11 May Combating the Loneliness Epidemic with Corporate Mentoring
Loneliness is a modern-day epidemic with a significant business impact, costing countries like the U.K. and the U.S. billions of dollars per year. Lonely workers voluntarily change jobs more often, experience less career satisfaction, receive fewer promotions, and perform more poorly than their peers, according to the Harvard Business Review. They’re also more likely to quit their current job within the next six months. Thankfully, there’s a solution: corporate mentoring.
Mentoring Fosters Support
Corporate mentoring creates the kind of supportive culture that forges bonds, reduces loneliness, and improves performance by building connection into every-day tasks: joining a coworker for lunch instead of eating alone, for example, or chatting about a new project over coffee. According to the HBR article, it’s those simple things that make the biggest difference.
“A mentorship by its nature is cultural,” explains Sophia Morell, Founder and Principal of mentoring software company eMentorConnect. “If you’re participating in one, you’re going to get coffee with other people. You’re having conversations that aren’t strictly work-related. You’re connecting on a more personal level than you might otherwise be. That goes a long way toward fostering support.”
The kind of platform the program is run on matters, too. A mentoring program that isn’t well implemented may make it difficult to make a new connection or gain access to a mentor. Modern mentoring software makes it easier for workers to make those connections at their own pace.
“If someone is feeling lonely at work, a voluntary matching program run on the right platform enables them to log in, browse profiles, and request a mentorship immediately,” explains Morell. “It decreases that barrier of finding a connection and gets them moving toward a relationship quickly.
“We designed our mentoring software KNOX® to require as few steps as possible to get to your mentorship so you immediately start reaping the benefits. Having a dashboard makes it easy to keep the relationship going, too. You don’t have to pull up thousands of emails or scroll through dozens of messages to find your mentor’s number. You just log in to the system, and everything’s there — your upcoming meetings, your past content, everything.”
See how a dynamic mentoring software solution facilitates connection by enabling your employees to give and receive support at their own pace.
Mentoring Offers Inclusion
“According to the HBR article, people outside the norm were lonelier than their peers,” says Morell. “Mentoring has the potential to loop those people into the workplace either through diversity inclusion or through other groups that show them that they’re as important to the company as other employees. With our clients, we see a lot of LGBTQ-inclusion groups and women-inclusion groups. Those are some of our most popular programs. They really make a difference in creating an inclusive, supportive culture that resonates with workers.”
Mentoring Creates a Shared Sense of Meaning
Research shows that a shared sense of meaning between employees of a company amplifies the effects of a strong social network, further reducing turnover and improving the likelihood of individual and company-wide financial success.
“With a structured mentoring program, the admins get to create the content the mentors/mentees are focusing on so they can really guide the conversation,” says Morell. “The KNOX solution enables admins to structure the content so mentors and mentees really get to know each other better. Peer mentors can work on group projects that cultivate that sense of meaning, too, while circle mentoring can open up the conversation to multiple participants.
“Our KNOX solution also enables admins to check in along the way with surveys to see how the participants are experiencing the relationships and how they’re connecting. Admins also can check through reporting to see how well the mentoring is working on a quantitative level. For example, they can look at engagement, topics covered, and how quickly the mentorship is proceeding. The software streamlines admin oversight, which lets the participants have the tools in their pocket that enable them to get to those relationships faster.”
Enabling employees to build strong, sustainable relationships efficiently and effectively encourages a supportive culture and gives employees the social nudges they need to reach out to one another and combat loneliness. At a time when over 40 percent of U.S. workers report being lonely, those connections may be more important than ever.