Is mentorship an integral part of the work experience?
The dictionary offers two definitions for the word “mentor.” The first definition reads, “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.” The second definition is, “an influential senior sponsor or supporter.” In the early days of industry, mentorship was a core component of any worker’s development in the field. During the Middle Ages, a master craftsman would take a young worker under his wing. The young worker would learn the craft over a contracted period while the master craftsman would get increasingly good assistance at a low cost.
Over the last century, the assembly line mentality and the constant evolution of technology has removed a lot of the apprenticeship experience from the world of manufacturing. The focus is on accomplishing one task over and over again, and the emphasis on being faster rather than better most of the time. While this makes sense, perhaps, in a practical way, this lack of a mentor/apprentice relationship also can mean the employees lose that sense of having a “senior sponsor or supporter.” This can make it harder to ask questions as you might worry that you will be mocked for not knowing the answer. You might even worry that your lack of knowledge will make it look like you don’t know enough to do your job well. When you make a mistake without a mentor to protect you, you can really be taken to task.
At Hi-Vac Corporation, where we manufacture brands you know and respect like Aquatech and O’Brien, we believe mentorship is an integral part of the work experience. We encourage our long-time employees to offer counsel, advice, and suggestions to our newer employees and we do our best to make sure that our new employees are teamed with a mentor so that they can ask questions and learn as they go. We have found that teaming people up this way creates a better work environment and also helps the on-job education move a lot faster.
We hope that we can increase our use of the mentorship/apprenticeship system in the years to come because of all of the benefits it offers. We love to see knowledgeable employees sharing their knowledge with a newer employee who may have a different perspective that might even improve the way we’ve always done things. In this kind of environment, everybody wins.
For more information, visit www.aquatechinc.com.