Why Mentoring Matters More During the COVID-19 Crisis

At a time when not much feels certain about the world, having someone in your corner to turn to can help to make work life a little more manageable.

Mentoring is often a key part of what associations help foster, and what many younger professionals are looking for.

And it turns out that’s particularly true now, even though people can’t be in the same room to accept such mentoring.

Given the current state of the world right, it’s worth underlining exactly why that is, and why your organization should emphasize it, even if it means phone calls and Slack chats rather than handshakes and lunch meetings.

A few insights:

Mentors help boost confidence during difficult times. In an article for Harvard Business Review, David G. Smith and W. Brad Johnson note that mentors can prove a calming presence during a difficult period. “Every growth-fostering interaction in a strong mentorship bolsters a mentee’s professional and personal growth, identity, self-worth, and self-efficacy,” Smith and Johnson write. In a Forbes piece, organizational psychologist Rebecca Newton notes that mentorship also helps to foster trust. “In a business environment where competitiveness and pressure can certainly lead to some negative interpersonal dynamics, we can’t underestimate the impact of relationships built on trust and empathy, grounded in active listening for professionals’ psychological strength and well-being,” she writes.

It may be the best tactic you have to develop internal talent right now. The talent management news site TLNT says that talent development can be costly right now—but that mentorship can offer an inexpensive alternative for helping strengthen resources internally. “Let’s get practical: mentorship is one of the most cost-effective ways you can invest in training and promoting diverse talent,” contributor Katherine Plumhoff writes. “You don’t need to shell out for expensive conferences. You probably already know who the rising stars at the junior levels of your organization are. You just need to set them up with someone more senior who can help them navigate the transition to a leadership role.”

It can help fight back isolation. In a recent Forbes piece, contributor Tanya Tarr makes a case that one reason that mentoring programs are so important currently is due to lingering factors of loneliness, which she says is costing businesses billions of dollars yearly. Seena Mortazavi, the CEO of Chronus, underlined that the pandemic may highlight areas where employees may not have a support network to lean on. A mentoring program can help to strengthen that. “Imagine what’s going on now,” Mortazavi said. “I can’t even fathom what that cost will be in terms of impact to our lives or health conditions or mental health.”

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Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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