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5 Things to consider when onboarding an intern

Some tips to ensure your new graduate intern is productive and happy.

Don’t forget the basics

For many interns their internship is their first experience of working in a professional setting. There will be a lot of information to get over to them during their first few days, and it is easy to forget to mention things that you and your other employees take for granted. So it helps to make a list of all the basic topics of employment that should be covered with the intern at the beginning of their internship; schedule, hours and break arrangements, salary, expectations, meetings, dress code etc. 

Have a dedicated manager for the intern

Your intern needs someone to report to throughout the internship. This person will also be their mentor, as support and guidance is often much appreciated, especially at the beginning of the internship. They need to have regular meetings with the intern, give constructive feedback and plan ahead. Maintaining a good relationship with the intern is key for the success of the internship for both parties.

Treat interns like all the other employees

Interns have the potential to make an enormous difference, especially in a growing organisation. It is essential to treat your intern just like your full-time employees right from the beginning. Don’t be afraid to assign them important and progressively demanding work. Value their opinion and make them feel comfortable as part of your company by inviting them to attend meetings, encouraging participation in discussions and procedures and familiarising them with their colleagues’ tasks.

Make the experience valuable for them also

The interns are hired, not only to contribute to your organisation with fresh ideas, enthusiasm and new knowledge, but with a need to learn as well. There is no point in hiring an intern in order to perform menial tasks all day long. Instead, take some time to develop a training program covering the key skills that you want your intern to learn and deliver on, and revisit it for improvements during the period of the internship.

Give and receive feedback

Feedback is important throughout an internship to allow interns to do more of what they are doing well, and to improve their performance where necessary. It provides reassurance that their contribution is being noticed and provides guidance on, and insight into their working behaviour which is usually invaluable. At the end of the project a summary of how it’s gone is also a great resource for them, and you, to draw on later. 

What can easily be overlooked is asking for feedback from the intern. Interns can often provide a unique insight on your organisation and the things achieved throughout the internship. Asking for feedback will help you evaluate and improve your internships programme and you may gain a new perspective on your organisation that might surprise you!

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