Learning & Development, Talent

Workers Are Missing Mentorship Programs During the Pandemic

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Gen Zs want to learn while they’re working for your company! Younger generations have voiced their support for ongoing career development, yet the pandemic has caused some training initiatives to come to a grinding halt, and workers are begging for them to come back.

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Source: bleakstar / Shutterstock

According to the new research study “Career Development in a Pandemic,” released by Doodle, an enterprise scheduling platform, employee expectations for career development are strikingly different from what their employers are offering.

The study finds that 50% of employees say mentorship from their manager has become more important to them during the pandemic. However, organizations are falling short of meeting these expectations, with nearly half (49%) of employees saying they aren’t getting enough training, coaching, and mentoring to advance their careers in these uncertain times.

“Active mentorship is vital to helping employees achieve their professional goals and advance in their careers,” says Doodle in a press release announcing the study. “These benefits extend to organizations too, as mentorship can be instrumental in chipping away at growing employee turnover rates. While this is true during the best of circumstances, it’s especially true during times of crisis.”

Training isn’t the only thing that’s missed; it appears in-person communication has also suffered. Doodle reports that communication and collaboration methods and tools are “keeping managers walled off and inaccessible to their teams and making it harder for employees to raise the flag about their career development goals and priorities.”

According to 41% of respondents, their career development has stalled during the pandemic, and 9% said the crisis has actually caused their careers to regress. Given the high unemployment rate, this statistic should come as no surprise.

Communication … or Lack Thereof?

Despite the increased use of Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams in workplaces, e-mail still reigns supreme (42%) as the primary method of communication between employees and their bosses, while phones (26%) fall into second place.

Coincidentally, even though apps like Teams and Slack are helping employees dominate remote work, only 21% of respondents say they use these methods to communicate with their boss, and even fewer prefer to video chat, with 10% saying they use this method. 

While video isn’t typically the preferred method of communication, 18% of the respondents said their boss schedules weekly one-on-one meetings over video with them. However, twice-weekly one-on-one meetings are even less common (14%). Doodle suggests that limited calendar visibility is keeping managers walled off and inaccessible, which could explain the lack of one-on-ones, but what the study doesn’t mention is whether employees had this issue before the pandemic.

When it comes to employees’ one-on-one meetings with their managers, 32% like when their boss provides clear direction on their role and responsibilities, and 15% appreciate their manager’s guidance and support of their career development goals. This means 47% would like their boss to have an active role in their growth.

“Career growth and crises aren’t usually the most amenable bedfellows,” says Jared Blank, CMO of Doodle. “Employees tend to hold back on discussing their goals out of fear—of losing their job, of being seen as ungrateful and of rocking the boat. At the same time, organizations tend to buckle down in crisis mode and focus their energy, resources and budgets into keeping the business afloat.”

“But it’s precisely why professional development is absolutely critical now,” Blank adds. “Not only can career development empower employees to reach their full potential and achieve their long-term career goals, it can also help organizations combat that always-looming challenge of employee turnover.”

While organizations have made great strides with remote work during the pandemic, it’s clear that priorities must now shift back to talent management. Now is the time to put your workforce’s career growth back on track!

Doodle surveyed more than 1,000 full-time and part-time employees in the United States across a diverse set of industries. To learn more, click here.