As the current year draws to a close, we begin to think about the upcoming year ahead and what that might demand for our businesses. A common consideration for businesses is the potential to hire an intern. An internship is typically a short term relationship between college students and an organization. The internship consists of an exchange of temporary services for experience between the intern and the organization. Internships can be a positive or negative experience, for the intern as well as the organization.
Let us consider the following four points in turn on how to maximize the benefit of an internship.
1) Interns are valuable –
Interns are human, value them as humans. It is one thought to have an intern help you with menial tasks such as making copies, getting coffee or filing documents, but the task you expect them to complete will directly dictate their feeling of self-worth and their contribution to your company. Try to create an environment where the intern is contributing to basic tasks in an efficient manner, but also feel they have the chance to make a difference.
2) Educate them on real job functions –
Interns usually do not have real life practical experience. The internship is a great way to teach them processes and real world application of the information they have only read in textbooks. The ability to correlate what they have been taught in a school learning environment and how to apply it in the workforce will help the intern and the organization. The intern will benefit from learning the process and job skills, while the organization will benefit from a fresh perspective of someone new to the organization.
3) Treat them like real employees –
Interns should be considered part of the team. Regardless of the title given to a person within the organization they should be treated as a real employee. The length of the internship may be predetermined but the intern should adhere to the same rules, policies and procedures as everyone throughout the organization. Additionally, the staff that is in charge of managing the intern has an opportunity to use the organizations resources to lead and improve on their delegation abilities through the internship. The intern should be seen as a respected employee within the company.
4) Create value beyond work experiences –
Interns are looking for job training in a specific industry that will allow them to make a decision if that industry is right for them. The short term relationship will be able to give the intern feedback on work performance but also suggest ways to improve resume, develop work ethic, understand professional culture, comprehend community impact and help shape them into future employees, if not for your organization, another. An organization has the ability to provide this feedback and also potentially hire this trained intern.
At the end of the internship, a job is not always guaranteed for the intern. However, by keeping these four points in mind it will create a beneficial experience for the intern and the organization during their time together. Add value to the intern and in return have them create value for your organization.
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