6 Steps to Creating a Winning Internship Program

Research from Zippa reveals that 300,000 people complete internships every year. Of those, nearly 70% go on to work for the same company they interned for. Indeed, there are many benefits to offering internships, provided you have a solid program. You need to get ready right now for summer placements, and here are a few tips that will help you get started.

#1. Select Interns Carefully

A great internship program begins with a thorough selection process. Have candidates go through an application and job interview just as you would with any new hire. This will ensure you find those who are a good fit and hopefully ones you will feel comfortable enough hiring on once the internship period is over.

#2. Provide a Comprehensive Job Description

What is your reason for offering this opportunity in the first place? Think about what you are trying to accomplish and then develop a comprehensive job description based on those goals. Remember that while you are being selective, so are those applying to your program. Being able to show candidates a job description will make the best ones feel more comfortable choosing you as well.

#3. Don’t Skip Orientation

Ensure your intern gets off to a great start by providing orientation just like you would for an employee. This serves several purposes:

  • Making the intern feel welcome and a part of the team
  • Establishing expectations
  • Providing any required safety information
  • Streamlining the process whenever your intern is (hopefully) hired permanently
  • Allowing a platform for your new intern to ask any questions

Once you’ve finished with orientation, assign a mentor to oversee your trainee. Choose someone who is both knowledgeable and approachable to help develop this new person’s skills. Then check in with the mentor from time to time in order to assess how things are going.

#4. Allow your Intern to Perform Meaningful Work

Using your intern for mundane tasks such as filing, making copies, or answering the telephone is tempting. While it’s fine to have a novice help out with little things, you should also ensure that person is engaged in meaningful work as well. Remember that the intern is looking for valuable experience to put on a resume. Those who feel like they are contributing are more apt to stick with your program and recommend it to others.

#5. Give Constructive Feedback as Needed

As the internship progresses, don’t forget to occasionally provide constructive feedback. Schedule periodic evaluations such as near the beginning, middle, and end of the program where you can discuss the intern’s progress. Give guidance on how that person might improve in certain areas, and be sure to talk about the things your trainee is excelling at, as well.

#6. Show your Appreciation

The vast majority of internships are unpaid. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways in which you can show your appreciation. Let people know when they have done a great job by giving compliments and saying “thank you” whenever appropriate.

Be especially mindful of expressing gratitude to those who aren’t staying on after the program is over. Send those individuals off with a letter of recommendation, certificate of appreciation, or even some company swag if available.

Concentrate on Internships and Leave the HR Tasks to Us

You’ll have more time to oversee an internship program when you are not bogged down with unnecessary details. Accordingly, partnering with us for all your HR needs only makes sense. Want to streamline your operations so you can offer a more effective summer program? Then contact Abel HR today to get started.