Students are increasingly aware of the benefits of doing an internship and are enthusiastic about it. As a business leader, you may know that while having interns on your team can help business operations, managing them can be a tough challenge. Interns are longing for real hands-on work experience but, at the same time, not having solid expertise in the department they are interning for.
Interns are, in fact, potential future assets for a company. Many companies favor young talents, and in today’s job market, employers are seeking the best young talents to train and retain. Having an enjoyable and productive internship program will help students gain experience, understand the scope of their talents, develop various skill sets, and, to the advantage of the company, employer branding. Here is a quick HR Guide in managing interns.
1 . Prepare Early
If you want to have a culture of transparency, start right from the beginning. Even though interns will only be staying for a couple of months or even weeks, they deserve to receive adequate information about your company and how the business operation is. One of the most common issues with managing interns is poor communication that roots in a lack of preparation. Ineffective mentorship is the result of a lack of preparation, which may occur as the person in charge of the interns having to manage main duties at work as well. To solve this, HR managers should ensure that the intern’s mentor is prepared for the position.
2 . Take Mentorship Seriously
It is difficult for the appointed mentor to manage one or more interns while still doing their main tasks. In this case, you may need to assign at least two mentors to ensure that the workload is well-managed. The company may look for fresh talent, but it should not let its present employees suffer. This is a sign that your company takes mentorship seriously but still manages to keep employees’ wellbeing intact.
Another way of taking mentorship seriously is giving interns a reward, such as offering a full-time job opportunity. Although they are doing internships at the company for a limited time, this does not mean that they should leave empty-handed. It is a good idea to discuss with the person in charge of assigning work to interns about the possibilities of developing future talent for the company. Have a discussion about making a program where the company can scout the potential of interns while also providing a useful experience for them when coming back to college.
3 . Cultivate Sense of Belonging
Internship may be temporary and interns are not expected to fully assimilate with the company culture, but you need to treat them as part of the team. This means that leaders should not get too distant just because you know they are only here for the short run. Instead, let them feel accepted, even if it is only for a few months. Allow interns to not only feel as a part of a company but also to understand that their ideas may make a difference. Encourage interns to participate in meetings, be a part of a project, and discuss with the rest of the team to share ideas and actively bring forward proposals. Discuss with the interns’ supervisor and make a list of tasks that the interns are qualified for.
As an HR manager, you would need to keep track of interns’ jobs because in some cases, their academic supervisor would visit the company and discuss with you about their performance. In addition, it will be good if HR can arrange a regular short discussion with both the mentors and interns to discuss the current progress and issues faced. Scheduling a weekly session would be enough. Through the discussion, HR could sieve out the problems each side might be facing and devise solutions.
Managing interns can be exhausting but do take it as an opportunity to develop your leadership skills while growing potential future employees. Keep in mind that these students will be reflecting on the experience they had during the internship period. Thus, consider it also as an effort to increase employer branding for your company.