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Coronavirus Crisis Is a Mentorship Opportunity, Unfulfilled by Most Organizations

Doodle Study Finds 49 Percent of US Employees Feel Career Development and Mentorship Opportunities Are Sorely Lacking During the Pandemic

Active mentorship is vital to helping employees achieve their professional goals and advance in their careers. 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.

But career development and mentorship opportunities have been sorely lacking during the pandemic, according to a new “Career Development in a Pandemic” research study released today by Doodle, the leading enterprise scheduling platform.

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Employee expectations for career development are strikingly different from what their employers are offering. On one hand, 50 percent 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 percent) of employees saying they aren’t getting enough training, coaching and mentoring to advance their careers in these uncertain times.

Meanwhile, the communication and collaboration methods and tools being used in organizations is adding to organizations’ talent development challenges. It’s 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.

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Doodle surveyed more than 1,000 full-time and part-time employees in the United States across a diverse set of industries. Key findings and trends include:

  • Is COVID-19 derailing career plans? 41 percent of the respondents said their career development has stalled during the pandemic and nine percent said the crisis has actually caused their careers to regress.
  • Email is a crutch for career growth. Despite the increased use of Zoom, Slack and Microsoft Teams in workplaces, email still reigns supreme (42 percent) as the primary method of communication between employees and their bosses. Phone (26 percent) falls in second place. Yet, employee communication tools and video conferencing tools are much less popular, at 21 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
  • Employees value the boss’s role in individual growth. When it comes to employees’ one-to-one meetings with their managers, 32 percent like when their boss provides clear direction on their role and responsibilities and 15 percent appreciate their manager’s guidance and support of their career development goals. This means 47 percent would like their boss to have an active role in their growth.
  • Capturing the boss’s attention is tricky business. Only 18 percent of the respondents said their boss schedules weekly one-to-one meetings over video with them. Twice weekly one-to-one meetings, meanwhile, are even less common (14 percent).
  • Limited calendar visibility keeps managers walled off and inaccessible. Almost half (47 percent) of the respondents said they don’t have access to their manager’s calendar in case they need to schedule a quick touch base with them.

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“Career growth and crises aren’t usually the most amenable bedfellows,” said 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. 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.”

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