How to Improve Your New Intern’s Experience

Hiring new employees is never easy. Sorting through all of the candidates to find the perfect fit for your company requires a good deal of time, resources, and serious elbow grease. Chances are this is something you’ve been through before when hiring long term, salaried based employees. Doing so may be within your comfort zone, but what if you’re considering bringing on an intern?

Interns can benefit a company in several ways. They can provide you with an opportunity to find future employees without posing the risk of salaried employees. Interns provide flexibility when hiring new staff, particularly during an “off” season. In order to gain the most from this relationship, it’s essential to establish a strong connection with your interns. We’ve created a list with a few simple tips that will help your company when filling internship roles.

Start with onboarding them like a real employee

Make it clear early on that their internship matters.  It can range from fun (inquire about their favorite super hero and then decorate their desk) to serious (placing them into an onboarding class with other new hires). It is said that one-third of new employees leave due to a poor onboarding experience. While it’s doubtful that an intern will leave for this reason, you’ll find that they make their feelings about it very clear on social media, along with sharing their opinions with friends and colleagues. Make their importance clear from day one and reap the benefits.

Make their internship matter by showing them the power of it

Show the positive impact that their job will have on the company. For many interns, this is what stands out the most. Make known to the intern the bigger picture of what they will be working towards. Include the intern in team meetings to show how her work a part in accomplishing major milestones.  When the internship ends, show the intern how the work they have done will influence the company going forward. Along with providing the intern with confidence, it will leave a mark on your company’s future legacy.

Establish a strong program

It’s important that your company creates a program aimed specifically towards your interns. Your organization must undertake two main steps in order to establish what’s expected of your new hires and what they can expect from your company in turn.

Write a job description

Give a description of your organization and the job being given to your interns. Describe how this role will benefit them professionally and what skill set they will learn. Provide strong guidelines regarding their exact tasks, the length of the internship itself, and the hours they are expected to work. Being specific will allow the interns to succeed in the position by giving them the motivational tools they need.

Choose specific projects

Again, providing guidelines of what’s expected of your new hires is important. Provide specific projects which allow them to concentrate on their job tasks and offer a good sense of company expectations. Your company will be able to keep track of their successes by doing so. Tailor their projects towards their skills and professional interests. Unclear guidelines will not provide the proper professional environment and may hinder growth. Your internship program should clearly show why you hired them.

Pick a mentor

Choosing the right staff member to act as a liaison for your interns is important, particularly if they stretch across multiple departments. Having a mentor is beneficial to the intern and gives a junior manager the opportunity to gain experience of his own. A mentor will ensure that the program runs smoothly by assigning projects, answering questions, and providing periodic job reviews. A mentor will also give interns a familiar face to work with and allow them the opportunity to voice their concerns, gain feedback, ask for clarification, and get detailed direction.

Work as partners

Your employees should work side by side with interns as a way to keep them motivated and productive. Instruct your employees to give specific feedback to your interns’ work when appropriate and to offer constructive advice. At the same time, the interns should be given a chance to develop their own professional skills, which is the reason they sought the position out in the first place.

Give Them a Workspace

This seems like a simple idea, but it can mean a great deal to your interns. A workspace of their own will make them feel as though they’re actually a part of the office environment instead of a temporary guest. Make the interns feel at home by providing them with a table top, chair, and access to office supplies. Providing a happy, friendly and helpful work culture and giving interns their own workplace will result in increased productivity and dedication to their job. Word of mouth is a key factor when searching for candidates, and if your interns have something positive to talk about you’ll never be short an employee.

Never have them get you coffee

Having an intern bring you coffee will instantly diminish the role they came to perform for your company. Many companies absolutely refuse to allow their staff to assign interns with menial tasks such as getting a coffee. There is a new generation of millennial workers interning and entering the workforce, and the best way to have them take the work they do seriously is by treating them as equals. There will be a noticeable impact on production and outlook when you put interns on a level playing field with your team from the very start.