By: Tiina Huovinen
Interns: the girls and the boys who make coffee, take photocopies and run boring mindless errands nobody else wants to do. Wrong! Internships should be beneficial to both the intern as to the company. Good management and preparations before the intern begins will help you to get the most of your intern. Here are some tips to help you.
Plan and prepare
If you are getting an intern, you should have tasks for her or him. If the intern just has to do whatever comes up or clean up the storage, the intern will lose motivation and feel inferior. Give your intern real work. Create a job description and instructions of tasks. It’s even better if you discuss with your intern before you make your plan, and get to know a bit what your intern already knows and what she wishes to learn.
Make your intern feel welcome
On the first day of the job, your intern will probably feel nervous. Rather than introducing your intern to the whole office in the beginning of the day, escort your intern around the office and let her meet the staff individually. Make sure you’ll have time to give your intern proper instructions and training during their first week in the office. Go through the job description and instructions with them and encourage your interns to ask questions if something is not clear. If possible, give your intern a mentor, a co-worker that can help if your interns needs information or is feeling confused about something.
Regular check-ins and feedback
Don’t forget about your intern after the first week of work. Make sure you check-in with your intern several times a week. Schedule also time for longer sit-downs, where you can review the intern’s work in more detail. Feedback and check-ins give your intern a feeling she is a part of the team. Also, with frequent check-ins, you can make sure your intern is focusing on the right things in their work.
Discuss with your co-workers and staff about their projects to find out if they have tasks for the intern. Usually everybody has at least something they can delegate to the intern. Delegating the tasks is a win-win situation for everyone: your workers can share some of their workload to the intern and your intern will have a broader experience, when she takes part in several projects. They will also feel included and a part of the team. And don’t forget, you and your staff could also learn new methods and get fresh ideas from your intern.
Saying goodbye to your intern is as important as welcoming them. Discuss with your intern, ask what she has learned and how she has developed during the internship. Ask for feedback on how you have performed as a supervisor and what kind of an experience their internship has been. The feedback will help you to distinguish what you already do well and where you could improve your procedures with future interns.
If the internship is a positive experience to the intern, they will spread the good word among fellow students and educational institute. A good reputation as an internship and workplace is an asset when you are competing for proficient and motivated employees. Taking good care of your interns will pay off to you.