For students at university and graduates who are keen to further develop their skills in the workplace, internships are usually the first point of call. Not only can they learn a myriad of things, but often they can put what they have studied into direct practice. Internships also offer great value to employers, as they are great ways to showcase your company, train and evaluate potential hires and also learn new things, as your intern could teach you a few things too! Hiring an intern can be a fantastic experience for everyone involved, provided you properly prepare for their arrival. Here are some ways to prepare to hire an intern and ensure that you build out a five-star internship programme.
Know what you need help and assistance with
As obvious as it sounds, there are quite a lot of employers out there who hire an intern to do various different things and don’t set out a clear framework of tasks, based on the help and assistance the company actually needs. Before you hire an intern, ensure that you have this narrowed down.
Consider how both parties can benefit
An internship has to be beneficial for you and the intern you choose to hire. Think about your day-to-day activities and consider where the intern can fit into that. As an example, if you’re business is predominantly client-facing, it may be a good idea to have the intern attend a few meetings with you to shadow the way your company interacts in business relationships or, perhaps you can take some time out to train your intern in a CRM that you use day-to-day, so that eventually they can update the CRM without your guidance.
Plan the onboarding process
When you’d like to hire an intern, you have to ensure that your business is prepared for one. Make sure all of your colleagues are aware that an intern will be joining the business and shadowing their work, ensure that the intern knows who to report to, their working hours and that all access has been arranged for them on the day of arrival (key cards, fobs, door codes etc). Having a smooth onboarding process for your intern will make everyone’s lives easier and would give a good first impression.
Assign specific tasks
Before you hire an intern, think about your goals and desired outcomes and compile a list of tasks you’d like to assign them. Identify the needs your interns will fill and design a step-by-step approach to help them reach their goals. Designate an employee who will mentor and develop interns along the way.
Integrate them as much as you can
Make sure interns are invited to participate in company events and meetings. By participating in regular company events, your interns will better understand how your company works, which will be helpful if you decide to offer them a job after their internship. The more comfortable interns are with your company culture, the more they will be able to contribute to strengthening your business.
Create a balanced workload
Keep a balanced workload for your interns. If you assign them too many tasks, they are likely to get stressed and make mistakes. On the other hand, having almost nothing to do throughout an internship is frustrating for interns and doesn’t benefit your company. If interns finish their daily tasks early, let them shadow coworkers to learn how to manage advanced projects.
Classroom learning is usually conceptual but good internships help students to apply their academic concepts to real work situations. Daily, routine work tasks (e.g. how to use business tools) may not come naturally to someone with no work experience. Spend some time to guide interns by providing them resources and training.
To interns, feedback is gold. Provide feedback as the internship progresses to give them a chance to improve while they are there. Before their internship ends, schedule a short session to outline their strengths and areas for development in the future.