Business Transformation

Hybrid and Remote Mentoring for Effective Integration of Junior Employees

Forward-looking organizations use hybrid and remote mentoring to solve one of the biggest challenges in hybrid and remote work: on-the-job training and integration of junior employees. Yet despite solving this major problem, such mentoring programs pairing recently-hired staff with senior employees are all-too-rare.

Instead of using this best practice methodology, many leaders simply complain about how hybrid and remote work undermines on-the-job training and employee integration, and try to force employees to return to the office. Senior leadership and management need to adopt the  best practices for leading hybrid and remote teams for mentoring employees in the future of work.

Remote Mentoring to Solve Junior Employee Integration

To address the problem of integrating junior employees in remote and hybrid settings requires an effective structured mentoring program. You need to pair up senior staff members with junior staff members for virtual mentoring sessions.

Make sure to have one senior staff member from the junior colleague’s immediate team. The goal of the senior person within their own team is to help the person with on-the-job learning, understanding group dynamics, and professional growth.

Also include two from outside the team. One should be from the junior staff members’ business unit, and another one should be from a different unit. At least one should be located in a different geographical area.

These two mentors will be needed to overcome one of the key problems in company culture for remote/hybrid workers: the decrease in cross-functional connections across staff. Fortunately, during the epidemic, scholars discovered that connecting junior staff working remotely with different senior staff was a very effective way to extend the network of junior staff. Follow this research to help junior team members fit into the broader organizational culture while also facilitating cross-company intra-team collaboration.

Remote Mentoring Meetings

The senior staff member from the person’s own team should meet with their mentee monthly in a brief 20-30 minute meeting, and go through a checklist. Below is a sample that you can adapt to your needs:  do not feel obliged to go through all of them at one meeting, work on them over time.

  • How did you (meaning the mentee) do on the topics that we discussed last time?
  • How confident do you feel right now in your ability to do your individual tasks, and what would make you feel more confident?
  • What kind of questions do you have about your own individual tasks?
  • What kind of obstacles do you see in doing your individual tasks effectively?
  • What resources, information, or skills would you need to do your individual tasks better?
  • How confident are you feeling right now about your role on the team, and what would make you more confident?
  • How well do you feel you are collaborating with fellow team members?
  • How well do you feel you are collaborating with the team leader?
  • What kind of obstacles do you see in doing your collaborative tasks effectively?
  • What resources, information, or skills would you need to do your collaborative tasks better?
  • How confident are you feeling right now about your professional growth and what would make you feel more confident?
  • What kind of obstacles do you see to growing professionally?
  • What resources, information, or skills would you need to improve your professional growth?

The goal of the senior people outside their team – whether their business unit or outside their business unit – is to help the junior staff member address the lack of connections from outside their team and contribute to their professional growth. They should also meet monthly for 20-30 minutes, and go through the following checklist, again adapting it to their needs: 

  • How did you do the topics that we discussed last time?
  • How did the connections that I helped you make last month work out?
  • What do you feel you did well, and what could improve the way you approach making such connections?
  • What kind of obstacles do you see to making connections effectively?
  • What kind of resources, information, or skills would you need to improve your ability to make such connections?
  • How confident do you feel right now about how you make connections and your current set of connections, and what would make you more confident?
  • What kind of connections would you want me to help you make this month?
  • What would you like to know about how the company functions?
  • How confident are you feeling right now about your professional growth and what would make you feel more confident?
  • What kind of obstacles do you see to growing professionally?
  • What resources, information, or skills would you need to improve your professional growth?

Remote Mentoring via Virtual Coworking

To facilitate on-the-job learning through virtual settings, mentors should co-work with each of their mentees for at least an hour each week. That involves the mentor and mentee signing on to a videoconference call and then each person working on their own tasks, but being able to ask questions if they have them. After all, much of on-the-job training comes from coworkers answering questions and showing less experienced staff what to do on individual tasks in the moment.

First, get on a videoconference call. Then, share what each plans to work on during this period. Next, turn microphones off but leave speakers on with video optional, and then each would work on their own tasks. 

This experience replicates the benefit of a shared cubicle space, where a junior staff member works alongside senior staff, but on their own work. As less experienced team members have questions, they can ask them and get them quickly answered. Most of the time, the answer will be sufficient. Sometimes, a more experienced team member will do screensharing to demonstrate how to do a task. Another option is to use a virtual whiteboard to demonstrate the task graphically.

Furthermore, sometimes mentors and mentees will just share about themselves and chat about how things are going in work and life. That’s the benefit of a shared cubicle space, and virtual coworking replicates that experience, helping build bonds and integrate junior staff into company culture.

Many companies hired a substantial portion of their workforce during the pandemic. Cultivating junior employee engagement and integrating them into the company culture requires effective on-the-job training and building bonds to existing staff. Traditional office-centric methods to do so fare poorly in hybrid and remote settings. By contrast, an effective structured remote mentoring program offers an excellent solution to these problems and constitutes a critical component of hybrid and remote work best practices.


Written by Dr. Gleb Tsipursky.
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Dr. Gleb Tsipursky
Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is an internationally-renowned thought leader in future-proofing and cognitive bias risk management. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-proofing consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts, which specializes in helping forward-looking leaders avoid dangerous threats and missed opportunities.

A best-selling author, he wrote Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019), The Blindspots Between Us: How to Overcome Unconscious Cognitive Bias and Build Better Relationships (New Harbinger, 2020), and Resilience: Adapt and Plan for the New Abnormal of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic (Changemakers Books, 2020). His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, and other languages. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for mid-size and large organizations ranging from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, including 7 as a professor at Ohio State University.


Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow him on LinkedIn. For more information, visit the author’s website.