When starting a job or internship, there is a lot to take in. Getting to know your co-workers, joining new projects, and learning new skills are some of the things new employees must juggle during their first few weeks on the job. For this reason, it is important that a company prioritizes mentorship. When I joined MATC Group as a Technical Writing intern, what impressed me the most was their emphasis on mentorship. I knew that I would be learning from experienced professionals and would witness first-hand how the company worked. The following points discuss how a mentorship program is the most effective and efficient way to ensure that new employees are learning and contributing to the team.
What Is Mentorship?
Mentorship can take many forms. New employees may be assigned one mentor to oversee everything or a mentor for each task. The latter is what I have experienced as an intern. I communicate regularly with my mentors and have a weekly chat with them in person or through Teams. These meetings are the perfect time to draw from other employees’ experience and expertise.
For those daunted by the term “mentor,” there is no need to assume an official title. In fact, many people act as mentors without realizing it. For example, you are filling the role of a mentor whenever you clarify, teach, or explain a concept or project to your coworkers. Whatever mentorship may look like for you, the bottom line is that you are helping others understand the task at hand and get acclimated to their working environment so that they can do their job better.
Many Minds Are Better Than One
Imagine starting a job and being asked to write a manual. Although you have strong written skills, you have never written such a manual before. Most likely, the manual still needs a lot of work after you are done writing it. This is when having a mentor comes in handy. A mentor knows exactly what needs to be fixed and can teach you how to create a better document next time.
This example summarizes the mentorship cycle: you learn by doing, your mentor teaches you the skills to improve, and you use those skills to work better and more independently next time. This proves that mentorship does not make new employees overly dependent. Instead, it teaches them valuable skills to use moving forward. As time goes on, the mentored employee understands things more quickly and may even be motivated to mentor others.
Mentors Also Reap Benefits
In their article “7 Ways to Learn More Effectively,” Psychology Today states that teaching a concept to others helps people remember information better. Mentoring requires you to explain things verbally, and perhaps teach the same concept in various ways. Mentors gain a better understanding of the project or concept as they break it down for new employees.
Active Engagement Leads to a Stronger Team Dynamic
Mentorship not only facilitates communication between new and current employees, but also leads to better engagement overall. Mentored employees and interns are more encouraged to play an active role in projects as they learn new skills. I can attest that having a mentor for each of my assignments has helped me feel more comfortable diving into new projects.
Mentorship benefits both new employees and mentors, making it a wise choice for companies who want their team to be more successful, efficient, and connected. Whether you are creating a mentorship program or simply wish to implement more mentorship roles in your workplace, you are sure to see its benefits.