Creating internships are a great way to build your organization’s talent pipeline, while also lowering your turnover rates and recruiting costs. But how do you, as an employer, create a valuable internship experience? There are many ways employers can ensure this goal is met for their student interns and that they enjoy the experience. To help you out, here are the top 9 things employers can do to create valuable internship experiences.
- Give us real work
Interns want to learn and contribute. They can help accomplish assignments and projects that might not get accomplished otherwise.
- Do what you say & say what you do
Be intentional and honest with your interns about what they can expect during their internship in terms of scope of work, training, and support and back it up with action. This will improve the experience for your intern and build your brand to recruit future ones.
- We like feedback
Interns want to develop professionally and meet your expectations. Providing constructive feedback and taking time for teachable moments helps them learn and grow.
- We want to be included
Create a sense of belongingness for your interns by including them in staff meetings. Can they tag along to that next project meeting or have lunch with a group of colleagues in the office? Integration will help them feel more valued and a part of the organization.
- Take time to explain
Remember that interns are new professionals and often need more context and detailed explanation on the how’s and why’s of the work.
- We want a mentor.
Research shows that mentorship makes a difference with interns. Consider assigning a mentor in the organization that is not the intern’s supervisor who can help integrate and answer questions they may be too timid to ask about.
- Be intentional & prepared
Take the time to write an on-boarding plan for your intern to help them integrate into the organization quickly and so they feel comfortable and valued as a new member of your team.
- Make space for us (literally)
Don’t forget to include in your planning that your intern will need a chair, desk, phone, computer and a space of their own. Support them by having this ready before they start.
- Show us the money (as best you can)
While each industry and internship are different, paying interns is critical in providing a good experience (and essential for pipeline recruitment). In addition to paying an hourly wage, consider other ways to ease financial burdens of your interns such as parking, housing, or even a free lunch now and again.
By implementing these practices into your company’s internship structure, the students you hire are sure to gain valuable experience and memories that will stick with them for the rest of their careers. Want more resources and hints for building a great internship experience? Check out UNL Career Services Internship Toolkit to learn more about how to get started.