The goal of an internship program is to provide young professionals with an opportunity to gain work experience and insight into a specific industry. They offer tremendous benefits to businesses in terms of increasing productivity and recruiting well-suited staff members, especially in small- to medium-sized organizations. The below tips offer simple actions every employer can take with their interns which will help ensure that both the students and your company get the most out of working together.
Take time to train. Not only do interns need to know how to work with the equipment and software they’ll be using, but they also need to understand the day-to-day operations and the overall mission of your company. Proper training will help kickoff the program on the right foot and allow the new interns to get acclimated.
Treat them like employees. Like any employee, interns want to feel like they are a part of the company. If they are treated like insiders, they will have a more enjoyable experience and walk away with a positive outlook on your company culture.
Assign meaningful tasks. An intern that spends days making coffee and shredding papers will not bring value to your company or walk away feeling like they gained significant experience. Remember, their primary objective is to learn. When you use them simply to perform grunt work, you are not providing them the opportunity to develop their knowledge and abilities.
Mentor regularly. Helpful mentors are often the key to a successful internship program. Make sure each intern has at least one person that they can turn to with questions or concerns. This mentor will also need to take the initiative to periodically assess their progress.
Conduct exit interviews. At the end of each program session, gather feedback on the intern’s experience. Their input will help to improve and grow your internship program. You can also use this time to assess their interest in coming back in the future as a full-time employee.
If you provide your interns with the right tools and opportunity, they can provide your company with valuable assistance. Are you currently running an internship program? Share with us what works well for your company on our Facebook page!