Internships are a great way to introduce smart, talented potential employees into the company. Interns get valuable career experience and exposure to your company.
However, managing interns isn’t the same as managing employees. A structured internship program can make the experience a good one for the intern and the company.
Some companies accept interns to have that “warm body” to do the unpleasant work that no one else wanted to do. If that’s the reason you’re hiring an intern, don’t. An unpleasant experience may be posted online, which will result into a lessened pool of good prospective employees.
Put yourself in the intern’s shoes. The college of high school student is there to gain valuable experience and insight into your industry. Making copies all day or cleaning toilets wouldn’t do that and will leave a bad impression of your company to the world.
Part of everyone’s job within a company should be to convey a positive impression of the organization to the populations you care about ‑ potential clients, employees and investors.
According to Inc.com, HR professionals can use internships to interview potential employees. HR managers know how much it costs to train a new hire just to see them not work out. But if you see the intern and their work ethic for three months, you get a good idea of how they will fit within the company.
Foreknowledge of how the intern reacts under pressure is invaluable insight. You’ll be able to see if the intern fits within the corporate culture and if they’re suited to the ‑ with little investment. It helps when your interns are the same age as your younger target customer. Each age brings with it an understanding of a specific demographic.
Tips for a successful internship program:
- Pair each intern with a mentor to guide them through any questions or tasks.
- Treat each intern with respect and acknowledge what they bring to the table.
- Manage potential clashes between generations.
- Make sure they have the right resources.
- Fit the intern’s interests with their tasks.
- Offer an open-door policy to the intern.
- Assign the intern a specific project to complete during their tenure.
- Set goals, monthly, weekly or daily that are achievable but also challenging.
- Meet consistently
- Help your intern network within the industry.
- An intern isn’t just there to work hard, they are there to understand that employees (and interns) are valued.
Use the program to strengthen ties with the community by offering locally-based programs. You can structure the program to offer underprivileged students or military veterans a chance to get experience.
Internships are great branding tools for your organization. Even if you cannot hire the intern, keeping in touch with an intern who had a positive experience can prove to be an important contact in your industry.
So, use them wisely.
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|Tamera Shaw is a freelance writer for Insured Solutions based in Louisville, Kentucky. She writes fiction and enjoys amateur photography. She happily shares her life with husband Ron, daughter Cate and sage cat, Sophie, who grudgingly shares her home with the newest member of our family – Nieko, our new kitten.|