One of the key components that evaluate the success of an internship program in an organization is the effectiveness of the mentorship provided. For the interns, the internship could be their first foray into professional culture. Chances are high that they might not know the ins and outs of the office etiquette.
“My first internship opportunity was with a big MNC far away from home. So the first few days were really frustrating as everything was so new. I was glad to be assigned a mentor because it allowed me to be at ease and feel more comfortable.” As quoted by a final year engineering student.
What should be the primary focus of an intern?
The primary focus of a student while choosing an internship is; to be able to garner experience in their field of study and to have hands-on training about the same. The internship should also help them achieve a realistic preview of the workplace. All these objectives can be met to a higher degree of satisfaction through the presence of a mentor. Much like the internship programme the mentoring field also requires a great deal of dedication, hard work and time.
How do mentors help?
Talent is left wasted if it is not nurtured and guided properly. This is where mentors come into the picture. They can help interns in having a more hands-on approach and to understand work ethics and work behaviour. Mentors help interns in channelizing their energy and talents in ways that can lead to productive results in a much professional manner. Besides this, they can help interns understand the various hassles they may face and how to tackle them appropriately. Effective mentorship not only benefits the interns but the organisation as well. One of the best examples of the benefits of having a mentor is reflected in testimonials of the students who were part of the Graduation Rotational internship Programme by The Sparks Foundation
They play a pivotal role in helping the interns to grow and widen their horizons. An effective feedback system throughout the internship is vital in developing an intern. The mentorship makes the feedback more effective in modelling the intern into a professional. A mentor is capable of creating a more transparent environment, where the interns can freely approach them. It helps in creating a sense of belonging. This is crucial, as it boosts the intern’s performance.
Mentors can help create an environment where questioning and problem-solving are done more openly and spontaneously. Apart from problem-solving, the mentors can help interns understand and anticipate the possible problems that can arise due to both internal and external causes. Through this, interns get real professional exposure and help them to remodel their thinking style to suit the organization requirements.
Apart from benefitting the intern, the mentorships provide a platform for the company to revamp its screening process. Through this, the hiring managers get an opportunity to get involved with the candidates. This helps to hire managers to know exactly how the interns respond to deadlines and setbacks, whether or not they are hiring material etc. This gives them a deeper insight than what is available from their resume.
Through this, the process of helping the new candidates to blend into the work environment would be much easier. The hiring managers would not have to worry about whether or not they have made the right choice as they have real-time proof of the capabilities of the interns. Also, it can be a yardstick to evaluate the social behaviour of the intern. A skilled intern with zero social skills would prove to be a liability more than an asset. Even more, a less social intern can be nurtured to fit into a team through proper mentoring, thus helping the company reap the full potential of their interns.