As Gen Z moves into the workplace, many members of the generation do so from their homes, working remotely as the pandemic delays office reopenings. Some say this reality is costing new professionals valuable opportunities for mentorship.
Study after study indicates that young workers who are mentored by experienced professionals obtain more promotions, earn higher salaries, and enjoy greater satisfaction from their careers than those who do not. Mentors guide younger, less experienced workers in a confidential manner and support them by offering insights and leading them to opportunities, helping them grow professionally and personally.
However, working remotely robs new workers of the opportunity of working side-by-side with colleagues, experiencing in-person orientations, and socializing in a shared physical space. Without the spontaneous collaboration that emerges when people work together, experts say new professionals miss not only mentorship possibilities but also the chance to develop interpersonal skills.
So, what can Gen Z remote workers do to bridge this gap? Experts offer some tips for finding a mentor even during these challenging times.
- Reach out and ask for mentoring. Request a 15-minute virtual coffee break with a fellow employee who is one or two levels above you in the organization hierarchy, or send a short e-mail, spelling out what you seek to learn.
- Nurture the relationship. Talk about more than work to connect on a personal level before transitioning to career questions. Ultimately, it’s impossible to fully separate work and life, so it’s a good idea to connect with someone who shares common interests and values.
- Send thank-you notes. After a mentoring session, sum up what you’ve taken away to demonstrate appreciation and to continue the relationship.
- Keep the mentor updated. Mentors enjoy hearing about their mentees’ personal progress and how their input has helped.
While remote work has removed direct person-to-person contact, obtaining mentoring is still possible—and worth the time and effort it takes.
- What kinds of lessons might a younger employee learn from a more experienced professional?
- What are some ways a mentor and mentee can communicate without an in-person meeting?
- How can an employee show a willingness to learn and grow while working remotely?