Hiring interns certainly has its benefits. When carried out efficiently, an internship provides the intern with a chance to learn valuable lessons, and the organisation that hires them with additional help. However, internships aren’t invariably positive experiences. There are crucial steps to welcoming an intern to your organisation that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Assign a Supervisor
When integrating an intern into your organisational structure, make sure that you can locate a clear place for him or her. Do this not just by placing them within a certain branch, but also by assigning the intern a specific employee as their supervisor.
This supervisor should be responsible for introducing the intern to the organisation, assigning them their tasks, and monitoring their progress. It should be made clear that this is the person needs to turn to for questions or report to with any eventual issues. Ensure that when you hire an intern he or she will know who to turn to for guidance.
Don’t leave any room for confusion as to who is accountable for the intern that you hire. Such confusion can easily lead to decreased efficiency. They’re also more likely to interfere with the work of other employees, who may not have time to look after a newly hired intern. Leaving interns running rampant around the office is not constructive.
Set Clear Tasks
Do set out clearly what work an intern is expected to carry out during his or her time at your organisation. Interns are typically hired for a short period of time, spanning no more than a few months. As such, there is limited time for adjustments or training. An intern can be more smoothly integrated if their purpose is identified as soon as they are hired.
Do therefore provide a newly hired intern with all the relevant information they might need. This can be done by creating a task list, or an overview of the projects which require their support. As the internship progresses, provide regular clear feedback to make sure the intern stays on track.
Don’t be vague or unclear on what you expect from your intern. This will make the entire process less productive and beneficial for both the intern and the organisation.
Set Relevant Tasks
An internship should be an opportunity for an intern to gain work experience in and insight into the industry he or she is hoping to work in. Offering an internship provides an organisation with the chance to evaluate someone who could potentially be hired in the future. You can do so by offering them tasks which are comparable to the work carried out by employees. It is therefore recommendable to hire an intern based on their educational background and professional interests, and to involve these in the internship programme.
Don't view an intern as an extra set of hands to help carry out errands in your office. Not offering your interns an adequate chance to learn could make the experience a negative one for the intern, and reflect poorly on your organisation.
In short, an internship should be focused and well-organised. If you hire an intern, be sure to have a clearly defined plan on how he or she can fit into your organisation.
By: Barbara Haenen