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  • Writer's pictureColliers | Columbus


Written by: Gracey Cantalupo

Gracey Cantalupo is the Chief Marketing Officer at MentorcliQ. Keep reading to get Gracey’s take on what the future of collaboration in the workplace will look like.

Can you give us a brief overview of what MentorcliQ does and what your specific role looks like?

MentorcliQ powers innovative talent strategies for global Fortune 1000 and DiversityInc Top 50 organizations that are building inclusive cultures and delivering unmatched employee engagement, development and retention through mentoring. MentorcliQ helps clients increase employee engagement and retention by as much as 75%. As the Chief Marketing Officer, I lead the team that executes our brand vision and our go-to-market strategy.

Why are mentorship and collaboration so important in the current office market?

The pandemic created a collective point of reflection for workers. After spending over a year immersed in emotionally and spiritually stressful work and life situations, workers now want something more than a paycheck. They want stronger connections, clear career paths and a chance to learn or enhance their skills. They want more fulfillment from work. And when they return to physical workspaces outside their homes, they want those spaces to feel as comfortable and safe as their remote offices were.

How does office space design play a role in the success of a good mentorship program within an organization?

Forward-thinking organizations now recognize that good mentoring takes the physical space into consideration on how it impacts mentoring engagements. MentorcliQ streamlines the process to connect people and gather success data for program insights. With remote work, the vast majority of mentoring also happens remotely, so forming connections absolutely must utilize a software approach if mentoring is to be successful. As employees return to physical office spaces, both mentees and mentors need areas that make conversations enjoyable. Cubicles and rows of workstations don’t create the requisite atmosphere for enjoyable and deep mentoring conversations. A reimagining of the physical office space means designing areas that are more private without being intimidatingly so, that improve the conversational mood, and that reduce distractions.

We see that you’ve worked with many prominent companies. What was one of your most rewarding client projects to work on and why?

There are so many great stories it’s hard to narrow it down! One of the most common questions we get from clients is “What are other companies like us doing about (insert challenge around engagement, development, or retention)? ” To help all of our clients answer these questions, MentorcliQ created a mentoring community called MentorCom. MentorCom brings Fortune 1000 and DiversityInc Top 50 clients together to share stories about what is happening in their organizations. It is extremely rewarding to provide a venue to share these stories and help clients learn about what is working in other organizations, so they do not have to reinvent the wheel at their company.

In your opinion, do you think we will see a major shift to permanent remote working, or do you anticipate employers bringing employees back to the office?

The big lesson from the pandemic is that remote work is not only possible and productive, but for many professional workers, it is preferred. A 2021 PwC survey found that 41% of remote workers do not want to go back to a physical office full-time. Microsoft also found that while 70% of workers want remote flexibility to continue, over 65%desire in-person time with their colleagues. I believe that companies should take an employee-led approach to “Back to The Office” instead of making it an employer-led mandate. In a recent Forbes article, we share MentorcliQ’s approach to designing and opening our new office this fall. We worked with our employees to understand both what they enjoy about working at home as well as what stresses them. We learned that while our employees enjoy the flexibility, they miss connecting and collaborating at the office. When we designed our new space we infused the best of home and workspaces. We created incentives to get employees to want to come into the office instead of mandating it. We also posted an article called Hybrid at MentorcliQ with pictures of the new office design and quotes from employees about the space. Physical offices aren’t going away, but they are changing. Companies should listen to their employees and evolve how they activate the workspace. Every challenge also presents opportunities. Companies have the opportunity to reinvent the workspace in a way that boosts creativity, teamwork, productivity, and ultimately, revenue.

How has COVID-19 impacted the implementation of your mentorship programs?

Even before the pandemic, employee mentoring was happening in different office locations. In fact, almost 90% of mentoring was happening in different cities and across the globe. MentorcliQ was designed to connect employees in different locations; the pandemic just shifted the location from different offices to home offices. Pre-pandemic, the majority of mentoring programs were focusing on career development, high potential leadership and supporting employee resource groups such as Women in Leadership programs. Since the shift to remote and hybrid work, we have seen a swell in demand for mentoring that focuses on fostering inclusivity, creating connection and increasing belonging.

For more information on Columbus office trends, check out our 2022 Columbus Office Tenant Report!

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