Interns are your potential future workforce, and your new business ambassadors.
Employing interns is a great way to bring new perspective to your business. Yes, they are time consuming, but it takes more work and energy when you’re not prepared for them.
Whether it’s one or one hundred interns, they all expect you to be ready.
Having dedicated line managers/buddies/supervisors are vital to the success of the intern experience. It is a daunting time for any early careerist so having a clear line manager provides comfort, and therefore some confidence.
A predetermined successful outcome helps shape the expectations of the intern. Finding “jobs to do” during the internship won’t allow a measurement for success.
- Have a clear view of what the intern is expected to achieve.
- Explain the purpose of the work at hand and what impact it will have on the business.
- Set goals to achieve over the period.
- Be clear on how success will be measured.
Feedback doesn’t have to be difficult
It is also important to set a mid-point review (at the very least), this allows time for issues to be resolved and any unwanted behaviours to be called out. The intern has a chance to alter their actions and work towards the goals. Often this will be their first role, they will make mistakes so be honest with them and provide feedback. Giving feedback doesn’t have to be a difficult conversation.
- Provide a progress report on achieving goals
- Give observations of behaviour. This is why it is important to have a dedicated person managing the intern.
- Give examples of quality work and areas for improvement
- Ask how you can help them improve skills and behaviours
- Ask for feedback from the intern on how the experience is shaping up for them
Observing behaviour and measuring outcomes provides evidence to back up your feedback. If you don’t have an example, it is a less meaningful conversation.
The measure of your early talent programmes is in the future success of your business.
You may not be willing or able to offer your intern(s) a permanent role but they may apply for a job again in the future. The individual will be talking about your business. They will tell their family, friends, peers, future employer all about you. Interns are brand ambassadors whether you like it or not. If the experience isn’t positive, you can be sure they’ll tell more people about it. Interns provide a fresh perspective when they enter a business, make sure you utilise this extra resource fully.
We’ve moved on from asking interns to fetch coffee and run errands, interns today won’t put up with it. Planning and measuring is key to understanding the benefits of building a quality intern programme. Building a talent pipeline requires investment but the returns will be measured by the future success of your business.
lightbulb.coach specialises in providing coaching and development for people. Creating a bright future for our future workforce is our purpose. We aim to make coaching mainstream for young people and provide the tools and the guidance for businesses to do the same. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can help you set up the right environment for you future people. We offer coaching and training services too to fit your needs.