Creating an internship program sounds like a great idea for many businesses. It’s a low-cost way to find future employees, pursue new business goals and projects, and give students the hands-on experience they need to succeed in their future careers. What many businesses don’t account for, however, is the time that goes into creating a successful internship program.
Hiring an intern is much like hiring a regular, full-time employee. You will need to interview many candidates and then train and onboard them. If your intern is only staying for a summer, however, this process can be cumbersome. That’s why it’s important to craft an internship program from the beginning that outlines the responsibilities of both the intern and the employees they work with. Here are a few things to consider when crafting your internship program to make it successful for both you and your interns from the start:
- Real-World Experiences
Interns should expect to be given some amount of mundane, although necessary, tasks throughout their time at the company, but be sure to mix it up and them other business experiences as well. This can include having the intern sit in on internal and external meetings or giving them the opportunity to have their own project. This provides the opportunity for hands-on training that will also be useful if you decide to offer them a full-time position later on.
One of the benefits of internships for students is feedback. Be prepared to coach your interns and provide honest feedback about how they’re doing and where they can improve. It may be helpful to assign one full-time employee to be the mentor of an intern, so they can take charge of overseeing their work.
Your regular employees should already know how they’re expected to dress, when to come into work, and what constitutes appropriate mobile device use. However, if this is the first office-setting job for your intern, then you may need to sit down and lay out these guidelines for them. Discuss proper appearance, work hours, and on-the-job social media use.
- Expectations for Employees
If you choose to select a full-time employee to mentor an intern, they will also need to be aware of your expectations. How often do they need to check in with their intern? What kind of feedback should they be providing?
If you’re in the beginning stages of hiring a summer intern, read our article on how to begin the process.
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