How To Turn Your Internship Program Into A Mentorship Program

When my co-founders chose our company headquarters near our alma mater, we were all inspired (in part) by romantic notions of coming full circle to give back to the community that made us who we are. We imagined interns folding under wing like our very own hatchlings and hanging on our every wise word. Then, shortly after the move, I mistakenly introduced an intern as a mentee and the sophomore shot me the most confused look. Suddenly, I felt silly and presumptuous. That’s when it dawned on me: my high-mindedness had only made a difference for my ego. So, I set out to build a strategy around better engaging our interns so that their time with us truly does enhance their lives as well as their resumes. Here are five ways to incorporate mentorship into your internship program. Make Your Aspirations Known Early On Initially, fear of failure prevented me from admitting how ambitious we were about our intern program. Saying “I want to be your mentor” felt like telling someone you just met that you want to be their best friend someday. Then, I realized how not disclosing your intentions can have equally off-putting consequences. If your interns don’t know why you’re asking them personal questions, sharing life lessons, and saying “I was just like you once,” it can come across as if the very person who judges their performance is standing in the way of them doing their job. How would you feel if your old boss secretly added topics to a meeting agenda and made them top priorities? To the boss, the meeting was extremely productive; to everyone else, the meeting would seem to have veered off-topic and ran longer than necessary. In fact, in that situation, your so-called mentee would be so confused that they can’t internalize the insights you’re trying to share. So, as early as the interview and the on boarding training, you should make your intentions clear. If interns know in advance that you want them to get more out of their internship than a portfolio, then they are free to build connections with superiors without fear of wasting anyone’s time. Being clear on the purpose behind every interaction helps your mentees get the most out of every relationship in the office. Find Out What The Interns Want Out Of The Experience Because goal-oriented thinking is essential to any business endeavor, we’ve never failed to ask our interns what they want to accomplish during the internship. However, mentorship is about the journey as well. So, we’ve added a new question: “What do you hope to learn about yourself and this industry along the way?” This question signals that we care about their enrichment as well as their contributions, and it primes them to think about their journey as deeply as they do their destination. Of course, if the rest of the team treats their answers as inconsequential — merely busy work to do before they take on an assignment — then you’ve defeated the whole purpose. So, we also talk to interns about their hopes for the internship throughout their stint here, using them as a benchmark to ensure they have a meaningful experience. Source- forbes For further assistance related to Internship related queries in India, Dubai or Singapore, please visit: . -WhatsApp : +91 7768033776


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