Forming positive relationships is an important part of the onboarding process for new Extension professionals. Often, formal mentors are assigned to new employees, but they also develop relationships with other colleagues in the organization. Past studies have found quality relationships with mentors and coworkers can positively influence job outcomes such as employee turnover, organizational performance, and organizational commitment. This study examined the perceptions that early career Extension agents in Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi had of their formal mentors and best-liked coworkers using a causal-comparative design and online survey. Results showed early career Extension agents tended to have marginally positive views of their relationships with their formal mentors but perceived high-quality relationships with their coworkers. Neither type of relationship was significantly related to organizational commitment, but increased frequency of contact with the formal mentor was significantly related to more positive perceptions of the mentoring relationship. Extension organizations should provide structured guidelines for frequency of interactions between mentors and mentees to help improve those relationships.



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