Here are important issues to consider when selecting and training employees to serve as mentors for student workers:
Think about what makes a good mentor - “Good technical skills” are only the first of many qualities needed to be a good mentor. The qualities of a good mentor include having a positive attitude, patience, flexibility, and compassion. This individual must have the ability to communicate with students of a different background or generation and understand the importance of their role in developing student workers, for the benefit of the student, the business, and the community at large. A person being considered as a mentor must be willing to make occasional personal sacrifices in terms of the time that mentoring will entail.
Mentor selection and training – One of the key decisions in the entire process will be the selecting of a mentor. Do not take this selection lightly, as this individual will be assisting and providing guidance to your potential future workforce. The toolkit includes access to detailed mentor selection and training courses. These courses will provide guidance, training and understanding of the role of a mentor. Here are a few thoughts to assist with the first step in this important selection. A good candidate for becoming a mentor:
• Has at least 5 years’ experience as a technician
• Has at least 1+ years at your company
• Is not necessarily the most seasoned technician, nor the top-producing A tech
• Is possibly already involved with youth activities in the community through Little League, church activities, etc.
• Has a naturally positive attitude, outgoing personality, patience, and a willingness to help others
• Has a good work ethic
• Consistently follows proper repair procedures
Compensating the mentor - Many technicians find they are less productive in the early stages of the mentoring process when the student requires more guidance. If the mentor is paid on flat rate, recognize that their productivity will suffer while they work with students. Appropriate compensation should be provided. The same is true of service managers whose compensation is based on overall shop productivity.
Over time, many employers allow the labor the student flags to be added to the mentor’s hours. This provides an incentive for the mentor to guide and develop the student and grow their capabilities. Keep in mind that to develop the student’s capabilities and keep them engaged, they need the opportunity to perform a variety of tasks. If necessary, pair the student with a different mentor to broaden their experience.
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