How Mentorship Can Keep Your Remote Employees Happier

woman working on a laptop
by Baili Bigham

Digital technology has made a tremendous impact on the way people go to work. In fact, the digital nomad trend has risen in popularity as remote work has become more normalized.

This offers benefits for both employees and their managers. Workers who can’t stay put in one place, or who want to travel the world are happy in careers that don’t require them to show up at the same office each day. Meanwhile, managers can hire the strongest candidate for a job, coordinating with their teams from afar by using continuous performance management review software.

Of course, the digital nomad lifestyle naturally affects the supervisor/employee dynamic. Management techniques that may be effective in an office setting won’t always be as effective when employees work remotely.

It’s true that you won’t be able to check in on your remote employees in the same way you would if you shared an office. However, you can still provide the kind of feedback that helps you cultivate strong professional relationships with every member of your team. Keep the following tips in mind, and you’ll be able to forge positive mentor/mentee relationships with your employees no matter where they work.

The Essentials of Mentoring Digital Nomads

According to a recent survey, 65 percent of employees want to receive more feedback from manager than they currently get. Providing constructive feedback helps a worker know if they’re meeting your expectations, and how they can further improve. It also gives them the opportunity to voice their own insights or concerns.

Thus, it’s necessary to establish regular processes for offering your remote workers the feedback they want. Using management tools to set deadlines, track progress, and conduct weekly check-ins is a great way to start familiarizing yourself with the practice. Employees can work more confidently if they know they’re on the right track each week.

These tools allow you to design custom weekly check-ins you can use to gauge how your employees feel about their performance, while also providing feedback if they need to make adjustments. You can also use these tools to set clear objectives so your employees know what they are expected to achieve, and whether they’re making great progress.

However, merely tracking progress isn’t enough. To truly become a mentor to your remote employees, you must also identify when they’re struggling, provide encouragement when they feel lost, and generally help maintain their enthusiasm for the organization’s goals.

Plan regular virtual sessions that focus on specific, practical goals, and check in with employees to ask how they’re doing in a general sense. Don’t always feel the need to ask them if they think they’re on track to reach their objectives. Instead, ask them if they feel they have the resources they need to succeed in their roles.

Also, ask them if they feel satisfied with their work, and what you can do to boost their overall satisfaction. Give them the chance to suggest ways of boosting their own engagement. Acknowledge that not being in the office might put them at some disadvantage, and find out what steps you can take to address any issues that arise from the remote work experience.

You can also use these meetings to recognize them when they achieve major goals, and to remind them how the work they do contributes to the overall mission of the company. This is a simple way to keep them engaged and let your remote employees know they play valuable roles in the organization.

Experts point out that you shouldn’t expect the pace of these meetings to be natural and perfect at first. As you and your employees grow accustomed to this new way of giving and receiving feedback, you’ll get a better sense of how regularly you need to meet.

That’s key to mentoring digital nomads. The experience of providing regular reviews is much more natural in an office setting, when you can simply visit their desk any time you wish. However, there are already some tools available out there to help mentoring remote teams, such as Mentor Scout, Zoom, Appear or

So go ahead and start scheduling those remote sessions with your team. There will likely be an adjustment period, but over time, you’ll all get used to the idea of cultivating a mentor/mentee relationships in this manner. As a result, your employees will be more engaged, enthusiastic, and appreciative of your management style.

About the Author: Baili Bigham is Content Manager at 15Five, continuous performance management software that includes weekly check-ins, OKR tracking, peer recognition, 1-on-1s, and 360° reviews. When Baili isn’t writing, you can find her binge reading a new book or strategizing ways to pet every dog in San Francisco.

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