We are a startup company and have employed a final-year engineering student for a 6-month internship. During the first month I used to interact with him regularly, but for the past 2 months I have not been able to interact with him much, and he has been reporting to a senior member Mr XYZ. This XYZ has a very discouraging attitude, which I came to know only recently.
I got the information that XYZ has been mentally torturing this new intern every now and then. He always says that this job is really a very tough job, and the intern won't be able to do it. When I found out we had a meeting and I've tried to make things better by involving myself in the projects and having more interactions with both XYZ and this intern.
The fact is I was very satisfied with the intern's performance; as a fresher, he did more than what I was expecting.
But this morning I got a big shock when I got the following email in my mailbox:
I am sorry to say that I am unable to continue my training due to some reasons which I cannot explain and sorry for wasting your precious time. Thanks for giving me opportunity.
I called him immediately and tried to find out those reasons that he said he couldn't tell me. He divulged the following two reasons after much effort on my part:
a) Due to the discouraging nature of Mr. XYZ, I do not feel like working in this company any more.
b) If I am unable to get the correct results, I feel hopeless, and then I stop. I feel bad that I am unable to do these jobs. I feel like I cannot do anything in life.
Based on these two reasons, I believe that the reason b) is a consequence of reason a).
I do not want to lose this guy as he is really good, and I was about to put him on a mini live project. Secondly, he is a fresher (and we are a startup), so I do not need to pay him much and thus he is easily affordable to us. We have also already invested so much time in him that if he leaves now we will definitely lose.
My questions are:
- Was meeting with the intern face to face a good way to resolve this conflict?
- If not, how can we avoid such events in future?
- Is it a good idea to help the intern regain energy and confidence by putting him on very simple projects?