7 Best Practices for a Successful Internship Programme
The time to full productivity metric measures the time taken for new hires to contribute to an organization. Although interns contribute differently to an organization, they still require training and mentoring from other employees. Hence, a good on-boarding program is crucial for ensuring that interns have a fruitful internship experience. Along with this, a good internship program can be used as a pipeline for organizations to particularly promising candidates.
Here are 7 ways to ensure the success of your organization’s internship program.
1) Organizing Briefing Sessions
A well planned onboarding program should address all pertinent issues that interns generally face during their first few weeks of joining the organization. HR professionals can help smoothen this process by organizing a briefing session several days before the interns officially join the organization.
During this session, interns should be encouraged to speak up and address any issues or concerns that they may have. Here, HR professionals can outline particular issues like dress code, working hours, HR policies and other work-related matters.
This allows interns to get to know their colleagues better and also reduce stress and anxiety prior to joining the organization.
2) Dealing With Administrative Issues
Nothing is more intimidating (or tedious) than showing up for the first day of work only to be confronted with stacks of forms to be filled up. Instead of having interns fill up their documents on the first day of work, e-mail all necessary documents over once interns have signed their contract.
Also, ensure that workstations are prepared early on for interns and all of the necessary accounts have been created. Not only does this reflect well on an organization, but also ensures that little to no time is wasted setting up workstations and login accounts.
Dealing with all of this ahead of time ensures that interns are less overwhelmed on their first day of work, and more receptive to learning.
3) Have an Onboarding Checklist
Preparing a checklist for items and equipment needed by interns is one of the most effective onboarding practices. The checklist should outline a list of documents and items needed before, during and after the internship which allows interns to prepare the necessary documentation needed.
A good onboarding checklist should also contain a guide which details all of the organization’s policies and guidelines which acclimatizes them to the work culture of the organization.
4) Conducting Exit Interviews
One of the best ways to for an organization to improve itself is by receiving constructive criticism. At the end of the internship, HR professionals should conduct exit interviews and have interns fill up surveys in order to identify how the internship program can be further improved.
Along with this, anonymous survey forms allow interns to rate their overall experience with the program and provide their opinions on the organization and its members. All of this information is crucial for HR professionals to identify the strengths and weakness of the internship program. Hence, this forms the groundwork for further continuous improvement.
5) Hiring a Dedicated Intern Manager
Often, most employees are too caught up with work to be able to spend time patiently teaching interns. The organization’s HR department can opt to have a dedicated intern manager or gatekeeper who liaises with various departments to organize work projects for these interns.
The intern manager functions by ensuring that interns are utilized to their fullest potential for the entire duration of the internship. He/she will work with managers in other departments to identify areas or projects where interns can contribute successfully to the organization.
Hence, this ensures that employees are not overwhelmed by their existing work responsibilities along with the new responsibility of managing interns.
6) Having Regular Follow-Ups and Reviews
Another great way to ensure that your internship program is a success is by conducting regular follow-up and review sessions with your interns. Not only is this a useful means of engaging with interns, but it also ensures that all of the program’s objectives are met.
For example, should an intern feel that he/she is being underutilized and frustrated, these follow-up sessions allow the intern manager to take any corrective action or provide the necessary counselling to said intern.
By continually monitoring the progress of interns and regularly following up with them, this inculcates a sense of belonging and allows HR professionals to follow up with any issues related to the internship program.
7) Assigning Interns with Real Work Assignments
One of the benefits of hiring interns is their ability to bring a fresh perspective to the table. Hence, instead of squandering their talents on menial, repetitive tasks, interns can be put to good use working on short-term projects in the organization or even providing a helping hand to ongoing work assignments.
For example, Company A is planning to showcase their range of products and services at an upcoming trade fair. Rather than hiring part-time promoters, the business development manager opted to make use of his interns. They were assigned with the task of manning the booth at the trade fair and entertaining various visitors. This initiative was a success as the interns were eager to demonstrate their skills and knowledge acquired from Company A. Along with this, their infectious enthusiasm was a hit with visitors who were more used to dealing with underpaid and overworked promoters.
Hence, while interns may lack skills that a full employee may have, their enthusiasm and flexibility can be of a great use to bolster any short-term projects the organization may have.
These 7 steps are just some of the many ways in which HR professionals can implement a good on-boarding program for interns.
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