Six Ways To Develop Long-Term Relationships Through Mentoring
By Forbes Human Resources Council
Internships and apprenticeships create an opportunity for students to gain experience. While experience is often used in a positive manner, not all experience is the same. If someone leaves an internship saying, “All I did was fetch coffee. I learned nothing and sorely regret wasting my time,” then the company will likely draw in fewer quality candidates in the future, as well as potentially upset the sources of the mentees, in the case of interns, or turn out unqualified candidates, in the case of apprenticeships. This helps no one.
This is especially true for business owners and leaders. The people moving through your mentoring program represent new ideas, skills and enthusiasm. While not every candidate’s skill set will fit with your company, assuming they stay in the industry, you may end up meeting them again, five or even 10 years in the future. The experiences they took away from your program may have a long-term impact on how their new business handles interactions with yours. Even on a smaller scale, knowing someone who’s judgement you trust can help you find other businesses or candidates you’d like to work with.
So what should companies focus on in order to make sure the interns gain a solid experience? And, how should the mentors approach the process, in order to create long-term relationships? Here is what members from the Forbes Human Resources Council recommend you focus on:
1. Interns’ Leaders Should Provide Career Wisdom
Internships are often undervalued, as interns often perform menial tasks given the effort needed to get any new employee up to speed. However, interns gain valuable experience in working with others and viewing the work environment firsthand. The intern’s leader should not only be able to provide feedback on the job, but also provide career wisdom. This is what creates true value for interns. – David Hawthorne, Pacific Bells / World Wide Wings
2. Apprentices Gain A Solid Foundation From Someone Who’s Been There
In these situations, apprentices are in a position of learning, so expectations are different. The question changes from “how will this employee add value to our company?” to “what can we teach this person so that they are set up to succeed?” Learning from someone who once did what you’re trying to do is the best type of learning, since they know what you need for a solid foundation to get started – Brooke Peterson, Causely
3. Interns Gain Opportunities To Network
Any exposure you can get to executives in the workplace can only help you in the long run. Not only are you getting great experience during your internship, you are also building a relationship: Someone who will know you personally and professionally, and can recommend you to others when the right position comes. Never turn down a great opportunity to build your network! – Michele Gonzalez-Pitek, The Unity Council
Article originally appeared on Forbes.