An internship hire is a mutually beneficial arrangement that enables you to enjoy additional help on the job while an eager budding professional learns valuable skills and enhances their résumé. While many internships simply run their course and are terminated after the agreed-upon time frame, some interns ultimately become full-time employees and even work their way up to leadership roles. This natural progression can save you a fortune on recruitment costs and generate employees who are truly motivated and willing to learn.
But how do you cultivate a workplace environment in which interns are able to grow into valuable employees. Consider the following tips.
- Assign a Mentor
According to Allied Wallet marketing director AJ Almeda, “Give your intern a top-performing talent to shadow. Plan to have the employee explain and delegate tasks to them so they get direct hands-on experience assisting.”
It makes sense. The purpose of an internship is to educate the intern and expose them to real workplace tasks. The most effective way to do this is by enabling them to work directly with a mentor in the company who’s already experienced and knowledgeable. The right mentor can help shape the intern into a potential long-term employee.
- Give Them a Purpose
One of the biggest mistakes that employers make with interns is to give them assignments that have no real bearing on the company’s objectives. The purpose of an internship is to immerse the intern in a real working environment. Don’t simply give them busy work or offer them assignments based on teaching exercises. Get them involved in an actual project, tell them what they’re working on, and make sure they truly understand what role they are serving and how it affects the project as a whole.
Not only will this provide a much richer educational experience, but it will provide an invaluable sense of perspective. The intern will truly understand that their work matters, and they will be motivated to learn more and to grow within their role. And when that happens…
- Grow Their Skills
It’s important to keep a close eye on your interns’ progress. Determine their strengths and weaknesses. As they become comfortable in one area of the job, raise the stakes. Train them up in new areas and see how they perform when tasked with greater challenges. This will help you to distinguish the interns with long-term career potential and will also ensure an easy, fluid transition as they evolve into their full-time role within the company.
Villaway CEO Joe Liebke puts it this way: “Always give them training so they can make meaningful contributions. If they’re a computer science major, assign them Codecademy courses. If they are a graphic designer, have them complete Lynda trainings in design basics.”
If you provide real value for your interns, they will provide long-term value for your business.