Have our young professionals missed six months of on-the-job mentoring with COVID-19 restrictions?
When you’re working side by side in the same office, it’s easy to see where you need to guide, offer assistance and coach colleagues and juniors who need help. With most people working from home, this inevitably becomes much harder. Even when you schedule regular social connections and have online channels available, this new, remote working environment presents a challenge to new staff.
Over the past six months, I suspect that our junior staff have been missing out.
I was recently on a call with a junior staff member who was managing multiple projects and client deadlines, as well as having trouble prioritising and balancing expectations with some difficult personalities. In short, he was stressed and reaching out for guidance and help in managing his time and his work relationships.
First, we discussed techniques for him to balance his workload, taking into consideration different stakeholder styles and how to use self-awareness to adjust his own delivery. We also spent some time developing some of his work products, and how to fast-track those, based on some of my own past experiences.
Beyond advising him to take a short course, there were many different avenues we discussed to help him tackle his competing priorities:
- Understand your morning work routine and record your priorities.
- Understand your team balance and your own strengths using CliftonStrengths 34 (formerly StrengthsFinder 2.0). This is a solid tool to help understand your own strengths, your team’s strengths, and how they like to work.
- Understand the four personality types and where you sit within that. Think about where your clients sit too, and how you might adjust your delivery style and behaviour.
- Develop your personal ‘knowledge base’ of past work, and reference later, if appropriate.
None of this is new or ground-breaking but it did allow me to reflect on all the personal advice, mentoring and guidance I received from experts on my own career journey. I then wondered how much of this support junior staff are get in their remote working environment.
I was so pleased that he reached out to me for help, as it caused me to pause and reflect more on what our staff need. I suspect it needs both people willing to ask for more help if they need it, and mentors to proactively support their staff even more during this transitional period.