One of the main criticisms of remote working is how much harder it is to create a sense of belonging and to instil a team spirit.
These things particularly impact younger people who are just starting out in their career as well as new colleagues joining a business with no knowledge of what the culture was like pre-pandemic.
Whilst some businesses have returned to a fully on-site working model, many organisations across a huge variety of sectors, have created a hybrid working model which involves some remote working, combined with some days on-site.
As a result, many HR teams are having to reconsider policies and processes to make them suitable for a hybrid working place in the long run.
One of those factors is the role of mentoring and coaching.
The benefits of mentoring and coaching are invaluable, especially for those people who are in the early stages of their career or if they’re looking to progress to the next level within an organisation.
If a company can deliver an effective hybrid mentoring scheme, it will ensure new starters are engaged from the off, it will help to identify any gaps in skills or knowledge early on and makes them feel valued.
In the long term this can help reduce attrition, improve productivity and cements a positive culture across all levels of the business.
Let’s explore what a good mentoring programme looks like in a hybrid setting.
- Ground mentoring within an organisation’s values – Having a culture of coaching and mentoring helps to accelerate growth and creates a supportive, high-performance working environment that benefits both mentors and mentees.
Giving new starters access to a mentor/coach from the point of their onboarding, regardless of the level at which they’ve been appointed encourages a culture of knowledge sharing and personal development.
- Provide a variety of communication tools – accessibility and convenience are key if mentoring is to be effective in a hybrid working environment. Whilst it may be harder for a mentor and mentee to physically meet, one thing we did learn in the pandemic is that there are a huge number of effective communication tools that can help make things easy.
Most businesses have invested in a wide range of communication channels over the last two years so thinking about how these can be utilised from a mentoring perspective and raising awareness within the business will help to get the maximum value from them. There are also specific platforms designed to give employees 24 hour access to a trained mentor, however this type of software provides more generic guidance rather than company specific support.
- Provide consistency and structure – Providing a framework which sets out goals and expectations of a mentoring scheme will improve the chances of it being successful, especially in a hybrid environment. It will give all participants a guide to follow and help hold both parties accountable for reaching certain milestones.
Whilst there will always be a need for some flexibility, having responsibilities attached to the role will ensure that it delivers the desired results for the business and those taking part in it. This could involve setting out a specific amount of check-in’s per months or assigning particular tasks around personal development. Monitoring the success of those outputs will help to improve the process in the future.
- Invest in training – coaching and mentoring takes certain skills, combine this with the challenges of hybrid working and it makes complete sense to invest in mentoring training.
Not only is this a great incentive for mentors from a personal development perspective but it ensures that mentees are getting a consistent and valuable experience across the board.
With hybrid working becoming a more permanent choice for many employers, it’s essential that HR managers are tackling the unique challenges it poses head on. By investing in professional training from a provider that specialises in focusing on hybrid working models, mentors can be trained with these challenges in mind.
Attracting and retaining Gen Z talent continues to be a struggle for many businesses, whilst they want flexibility, they also want mentorship and to develop their skills in order to grow their career rapidly.
Getting a hybrid mentoring scheme right will help alleviate these problems and will put those businesses ahead of their competitors in the race for talent.
Has your business redefined what mentoring looks like?
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