How to Create a Valuable Summer Internship Program
Internships are an important part of any successful business. From rapid changes in technology to a competitive job market, it’s important for leaders to recognize the immense value interns can bring. Many industries today have gone digital and interns, especially interns freshly graduated from college, are the ones bringing organizations to a cutting-edge level. Interns adapt quickly to changing technologies and can offer new and innovative ideas in brainstorming meetings that have otherwise gone stagnant. Though interns are often willing to do menial work, it’s important to give them meaningful work that will both build their skills and lead to your company’s success. With proper mentorship and training, a summer intern or two can prove invaluable. Here are four ways to create a valuable internship program at your organization:
Provide mentorship and training. When training and mentoring an intern, you may be training a future employee. Statistics show that 80% of Fortune 500 companies hire full-time employees from their internship programs.
Prior to welcoming your intern, be sure to come up with a well thought out plan of tasks and responsibilities that match their skills and interests but one that will also prove valuable for the company. Instead of hiring them solely to make coffee and clean out cabinets, provide meaningful work, such as allowing them to draft a content strategy or support a training program for the latest technology in your office. These types of tasks will allow them to take ownership over a project and see to its completion.
Build community relationships. By hiring interns from local non-profits and colleges, you can start to build relationships with leaders who can assist you in the future to hire top talent. If the intern has a positive experience at your company, it is likely that they will share this experience with other students and peers, which can mean potential hires. Hiring locally can also help with building the local labor community and helping students get started in their careers.
Showcase your commitment to diversity and inclusion. Ensuring diversity and inclusion throughout your internship programs is one way companies can walk the talk toward diversity goals. New hires of different backgrounds, genders, and ages can provide fresh perspectives and ideas to established teams. Make it easy for interns to take part in networking events and employee resource groups. Leverage internal diversity initiatives to compete for and attract top diverse talent to stay in your company.
Give honest feedback. In addition to training and mentoring during the program, it’s important to give them honest feedback about how they are doing. This helps them to improve their skills and think about their experience at the company. As the internship draws to a close, it’s helpful to have the intern complete an exit interview or survey to get as much feedback from them as possible as well. Interns who leave a company after the program ends will likely be candid about their experience as they will feel less liability about sharing truthfully.
In today’s competitive job market, a valuable internship program can be a win-win for employers and job seekers alike. Not only do internship programs give recent graduates and job seekers the experience they need when they face the corporate world, but it also gives employers a chance to hire potential employees who will make a positive impact on their business through their fresh insight.
CoachDiversity Institute provides talent management and diversity and inclusion solutions to forward-thinking corporations, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and government entities. CoachDiversity prides itself on its diverse pool of highly experienced, certified coaches. No matter the size of your company, we are ready to design solutions to meet the needs of your workforce. Contact us today to learn more.