Organizational resilience begins with every great HR leader. Empathizing, understanding, and supporting a diverse set of employee experiences is the first step to building a resilient workforce at scale.

Meet Alicia. Alicia is a 23-year old recent college graduate. She moved out of her parents’ house a year ago and has been living on her own in the city. Alicia recently started a new job at a large corporation that demands much of her time, but there are rumors that a round of lay-offs may be coming soon. Alicia has found it difficult to build relationships with her new co-workers, who she has yet to meet in person, and often finds herself getting distracted while working from home. During her downtime, Alicia will occasionally see a friend for a socially distanced walk, but she mostly keeps in touch through texting and social media. Relying heavily on devices to communicate with both her colleagues and support network, Alicia feels lonely and isolated much of the time.

Does this scenario sound familiar? According to a two-part survey we conducted, employees under 30 are experiencing some of the highest levels of stress during this pandemic. A combination of financial pressures, higher career pressures, and less life experience are leaving employees under 30 with higher rates of disordered sleep, burnout, and decreased motivation compared to their older colleagues. They’re also struggling to navigate the dynamics of working remotely. Without in-person opportunities, employees under 30 are finding it much more difficult to form meaningful relationships with their colleagues, embrace their company’s culture, and build up their professional networks. The stress over how this will affect their careers is having a major impact on their levels of engagement and productivity at work. With employees under 30 now making up more than a third of the global workforce, organizations can no longer afford to ignore the needs of their young workers.

Now more than ever, younger workers need employer support to thrive in the workplace. Identifying your at-risk employees and providing them with mentorship during these challenging times is the key to preventing and improving low levels of engagement and productivity at work.

Did you know that 70% of Fortune 500 companies offer some sort of mentorship program? It’s no secret that mentorship programs in the workplace offer a variety of benefits to employees, including more rapid advancement, higher salaries, greater organizational commitment, and higher job satisfaction. In fact, highly resilient employees have reported four times higher job satisfaction compared to their colleagues. Employees with great mentors at work have also shown improved physical health, self-esteem, and relational skills.But not all mentorship programs are created equal.

A recent study of 3,000 professionals across multiple industries reported that only half of employees have had any mentoring in their careers and, among those who have, only 25% were formally assigned mentors. Poorly matched mentors is detrimental to workforce productivity. Often in mentorship programs, employees are assigned mentors who are too busy, disinterested or lack the competence to do the role. There is usually very little education given to mentors and even fewer incentives, leaving mentors feeling like the role is an add-on to all of their other responsibilities. Research suggests that poor mentoring can actually be worse for employees than no mentoring at all, feeding toxic work cultures and low levels of motivation. In order for a mentorship program to be successful, the fit between mentor and mentee is crucial.

Mentors need to bring authenticity, strong listening skills, and a high degree of emotional awareness to the relationship. meQuilibrium can help you identify those individuals with the right qualities for your at-risk employees. The meQuilibrium Suite includes Mentor Match, which connects highly resilient employees with younger colleagues looking to grow. Among our full suite of organizational resilience solutions, Mentor Match offers coaching plans and mentorship tools that guide mentors in setting achievable goals and having productive conversations with their mentees, regardless of whether they’re in person or remote. By identifying employee skill gaps and empowering collaboration, meQuilibrium ensures your workplace culture is optimized for engagement and performance, even during this global crisis.

For more strategic insights and data on how to support the negative effects of COVID-19 on your workforce, download the report, The Impacts of COVID-19 on Workforce Resilience.

Impacts of COVID-19 on Workforce Resilience

Learn more about the top trends coming out of our recent research report from Chief Science Officer, Brad Smith, Ph.D.

Read the Report