Building your Internship – Getting Started on the Right Foot (Part 4 of 6)

In parts 1, 2 & 3, you determined your organization’s goals for the internship program, outlined the duties and requirements of your intern, clarified the structure of the internship position(s), decided how you will compensate your interns, and learned how to recruit interns. Today’s post will focus on the next steps, getting ready for their arrival and starting on the right foot.

Prepare the Team
Back in Part 1, you also determined the departments and the supervisors that would be working with the interns, and gave them the opportunity to establish goals. Now that the big day has arrived, everyone invested in your internship program should have a clear understand not only of the topics discussed in Part 1 (here’s a refresher, if you need it) but also how these topics will translate to a typical work day for the intern. This could take the shape of an outline, a handbook, a list, or even simply through conversations with one another.

Supervisors should be prepared to welcome the interns and offer clear, relevant expectations. I also recommend a review of this article by Small Business Trends, specifically Section A for “Authentically Mentor and Coach Your Intern.”

Prepare the Space
Ask yourself a quick question – where will the interns be physically located during their tenure?  If that space (and equipment ) is accessible for them starting on day one, they will immediately feel like they belong (and like their new employer is on top of things)!

Welcome!
Sounds simple enough, right?  Granted, bringing a new body into your work space can be stressful and even nerve-wracking, but I promise you that they are more nervous than you are. Take a moment to look them in the eye, shake their hand and let them know you’re happy they’re here (or that you’re glad to see them…or that you’re excited to work together. Whatever language is the most genuine for you).

Also, keep the rest of the team informed about their arrival. While not everyone will be working closely with the intern, they should at least know about the newcomer, and be prepared to introduce themselves as well. If their new cubicle buddy looks surprised to see them and clearly hasn’t tidied up their half of the desk, the intern will notice, and will likely not feel too good about it.

Help them get connected
The larger your team of interns, the more creative you can get in this area. Facebook and LinkedIn groups? Evening socials?  Weekend service days? Themed days in the office?  Book clubs? Coffee breaks?  The list of things you can schedule for the team is endless.

Coming up in Part 5: Evaluating Performance and Concluding the internship.

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