How to Deal with Ungrateful Intern

October 23, 20193:28 pm3002 views

The first time you met him in the interview session, he seemed nice and polite. The next day you talked to him in the second interview with the manager, he showed his diligent side and creativity. The third time you met him on 7-days working trial, he represented the kind of candidates you were looking for, thus, you hired him for a full-time intern position at the company. But surprisingly, after a month of working with you, he started to behave unfriendly, complain a lot, and ask for so many changes around the office. He is just SIMPLY an ungrateful intern.

Interns can be a valuable asset for a company when their hard work reflects your company’s mission and value. Especially, if their skills, attitude, and characteristic reflect greatly your company culture, the intern could probably be your next top performer in achieving a higher level in the business industry.

See also: Paid vs. Unpaid Internship: What You Should Know before Applying Internship Program

However, if the intern does not possess all of that and instead, they become a “poison” in your office, you should be careful because one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel. Hence, if you find this kind of ungrateful intern, here are three stages on how to deal with them.

Reflect, plan and prepare

Before complaining, ask yourself whether you have given the intern enough information they need or not. The information should include his job role, company culture, who to contact during an emergency, and any tools needed for his job. This will look like an onboarding program but for an intern. Giving all the necessary in the first place will save you time and energy.

Likewise, employer should also reflect on themselves whether they have been “exploiting” the intern or not. In this case, you can ask opinions from other staff or departments whether your code-of-conduct for an intern is violating the intern’s rights or not. For instance, hiring an unpaid intern position could be considered as exploitation in most cases, you should have made it clear since the first time you hire them. Paying too little is also considered bad, thus, you should understand internship policy before hiring ones.

Make the intern understand about company culture

This stage is a suitable practice when your intern is a chronic complainer. 

For example, the intern complains a lot, saying “I think the workspace is too old and uncreative, we should change it. I think the meeting takes too long. This and that has a problem, we should rework on it.”

Having suggestions to what needs to be changed can show the intern’s enthusiasm towards the company. Their willingness to share ideas and opinions can also be a good initiative from them.  However, if your intern is a chronic complainer, it can be exhausting for you and distract your and/or the overall team’s wellbeing.  

Therefore, it is necessary to give understanding to new interns about the company culture and why things are designed in such way. Invite them to one-on-one and give proper explanation about those matters. This will likely help them change their behaviour in the workplace without damaging his reputation around the team or other interns.

When everything does not work –

If the ungrateful behaviour of the intern stays and even starts affecting other interns which then influences the whole teamwork culture, it can be considered as an acute case. In this stage, you should consider to terminate him because the negative effect can eventually downgrade your business reputation. Consider removing him from your team and program. Such an intern can be included in your blacklist, hence, you will never have to hire them again.

Read also: Does it Make Sense to Do an Internship after Graduation?

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