There are elements that must be thought about before and during the internship. Here are some ways to make the most of the experience for all involved.
Follow a Recruitment Process
Even though interns may be a temporary hire, it doesn’t mean they can’t impact your workplace in a big way. Motivated and enthusiastic interns will be a breath of fresh air for your workplace and some will bring unique ideas to projects. However those that are unproductive and bored will negatively impact your team’s overall motivation.
During the interview process make sure to assess the candidate for their ability to fit in with the team as well as their grades. Ask yourself, will they use initiative? Will they work well in a team? Will they bring a positive energy to the company? All these questions are just as important as what type of school or university they go to.
Drafting up a contract for your intern should cover any thoughts or queries about the internship and must also clearly state the length of the internship and payment (if applicable.) It is advised to offer an intern some form of payment, as unpaid internships may cause exploitation accusations.
If an intern is not given enough work to complete, they will become unmotivated and time will be wasted while your team devise tasks for them. To avoid this, hold a meeting with employees to discuss exactly what projects the intern can help with.
Assign certain employees to be their mentors, as this helps guide the intern while improving team member managerial skills. Ensure the intern is being assigned challenging work that will be helpful for your team. Assigning tasks just to “give them something to do” will leave interns bored and unhelpful to your company.
Most interns want more from their experience than doing coffee runs every morning and afternoon. Allow them to prove themselves by assigning worthwhile tasks as this will help you evaluate whether they would be a good fit for potentially becoming a permanent employee.
Invite interns to different work events, including team lunches and after work drinks. This will make them feel a part of the team and gives you a good chance to see how they interact with the rest of your employees.
Conduct Regular Reviews
Give interns regular reviews just like you would with permanent employees. If you don’t have the time, ask intern mentors to conduct a review and give you feedback. Giving positive and constructive feedback will give the intern the opportunity to grow.
When the internship has ended, have the intern fill out a feedback form on what they liked about their experience, what they would do differently and their thoughts on your company culture. This gives you an indication of any changes to make for your next summer intern, ensuring that it’s a successful summer for your company, as well as your intern.
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