Remember the day you had to make the choice about what career to choose?
Choosing the right career is without a doubt the most important decision you will ever make – the path you choose shapes the remaining years of your life. It’s easy to get confused in such a situation, causing many people to hesitate after college simply because they have not yet decided what they want to be.
While giving your all to a path is good, it might not be the best way to know where you fit in.
Testing out different careers through various internships can help a person realize what they actually want to be. Through internships, a person is able to gain a wealth of experience that shape them according to the company’s mission statement. This will enable that person to discover whether ultimately this is the correct career path for them.
There will come points in a person’s career where they will need assistance and where extra motivation from an outside source can allow them to reach their goals. These are the primary reasons companies have internship programs, and why it is often the case that a mentor those in higher positions within the company are willing to become mentors for those new recruits.
While internship programs have always been seen as valuable by employers, they have traditionally been overlooked by educational institutions. This is changing however, as more schools recognize the value internship programs have for their students, in particular, those in the field of business. For this reason some of the best schools for entrepreneurship now include internships as part of their syllabus.
What is a Mentorship Program?
Established employees within a company will have gained a wealth of skills over their time in a company. These senior members of staff are therefore an asset to the company not only for their business acumen but also in playing a role in shaping the next generation of employees.
Mentoring allows for the experienced to train the new and agile. This includes tips and tricks that will allow them to complete their assigned tasks faster, thereby improving their efficiency, in the process acquiring skills early on that improve their workflow.
Having a mentor is a lot like having a personal teacher who is knowledgeable about the workings of the organization. This culture of mentoring and internship is one reason that millennials are now choosing startups over corporations, at least in the early stages of their careers. The teacher also learns to differentiate between what is gone and what is present, as newer generations bring invaluable ideas that may have otherwise gone overlooked.
What company doesn’t want a well-skilled workforce? Mentorship programs are a solution to cutting costs for the company: the valuable insight an experienced employee can give to your interns is worth much more than workshops conducted by third parties. It is a way to form relationships with those inside the organization and it helps build lasting networks that can be helpful later in an intern’s career.
Benefits for the mentor’s career?
1) Becoming a better leader
By becoming a mentor, you are responsible for, in a way, the progress of a new employee. Your knowledge will help them in their future career. This opportunity allows you to demonstrate your leadership skills within the company as you are ultimately responsible for the quality work produced by those under you within an organization. You therefore have to make sure the intern understands what they have to do in any project they become involved in.
The intern comes to you for guidance and your solutions help them not only to learn but also to complete work that is valuable to the company. The success of their project ultimately depends on the kind of guidance you provide and as such it is crucial. Make the most of the leadership opportunity you are given, as the success of your interns will be evidence that you are capable of handling more responsibility yourself.
2) Discover new things about your company:
Mentoring programs are a great way to get to know what is happening around the company. Narrowing your focus to only those tasks assigned to you can make you ignorant of the workings of other departments that work to benefit the organization. This can lead to stagnation within a company, inhibiting innovation, and lack of innovation is a significant predictor of which big companies are likely to fail within 5-10 years.
The intern assigned to you may from another department, as a transfer of skills within an organization is often encouraged. You then get the unique opportunity to witness other departments in action. All this can assist you in one day becoming a CEO if you aim for it. Since a CEO is aware of all the places in the organization, your experience of becoming a mentor will surely contribute to your knowledge base about the company as a whole.
3) You see what you lack for the first time:
New employees in your organization are not yet aware of its inner workings. They are a valuable source of information and opinions, providing new perspectives on old problems. This will help you see what the company and its established employees’ lack.
It is crucial that you take constructive criticism from these new employees because their points of view, shaped by their experiences will be different to yours, and ultimately appeal to a different demographic that perhaps you are less familiar with. They are more in line with the current trends hence are also vital for company growth, and this is a facilitator of modern innovation for large organizations.
Most senior employees see this as a matter of ego. That is not so. You cannot possibly know everything there is to know about the job. For example, innovative ideas are always welcome and figuring out how much you lack in them can lead to a greater understanding of how to improve.
Ultimately, your capability to improve and overcome is what gets you further ahead in your career.
4) Helps form new relationships:
Forming lasting relationships with co-workers has been found to be beneficial to an employee’s overall productivity. Human beings are social animals and you simply cannot expect to be the lone wolf in the organization that depends on collaboration.
Being a mentor can help with this. You get to interact with someone at a different stage in their career to yours, and has experiences different to your own. They may also have worked in other industries than the one you are in hence may provide important information on things you simply had not considered before.
5) Help you build up your resume
While the intern benefits from the experience and reference for their resume, you as a mentor also benefit in terms of the skills listed on your resume. Your experience as a mentor can be highlighted to your current employer, but also makes you more employable should you be looking for a new job.
Your resume will be boosted by the data you can provide on KPI’s you were able to achieve through mentoring. Your overall performance and how much progress you have made within the company will also imply that you are of greater value to future employers.
Stressing out about what is to come next is natural. Your career requires focus and also requires you to sometimes venture across your walls so that you may learn something new. A mentorship program is exactly like that. It allows for you to nurture someone from scratch and build them in the vision of the company. It is also an important opportunity to get yourself in the company’s radar so that they might promote you for a job well done.
Your good work helps build the company from ground-up. Understand that the first impression your student will have of the company would be the way you treat them and the things you make them learn. The responsibility might be daunting but the benefits are just as rewarding.