Learning from a mentor accelerates professional career growth and aids development. Mentors guide their mentees through an endless array of career-related obstacles to help them achieve their goals. An effective mentor cares both about big and small issues. For example, a good mentor will guide you through pressing issues like conflict resolution all the way to seemingly minor details like how to make a good signature.
The possibilities are endless with mentorship. Virtual mentoring takes these benefits a step further because it allows for multiple mentors who don’t have to be present in one location. Thought leaders, industry savants and hopeful professionals can learn from each other no matter where they are located.
Virtual mentoring creates a way to transfer knowledge and create meaningful professional relationships in real-time. If you provide virtual mentoring opportunities to employees, you will likely see more insightful ideas, increased creativity, and better employee retention.
According to LinkedIn, 94% of employees stay loyal to their job if the organization offers them learning opportunities.
The graph above highlights the significant gap between employee satisfaction depending on whether or not they have a mentor. The benefits of virtual mentoring exceed employee retention, though. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which virtual mentoring can boost team productivity.
The Benefits of Virtual Mentoring
Virtual mentoring boasts many great benefits, and the best part is that it’s easy to set up. All you need is a conference calling service that lets your employees connect with their mentors.
There are other tools you can use, too, which will be discussed further. Here are some advantages of virtual mentoring:
1. Useful Knowledge Sharing
Don’t look at mentoring through tunnel vision. Approach it from a holistic perspective instead. When your employees link up with their mentors, they won’t only gain knowledge about their respective careers. If the mentors are good, they will share relevant knowledge that helps their mentees professionally in the bigger picture.
Mentors provide a plethora of experiences, and it’s up to the mentee to pick and choose where to apply this knowledge. This results in information-sharing and broadened horizons as employees learn about new concepts they wouldn’t have been introduced to in their everyday work.
The mentor could even record an automated webinar to share their knowledge and experiences with your employees, who can watch it whenever they wish.
Alternatively, virtual mentoring is great if employees have a particular question they want to be answered. They can connect to whichever mentor is available at the time and get an instant solution. For example, a developer struggling with the transaction paradigm can ask for acid transactions meaning from an experienced mentor. And since virtual mentors are accessible online, there is no delay in knowledge sharing.
2. Remote Workers are Invited
The corporate world is increasingly moving towards a fully remote or hybrid model. Some companies hire resources from around the world who they’ve never met. It would be unfair if these remote workers were to feel left out because they couldn’t attend a mentorship session at the physical office location.
This is where virtual mentoring shines. A few audiovisual aids allow mentors and mentees to connect worldwide and exchange relevant information. Remote employees feel included, leading to a boost in confidence, morale and loyalty.
Ultimately, virtual mentoring leads to a higher employee retention rate because people working remotely feel connected to the company.
Virtual mentoring aids hybrid workers too. It’s convenient to have a virtual mentor to connect with online because the employee doesn’t have to wait to be in the office. This ensures that any employee’s work-from-home schedule doesn’t curtail mentorship. This model works particularly well with start-ups that have remote workers. They can download any call centre software for small businesses and be ready to go.
3. Endless Flexibility
This is a great benefit for busy employees. A virtual mentor, or several, are accessible online. This means that employees don’t have to disrupt their in-office schedule to connect with their mentors. Compare the situation to having lengthy and stiff in-person meetings. An employee who can fit a mentorship session into their workday instead of the other way round will be more motivated to learn from a mentor.
Employees with young children enjoy this perk because it allows them to expand their knowledge base without compromising on their families. Their travel time decreases, and they have more mental space to balance their personal and professional lives. Plus, in-person meetings can be arduous and not worth making a trip to the office.
For example, an employee who wants to ask their mentor about the best way to white label statistical reports can just text them. They can also have a quick call and get their answer. The exchange will take less than five minutes, and both mentor and mentee can go on with their days. It would be superfluous to arrange a whole meeting for a single question. Virtual mentoring will prove to be efficient here.
4. More Mentors, Less Problems
Virtual mentoring is flexible, and that means you can choose as many mentors as you’d like. The best part is, that you’ll have a wide range of mentors to choose from since they aren’t restricted by location or physical proximity.
The opportunities are almost infinite here. Say you want to have Bill Gates mentor your employees, but your company is based in East Asia. You can contact him and, depending on his approval, schedule a virtual mentoring session. All you need is an online meeting app, and you can eliminate the barrier between your employees and Bill Gates’s wisdom.
A wider mentor pool means you have multiple experts who can weigh in on a complex situation. For example, if you’ve designed an app but can’t figure out how to increase its app store ratings, you could get several opinions. Different mentors will offer various useful solutions. Virtual mentoring means your employees won’t have to worry about feeling alone in problem-solving, leading to increased motivation and productivity.
5. Accelerated Skill Learning
Corporations tend to experience hectic periods when employees struggle with multiple rollouts or targets. During these trying times, virtual mentoring can prove to be a blessing. Virtual mentors can take over the employee training and continuous learning process and provide new recruits with relevant skills they can use to be more productive.
For example, new employees at an advertising firm can feel pressured to hit the ground running. The industry moves quickly, and employees have to be on top of their game in terms of technical skills. Unfortunately, senior officials in the firm might not have enough time to take on new recruit training.
A virtual mentor could effectively train new hires, both individually and as a group, leading to accelerated skill learning.
This also applies to seasoned employees who want to brush up on particular skills but don’t have the time to take courses. They can arrange meetings with a virtual mentor and quickly re-learn any skill they wish to in a shorter timeframe than it would take to attend a lecture.
6. Get a Fresh Perspective
If you’re anxious to understand how to improve your organization, virtual mentoring is your best solution. Looking through a bunch of salesperson call reports and trying to identify gaps can be useful, but getting an objective expert to examine your situation can be more effective.
Human error means that you might overlook an obvious problem that might be slowing down your sales. The second pair of eyes can sometimes pinpoint a simple solution you might not have thought of. A virtual mentor who interacts with your employees on a weekly basis will have a detailed outlook on your company’s flaws. Employee feedback can be crucial to repair any gaps in the system.
Virtual Mentoring and its Impact on Team Productivity
All of the benefits associated with virtual mentoring positively impact team productivity. Employees feel motivated and tend to be productive when they know they are growing in their careers. They feel connected to their organization, and this boosts both their mood and output.
The best way that virtual mentoring increases team productivity is by putting solutions at the team’s fingertips. For example, a software development team that uses the agile methodology can interact with several virtual mentors throughout the process. These mentors can be a one-stop-shop and guide them from the starting point, i.e., data labeling right to the end, i.e., product prototype and launch.
The team will take advice from their virtual mentor, and this will help them communicate with each other in a better way too. It will create a feeling of unity and encourage creative thought, leading to an increase in teamwork and productivity.
This is a guest post by Jessica Day. Jessica Day is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy at Dialpad, a modern small business phone and communications platform that takes every kind of conversation to the next level—turning conversations into opportunities. Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts for both company and client campaigns. Here is her LinkedIn.