Tips for Managing Interns
Be clear about expectations upfront and provide constant feedback during the internship.
Both employers and interns benefit when the intern's work assignment is well planned and when managers provide constant feedback, while the intern is working on the project and when it is complete. Read more on What Is/Is Not an Intern? »
- Create a formal internship description that simulates an actual job.
- Define clear beginning and end dates, and allow students to work a significant amount of time (10-20 hours a week), but with consideration for the student's class schedule.
- Establish in writing an agreement between the organization and the intern regarding expectations, responsibilities, evaluation, resources, learning goals, supervision, work schedule, duration and wage.
Introducing your intern to your network is one of the valuable things you can offer.
An added benefit for interns is developing professional networks in their career field of interest. Employers should strive to introduce interns to colleagues, business associates, customers and suppliers. Employers should include interns in at least a few internal and external meetings.
Once you get an intern on board, help them get acclimated.
As you would with any new hire, it is important to provide your new intern with the opportunity to get acclimated to your work environment. Probably the most important thing to do is to make the intern feel like a "real" employee. Here are some other things to consider:
- Select a work area and dedicate equipment for the intern; arrange for training on computer systems, phone systems and other equipment. Don't forget that it is important to determine the level of training that will be required and who will deliver the training.
- Arrange for any security badges, computer access, email accounts, internal phone directory listings or internal mail delivery that may be needed for the intern's productivity.
- Educate the assigned employee-mentor on his or her interaction with the intern and set expectations for the mentoring relationship.
- Take the intern on a tour of the facilities and facilitate staff introductions.
- Share the organization's mission and goals; consider using your existing new hire materials to acquaint the intern to your organization.
- Provide the intern with information on policies and procedures (formal and informal), including information on expected work attire and behavior.
- If you have trade secrets or other proprietary or confidential information, it is appropriate to have the intern sign a confidentiality agreement at the start of the internship.
Want to learn more?
Check out the Columbus Chamber’s events page (search “Interns”) for upcoming informational workshops and webinars to help you get the most from your internship program. One of the most popular workshops, titled, “How to Host an Intern,” features a panel of employers (now internship experts) who answer questions, share best practices and outline the process of achieving outstanding internship experiences that benefit both them (the employer) and the student intern. Workshops and webinars are free for members of the Columbus Chamber and cost $25 for non-members.