How to Offer Great Mentorship in a Hybrid Workplace

Mentoring in a hybrid work situation can work as well as when it’s done in person.

Written by Aaron Rubens
Published on May. 09, 2024
How to Offer Great Mentorship in a Hybrid Workplace
Image: Shutterstock / Built In
Brand Studio Logo

The concept of mentoring employees in the modern hybrid workplace, where the convergence of remote and in-office work defines company culture, creates a conundrum. How does one effectively mentor amid the division between remote work and on-site presence? Contrary to doubts and initial challenges, this blend of work styles creates an opportunity for inventive mentoring approaches.

4 Tactics for Hybrid Mentoring Success

  1. Consider common goals, interests and time zones when choosing pairs for mentoring relationships.
  2. Generate topics for discussion, such as tech training or mental health. 
  3. Encourage mentoring teams to use technology like Slack or Teams for communication. 
  4. Make time for mentors and mentees to share their progress with the whole team regularly.

Research supports the fact that a remote or hybrid workplace can have successful mentorship programs. Contrary to what might seem logical, hybrid work does not limit mentoring’s potential and working in person is not a prerequisite for a successful mentoring experience, according to a recent Charter and Qualtrics study of more than 3,000 desk-based U.S. workers.

In fact, positive mentoring was similarly likely to occur whether the mentor-mentee teams met remotely, in person or a combination of both.

More from Aaron Rubens5 Ways Stay Interviews Help Keep Top Talent


Why Does Mentoring Matter?

These results raise the question: What’s so important about mentoring anyway? A mentorship program gives team members an effective support system via the company. Employees who have the support of mentoring relationships often feel a sense of belonging and have access to resources that can advance their skills.

Employees with mentors also benefit from access to a designated person for questions and idea sharing, which can create greater engagement. A mentorship program also creates a talent pipeline where recruiters can connect with employees who lack opportunities through more traditional recruiting processes.

Another key reason for companies to invest in mentorship is that boosting employee development in this way facilitates retention, and this is true for virtual workers as well. The Charter study above proved that more than 50 percent of mentees in a hybrid environment plan to stay with their current organization for more than five years. This retention booster means huge cost savings for employers. On the flip side, poor employee retention quickly becomes a money drain for an organization. 

Virtual mentorship can also unite employees who live in different areas because it gives team members in different locations the opportunity to get to know each other as mentors and mentees and feel connected to their teammates.  

More on MentoringTo Foster Innovation, Focus on Mentorship

6 Steps to Hybrid Mentoring Success

Now that we know remote and hybrid employees can benefit from mentoring relationships just as in-office employees can, it’s important to understand the strategies that can ensure the success of virtual and hybrid mentoring. 

Charter’s research found that mentorships flourish when they have organizational support, which is true for hybrid workplaces and traditional office settings. The research also found that prioritizing the following six elements helps hybrid, virtual and in-office mentorships succeed.

Frequent 1-on-1s

Companies can foster a personalized approach by creating individual mentor-mentee relationships instead of group mentoring situations. After establishing a mentorship pair, managers can encourage mentor-mentee check-ins at regular intervals, such as weekly or monthly. 

Meaningful Recognition for Mentors 

It’s important for mentors to receive substantive employee recognition for their mentoring time and effort. Companies can support mentors by providing extra compensation, performance-review recognition related to their mentoring role, and/or designated time from the company to mentor instead of having it as an additional responsibility. 

Sharing a Mentee’s Progress

This research also revealed that when mentors share their mentee’s progress with the mentee’s manager, the mentorship is much more successful. More than half of mentors who use this formal mentoring process report success, compared with about one-third who don’t use this form of internal communication.  

Mentor Training

Training for mentors and mentees alike can improve the results of these partnerships. The Charter study showed that mentors in particular benefit when their organization offers high-quality training opportunities. Specifically, mentors of very successful mentees are more likely to work in companies that provide mentorship training — 63 percent for very successful mentors compared with 47 percent for somewhat successful mentors.

Two-Way Mentorship

In a mentor-mentee relationship, each person can learn from the other. Mentees should have opportunities to share their experiences so mentors can learn something new as well. Mentorship that goes both ways deepens the mentoring relationship and organization as a whole.

A Simple Mentorship Application

To attract as many employees as possible to the mentoring program, the company should streamline the application process, keeping equal opportunities, inclusion and diversity in mind. Managers and HR leaders can actively recruit individuals to be mentors or mentees, including remote workers. Many women and people of color have historically felt excluded from mentoring programs, so HR should keep this in mind when approaching mentorship applications. No matter where they work or who they are, every employee should have equal opportunities.

As you test drive hybrid mentorship strategies, you may find that some ideas work better for your team and mentors than others. If you remain flexible, adapt as you go and gather feedback from team members on the company’s hybrid mentoring program, you’ll have as much chance for successful mentorship as in-person teams.

Hiring Now
Artificial Intelligence • Professional Services • Business Intelligence • Consulting • Cybersecurity • Generative AI