Get to know each other
To establish a good work relationship with your mentee, it is important that you get to know each other first. Whether it is in a meeting room, breakout area or the office kitchen – take the time to learn more about them, where they are from, what got them to apply for the programme, what their interests and aspirations are. Tell them about yourself as well. This will make both parties feel more at ease with each other and will ‘break the ice’.
Build a partnership
Explain to your mentee that you are not their boss or teacher. Instead, you are their partner in this experience and are here to help them make the most of their mentorship programme.
Create personalised objectives
Every mentorship programme should have clear goals. Work together with your mentee to set their objectives. Ask them what they want to get from this mentorship, what skills they want to learn and what experience they want to gain. Setting personalised goals will keep your mentee motivated and make their experience more worthwhile.
Establish daily communication
Being a mentor sometimes can feel like a burden because it is often on top of your to-do list. No matter how busy you are, make sure to have a dedicated time slot to talk to your mentee at least once a day. Do not ever let them feel like an inconvenience.
Teach your mentee to find their way
A good mentor uses a mix of advice and guiding questions. Sometimes, guiding your mentee to find the answer themselves can be more valuable than just giving them the solution.
Do not be afraid to say “I don’t know”
You might not always have the right answer to your mentee’s question. Do not be afraid to say “I don’t know” and ask other colleagues for advice. This will teach your mentee a valuable lesson about teamwork and honesty.
Keep an open mind
Sometimes having an outsider’s perspective can bring new improvements to old work processes. Your mentee may notice a mistake in your work or may point out a way your methods can be improved. Taking ownership of your shortcomings will build trust in your relationship with the person you are mentoring.
Make sure to always be constructive in your feedback. Always acknowledge when your mentee does a good job. These small affirmations will help them build their confidence.
Do not forget that you were also inexperienced once. New work environment, unfamiliar tasks and new colleagues – all this can contribute to a stressful experience. Make sure your mentee feels comfortable at the workplace and address any insecurities they might have.
Lead by example
It goes without saying that a good mentor should also be a role model. If you expect your mentee to come in to work on time and stay focused during the workday, you have to follow your own advice. Be the employee that you want them to be.
A well-developed internship programme can yield a lot of benefits, both for your business and the intern. Check out our tips on how to stand out as a preferred employer of interns among your competitors.
How to develop a competitive internship programme for your company
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- Publication date
- 8 March 2023
- European Labour Authority | Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
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