In the world of professional development, mentoring has long been recognized as a powerful tool for growth and success. Whether it’s a seasoned executive guiding a young professional or a mentor providing guidance to someone just starting their career, the benefits of mentoring are undeniable. But workplaces look different now. Many organizations are spread across different locations – often even different countries. That means the traditional mentoring setup can end up leaving certain people out.
The natural solution to this is to take mentoring to the next level by running a program across geographies. But you may be hesitant to run a mentoring program with participants across different countries and/or time zones. And that’s totally valid, but guess what? Dispersed, remote mentoring programs are actually a great idea and have a ton of amazing benefits.
What’s more, it can be done easily with Mentorloop!
The Benefits of a Dispersed, Remote Mentoring Program
A dispersed, remote mentoring program offers a myriad of benefits that traditional face-to-face programs may not be able to provide. With advancements in technology and the increasing interconnectedness of the world, it has become easier than ever to connect people across geographies and time zones.
There are a plethora of benefits you, your organisation, and your participants can enjoy from implementing a dispersed mentoring program. Here are just a few:
Promoting Cross-Cultural Exchange and Diversity & Inclusion
One of the most compelling reasons to run a mentoring program across geographies is the power of connections it can create. By connecting individuals from different parts of the world, you facilitate cross-cultural understanding and empathy. This not only enriches the mentorship experience but also contributes to a more globally aware and inclusive workforce.
By connecting mentors and mentees from different locations, and therefore cultures and lived experiences, you create a rich tapestry of experiences and insights. This allows mentees to gain a global perspective and understand cultural nuances they may not have otherwise been exposed to.
Imagine a mentee in a small town in rural America being paired with a mentor from a bustling city in Japan. Through their virtual meetings and online interactions, the mentee gets to learn about the Japanese work culture, the importance of punctuality, and the value placed on teamwork. And that’s with just one mentoring connection. As participants build their own Personal Advisory Boards, they are able to come into contact with people from different cultures, backgrounds, and lived experiences. This sort of exposure to different ways of doing things broadens both mentors’ and mentees’ horizons and helps them develop a more open-minded approach to problem-solving, among other benefits. This allows them to learn wonderful new things about their colleagues and where they’re from and brings them closer together.
By breaking down geographical barriers, these kinds of mentoring programs also allow individuals from underrepresented communities or marginalized backgrounds to access mentoring opportunities that may not be readily available in their local area. This creates a more equitable playing field and helps bridge the opportunity gap.
As an example, mentees who come from low-income neighbourhoods with limited access to professional networks can connect with mentors who have achieved success in their respective fields through these types of mentoring programs. They can then gain valuable insights and guidance that can significantly impact their future prospects. This exposure to diverse mentors not only broadens their career options but also helps them build a strong support network.
Flexibility for Increased Accessibility
Another benefit of a dispersed remote mentoring program is the flexibility it offers. Through virtual meetings and online platforms, mentors and mentees have the freedom to connect at their convenience. This eliminates the constraints of physical proximity and allows for greater scheduling flexibility, making mentoring accessible to individuals who may have otherwise been excluded.
For example, imagine a mentee who is a single parent with limited availability during traditional working hours. With a remote mentoring program, they can schedule mentoring sessions during evenings or weekends, ensuring that they can still benefit from the guidance and support of a mentor. This flexibility not only accommodates people’s individual circumstances but also allows them to take control of their time, promoting a healthier work-life balance.
Increase Market Knowledge
Mentoring programs can help your team more easily share market knowledge with one another. This is especially useful for teams dispersed across markets in different countries or regions; they most likely have country-specific know-how that their counterparts in other parts of the world simply don’t. Having these practices kept region-specific is a shame as the larger organization can always benefit from the creativity and ideas of their people in local markets. This kind of mentoring is a great way to get the knowledge of your local teams shared across the organization.
Encourages Independence and Self-Motivation
When mentees are not physically in the presence of their mentors, they are encouraged to take ownership of their development and actively seek guidance. This instills a sense of empowerment and cultivates crucial skills such as self-discipline and initiative.
Through a remote mentoring program, participants have the freedom to explore various online resources, attend webinars, and conduct independent research to enhance their knowledge. They can then proactively reach out to their mentor for guidance on specific topics or to seek validation for their ideas. This self-driven approach not only strengthens the skills they set out to work on but also soft skills that everyone needs to develop in order to be great colleagues and leaders.
Encourage General Knowledge Sharing and Support
Last but not least, dispersed mentoring programs allow for general knowledge sharing and support. Just as traditional mentoring programs do, remote, dispersed mentoring programs allow participants to come together to share industry knowledge, tips on the organisational culture, and more.
Common Fears of Implementing A Dispersed, Remote Program
Running a mentoring program across geographies can be an exciting endeavour, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. We’ve had a lot of customers come to us expressing their initial fears of running a dispersed mentoring program; here’s what we usually hear:
Time zone differences can also impede the smooth flow of communication in a mentoring program. Coordinating schedules and finding mutually convenient meeting times can be a logistical nightmare.
Marketing, Recruitment & Signups
How can we market this program across different regions? How can we get participants to sign up to be mentored or mentor someone halfway around the world?
Matching and Momentum
Should we match across continents? Restrict to certain time zones? How do you maintain momentum between mentoring pairs who don’t live in the same region or live in opposite time zones? How do you mitigate language or cultural barriers?
How to Use Mentorloop to Make Your Life Easier
Thankfully, Mentorloop can help you mitigate these potential obstacles from the start; here’s how:
Mentorloop’s integrations allow participants to communicate with their mentoring partners using the tools they’re already accustomed to using in their day-to-day whether that be email, Teams, Zoom, or Slack. And with Mentorloop’s robust calendar integrations, not only are participants able to schedule meetings in-app, they are also able to check their mentoring partners’ availability and schedule recurring meetings to make sure they keep their mentoring momentum going.
With Mentorloop, you are always supported when it comes to making the right connections, no matter what matching type you decide to use for your program.
- Manual Match: On your signup form, capture geography, teams, and other data to help you facilitate your manual matching process.
- Self Match: Help your participants determine a match that fits in their schedule by providing them with all potential partners’ necessary information upfront.
- Smart Match: Inform your matching algorithm by connecting exclusively within geographies, certain time zones, etc.
Filtered lists make management and reporting easy. For example, they can help you find out that teams in location A are more engaged, which means you can look at differences between multiple locations, and find out what’s not working for location B.
This brings us to our next point…
Recruitment & Reporting
Focus your efforts with data; if you can see differences between locations, you can see where you’re doing well and where you need to put more time into engagement, support, and more.
Dispersed Mentoring in Action
Alejandro is an Inside Sales Representative who lives and works in the Netherlands, while Damon is an engineering technician based in the United States. They both work towards common goals at Proponent, the world’s largest independent aerospace distribution company.
Since they aren’t in the same location, they were finding it difficult to engage with colleagues in meaningful ways; thankfully, a remote mentoring program helped solve this.
In a recent interview, they shared that once their bond was created, the distance stopped being a problem and the relationship intensified. Technology has made it so that there isn’t too much lost by having meetings remotely, and overall, they’ve been able to conduct their meetings—and their mentoring relationship—successfully.
Remote Mentoring with Mentorloop
Mentoring styles have adapted as employers constantly look for ways to ensure their people feel connected. Today, running a dispersed, remote mentoring program across geographies is possible—not to mention a great idea—and easy to do with Mentorloop.
Learn how we can help you reach your engagement goals with a mentoring program today.