During the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work became a necessity. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 25 to 30% of the world’s workforce will be working remotely by the end of 2021.
For several employees, remote work means reducing their risk of exposure to the virus. It’s also the case that working from home saves time that employees would usually spend commuting to and from the workplace.
However, remote work comes with its own set of challenges. Being unable to see colleagues means missing out on engagement and socialization opportunities.
Mentoring someone remotely can be a challenge as well. How are you supposed to guide your mentee attorney when they’re handling an Uber accident case? Or, how can you monitor your mentee when you’re not in the same room?
Here are tips on how to make your mentorship mutually beneficial for you and your mentee.
1. Set ground rules
Be on the same page with yo
ur mentee and clarify what they want to get out of the mentorship, whether it’s skills development or insights.
Figure out how the mentorship will operate. Will you need to check on them, or will the mentee initiate the conversation? How will you hold each other accountable during the mentorship?
2. Establish a communications tool
Since you’re working remotely, you can’t count on impromptu physical meetings. Set a schedule when you’ll have formal meetings, either through phone or video call. For informal communications, sending voice or video messages establishes a personal connection better than text.
Aim for formal sessions that don’t feel forced. Weekly conversations may feel forced, so opt for monthly or quarterly meetings. Make it clear to your mentee that you’re available even beyond scheduled meetings, especially for urgent concerns.
3. Set goals
Guide them through their development by creating key performance indicators. Determine the core competencies you want your mentee to develop and how they will be measured.
Using the performance indicators, work with your mentee in coming up with strategies to meet the set goals.
4. Be accountable to each other
Mentors and their mentees depend on each other to make the situation mutually beneficial for both parties. Establish what actions, projects, and steps to take before your next meeting then do them. Follow up and give updates on your tasks through emails or other communication channels.
5. Send resources
Although you’re in charge of helping your mentee learn, it’s a given that you don’t know everything. Give your mentee the resources they need to grow instead of just giving them advice. These resources can be goal templates, webinar training sessions, and articles.
6. Create systems for feedback and recognition
Create feedback and recognition systems to strengthen the mentoring relationship. For example, you can gather and give feedback on the last day of the workweek. That way, that day is dedicated to sharing feedback to improve processes and communications, as well as recognize jobs well done.
Make sure that you also receive feedback and recognition. You want the mentorship to be mutually beneficial, so open yourself up to areas for improvement based on your mentee’s experience.
Remote work may be the new norm, but it doesn’t mean you can’t form relationships with your mentee. Follow these tips to ensure that your mentoring is worthwhile for your mentee as it would be if you’re in the same physical workplace.