Although your role is primarily as a supervisor, you should make an effort to actively mentor your student employees in order to make the most of your relationship with them.
Communicate regularly with your student employees and strive to motivate them in their professional pursuits, acting as an advisor. Be open to discussion beyond the work situation and encourage students to achieve their full potential. Student Employees do not seek employment just for the spending money; this experience is often just as educational as the classes in which they are enrolled. For many students, their college job is the first employment opportunity in their lives. Supervisors should understand that this mutually beneficial relationship with their students will be more worthwhile if they serve as mentors and allow the student employees to achieve their maximum potential.
12 Strategies for Effective Mentoring
1. Positive Attitude: Encourage the student to approach life and goals with enthusiasm and to be accepting of self and others.
2. Valuing: Encourage the student to examine beliefs and ideals in an effort to establish personal values and goals.
3. Open-Mindedness: Encourage the student to keep an open mind to ideas.
4. Interrelations: Make the interactions between mentor and student situations of sharing, caring and empathizing.
5. Creative Problem-Solving: Encourage the student to use a creative problem-solving process.
6. Effective Communication: Encourage the student to be an attentive listener and an assertive questioner.
7. Discovery: Encourage the student to be an independent thinker.
8. Strengths and Uniqueness: Encourage the student to recognize individual strengths and uniqueness and to build on them.
9. Confidence: Assist the student in developing self-confidence.
10. Awareness: Stress that an individual be aware of the environment, be intuitive, be problem sensitive, and be ready to make the most of opportunities.
11. Risk-Taking: Encourage the student to be a risk-taker and to be an active participant, not a spectator.
12. Flexibility: Share with student employees the importance of being flexible and adaptable in attitudes and action, looking for alternatives, and seeing situations/persons from different perspectives.
Adapted from Noller (1982) Mentoring: A renaissance of Apprenticeship. The Journal of Creative Behavior.