Summer is prime time for student internships. During my career, our teams has helped design and administer Corporate mentoring programs (with middle-management staff as the mentors) and extended the model in our own firms to provide mentoring internships to 600+ students. This summer, we hosted over half-a dozen students from the US, China and France. Our goal is to give them hands-on-experience with which to explore career options, learn about their own strengths, preferences and weaknesses, and understand corporate strategy and culture. (To help your company adopt self-sustainable, low-cost, high ROI programs, see www.MentoringInternships.com)
Patty Alper studied corporate mentoring programs – with a focus on those in which large corporations have made investments, and published a book which will also help you. Teach to Work: How a Mentor, a Mentee and a Project Can Close the Skills Gap in America makes an important point: Corporations that want to appeal to the upcoming workforce and future leaders must understand that their image is more than strictly a profit center. She concludes that if a company has a soul, mentoring programs make it clear that the corporation cares. It publicly states “we want to help our community.”
She notes the following benefits from corporate mentoring programs (which also apply to our mentor internship model). They:
- Build a pipeline of employees and applicants; participants of mentoring programs become good-will ambassadors for your company.
- Forge a more collaborative and compassionate corporate culture – everyone has an opportunity to participate and share in the process.
- Create better corporate leaders; mentors become more effective at planning, time management, supervision, communication, teamwork, etc. as they encourage mentees to participate.
- Build more self-confidence by mentors and mentees
- Teach character to mentors and mentees
- Create better collaborators
- Teach perseverance (aka “grit”)
- Retain employees and provide an opportunity for retirees to stay engaged.
- Build community good-will.
There are many different mentoring program models, depending on your budget, staff commitment and goals (corporate staff, internship education, and recruitment focused). Read the book and learn about some that are used by larger companies; visit MentoringInternships.com to learn how to develop one that is highly effective and self-sustaining. Then, share with us your mentoring commitment; we want to share your experiences. esquire realty