organization, and assimilate well. 

Higher employee engagement

When employees feel supported, challenged, and motivated to grow, they also start investing in your organization and goals. You will then have employees who enjoy working with you and want to do their best to help your business grow. This leads to enhanced skill development, more initiatives taken, and lower turnover rates.

Creates an online community

Remote work can lead to isolation, with more people staying indoors and feeling disconnected from fellow teammates. Members in a team work together to brainstorm, challenge one another, support each other, and create something wonderful together. But this is harder to achieve in a remote workforce. And it can hurt even more for employees who don’t feel motivated enough to put their best foot forward. 

People need to connect with others, and virtual mentoring programs can bridge this gap. You can use these programs to create an intentional space for employees to connect and interact with one another.

Examples of virtual mentoring

It might be hard to picture how this would work within your organization. But mentoring platforms like Together will work closely with you to set up a system that works best for you and your employees.

Let’s look at two examples of virtual mentoring programs and how companies have benefited from them:

Connecting employees across a global company: Randstad

Randstad, a Dutch multinational HR consulting firm, has run a global mentoring program for years. They did this manually before deciding that in order to expand their program and include more employees, they needed a different solution.

With Together, they grew their mentoring program and studied employee engagement and turnover rates of those in the program versus those who did not participate. We found that participants in the program were 49% less likely to leave Randstad during the period studied. 

Not only that, by reducing turnover rates, they even reduced costs associated with employee turnover. Specifically, we found that Randstad saved about $3,000 per participant each year.

Onboarding new lawyers in a global law firm: Cooley

Cooley, a global law firm with offices in the US, Asia, and Europe, was looking for a solution to improve its onboarding process. They wanted to scale onboarding and bring new employees up to speed efficiently. Through our easy-to-use virtual mentoring platform, they were able to pair new hires with more experienced individuals. 

This helped prepare new employees for complex work, teach them the ropes, and provide support. They called it Cooley Academy Mentoring Program (CAMP). This program included mentoring sessions and a mentoring competition that challenged mentoring duos to compete against each other.

Cooley relied on reporting tools to better understand how the program was performing and how each mentoring relationship was progressing. They could keep track of the registration process, mentorship progress and goals, and session feedback.

“Together’s software provides insights to program managers at a glance. They can see the program’s performance from a high level or zoom in on individual mentor-mentee pairings.”

How to start a virtual mentoring program

Starting and building a virtual mentorship program may seem complicated. But with the right people and software, you can get your program up and running quickly.

Start by understanding how current employees and stakeholders feel about workplace mentorship programs. It is important to bring stakeholders on board to run such a program successfully. So, explain how both employees and your organization will benefit from this program. 

Then, use virtual mentoring software where employees can register, interact with others, and hold sessions. The main struggle with virtual mentoring programs is effectively matching mentors and mentees, tracking progress, and collecting data and feedback. That’s where a workplace mentoring platform like Together comes in handy.

Why choose Together?

Our platform is easy to use. No need to learn new systems; everything is set up through your existing business applications. Our guided mentorship programs provide employees with cues and steps throughout their journey and an extensive library for additional support.

Finally, once the program is up and running, track the progress of those participating in the program. Gather feedback and sessions to improve the process. Use our reporting dashboards to measure the metrics that matter most to your business. 

Ready to build a virtual mentoring program for your organization, connect with us at Together and find out how we can help.

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