Offering internships can be a successful business approach for identifying talent and possible full-time hires for your organization. Effective management methods are required to establish a mutually beneficial relationship between your organization and its interns.
While having an intern can help you cross stuff off your to-do list, it also comes with a lot of managerial responsibilities. You're assisting a new professional who is still in school or at the beginning of their career in gaining the abilities (and potential connections) necessary to succeed in the "real world."
As the supervisor, you'll want to do everything you can to ensure that the intern, the supervisor, and the firm all benefit from a favorable internship experience.
1. Create opportunities & assign real work
Interns in your organization should not be twiddling their thumbs, unsure of where they should be or to whom they should report. Instead, devote time to nurturing your interns and providing them with opportunities to contribute meaningfully to your brand and company. Rather than having them do tedious work, such as administrative jobs, you may assign them to a specific project's team or create a contest among the interns.
Given that one of the main goals of an internship program is to prepare interns for the rigors of the working world, it's only natural that the job they do is authentic rather than fabricated.
Wanda Jackson, senior vice president of human resources of the National Urban League, a New York City-based civil rights organization with 100 employees, thinks that meaningful employment is essential.
"It's always fantastic to come up with something they can take back and say, 'I interned there for eight weeks, and this is what I did,'" she says.
2. Create a Mentoring Program
When you facilitate mentorship in an internship, you ask about and encourage interns' career goals. As an intern manager, you might serve as their mentor or match them with other members of your business who can help them get the most out of their experience. If your interns are interested in conducting charitable work, for example, you may have them shadow someone in your company who has relevant experience. Mentors who create strong bonds with interns can better analyze their abilities and potential, which can help your organization decide who to recruit in the future.
Identify persons in your organization who will be essential in guiding the intern. Those one-on-one partnerships enrich the intern's experience while also developing leadership abilities in members of your team who have the opportunity to coach interns.
Make sure the mentor-mentee relationship has defined boundaries. For example, the mentor may be in charge of arranging networking opportunities for the intern or allowing the intern to watch him or her on the job; the mentor may also hold weekly check-in sessions during which the intern can ask questions and express concerns.
3. Provide a means for them to produce tangible results
Give interns a project to work on during their internship that will demonstrate their abilities to solve problems and produce outcomes. Request that they come up with a creative idea and present it to their boss. They can list this experience on their résumé (and in subsequent job interviews) as having identified an issue, planned, and implemented a solution that yielded results.
Assign projects that result in a concrete work product to your interns to give them a sense of purpose and the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities. This will not only allow your interns to contribute to your firm, but it will also provide them with something to put on their resumes.
It's critical to remember that today's interns will be tomorrow's leaders. As a result, it's vital to set them up for success by offering them meaningful responsibilities, explaining their role in your company's ecosystem, and pushing them to take risks. You never know, among your interns you might find a potential full-time candidate.
4. Demonstrate Your Impact And Purpose
While they are still learning, the finest contribution we can make to enrich young brains is to show them how their work and everyday efforts have a beneficial impact on the business as a whole. Beyond the task itself, it's critical to emphasize principles and purpose and to explain to them "why" your organization exists. Encourage them to go beyond KPIs to understand why purpose is important.
Interns "should be exposed to the overall goal and vision of the business by hearing from more senior leaders, having training about organizational history, [and] learning about other divisions," according to Jill Tipograph, co-founder of Early Stage Careers. Even if you have a tiny company, don't expect your interns to learn this by osmosis, Tipograph warns.
Instead, she recommends that "these things be planned for" ahead of time so that "your interns go away with a thorough grasp and respect of the firm.
5. Recognize Interns' Achievements
It's critical to establish a reputation as an employer and workplace that can credit, acknowledge, and recognize your interns - and, really, all team members. During team meetings, have your leadership acknowledge interns verbally for their thoughts and contributions. The greater the impact your organization can have on an intern's performance, the more you can legitimize your staff!
6. Emphasize Continuous Improvement and Learning
Consider offering interns access to things like online learning alternatives and webinars to assist them to gain extra skills both during and after their internship.
Encourage company leaders to "live the talk," so to speak, and share their personal tales of success and failure as another approach to help them learn and grow. They should also discuss how they have developed and learned from their own professional errors.
7. Make networking easier
Internships provide a great opportunity to network within a company or industry. By providing relevant networking opportunities, you may attract better intern candidates and keep them interested. Introduce your new interns to as many people as possible at your company. Consider holding networking events where your colleagues can present their current projects and interact directly with interns' queries and thoughts. Interns' contacts can be strengthened by involving them in industry events or client interactions throughout their internships.
8. Give them the assistance you've always wished for.
"You can figure it out," I was told frequently as an intern. There's some truth to that, and it helped me develop a thick skin, but I think knowing why, what the process should look like, and an outline of how to get it done would have been fantastic! We must keep in mind that interns are receiving training in a two-way relationship. What kind of training would you give your 20-year-old self?
9. Proactively communicate
Some interns may require some time to adjust to their new positions. If you realize an intern is having difficulties or failing to meet expectations, speak with them to see if there is anything you can do to help them succeed. Interns may understand why something is problematic, but they don't know how to start a conversation about it. If that's the case, they'll most certainly appreciate your attention. If there isn't a clear answer, it's also crucial to communicate with your boss ahead of time. Your boss may suggest a course of action or document your concerns. In any case, you demonstrate effort and investment in effectively managing your interns.
This article was written by Nicholas T. Mushayi, a consultant at the Industrial Psychology Consultants. He can be contacted at [email protected]
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