A great internship experience can transform the intern’s entire perspective and get him prepared for the future role whereas, a poor experience can make them wary of prospects. Organizations undertaking an internship program should take proper measures to ensure that the process provides an enriching experience. A successful internship program requires equal participation from the intern, as well as the managers, and other senior staff, managing the program.
According to 34% of college graduates, doing an internship has significantly impacted career directions and employment opportunities.
(National Association of Colleges and Employers)
Organizations running an internship program can benefit highly from a well-run program. It is beneficial because it provides:
- Low-cost resource
- Closes the skill gap
- Improves your tech and makes the organization social media savvy
A good internship program should offer students:
- A practical experience
- An opportunity to observe, and contribute to organizational growth
- Mentorship and networking opportunities, important career connections within the industry
- Chance of growth and advancement
- Formal training of a job role
- Cultural enhancement and skill development
Designing an internship program that is a great experience for both interns and employers makes it a success. Let’s look at the top few strategies for designing a solid internship program:
- Clear job description
Having a clearly defined job description attracts the right talent to the company. It should be specific, unambiguous, and define the expectations a company has from the intern. Students will do a much better job when they understand what is expected of them. It will enable them to accomplish clearly defined goals while being a major contributor to company projects.
- Appoint a program coordinator
A program coordinator is a go-to person in case of any confusion or queries regarding the program. This doesn’t even have to be a full-time position, but someone who can conduct the process well and can take time out of their other obligations.
- Establish a “buddy” system
Like it is often done with new hires, appoint a specific buddy to each intern or a group of interns who can guide them and make the process seamless. Assigning a mentor makes the environment more relaxed, and promotes professional growth and development. Workplace “buddies” can help them navigate the new waters and make the program more approachable and easy to accomplish.
- Conduct performance reviews
Regular performance reviews are important for employees as well as interns working with your organization. A good performance review should appreciate the performance and efforts put in by the intern, address the bottlenecks, as well as identify and brainstorm about the potential solution to the problem.
- Set goals
Setting specific goals that need to be accomplished post the completion of the program or at particular stages of the journey makes for a successful and productive stint. Interns know what is expected of them and work according to the prescribed timeline.
- Organize social gatherings
Plan fun social gatherings like game nights, dinner, etc. for your interns to mingle and meet other employees outside the office premises. This helps interns to know your office culture and also motivates them to do a good job. Participating in social gatherings gives them a chance to work together and fosters relationships.
- Show appreciation
Appreciating your employees will encourage and motivate them to perform well and excel at their job. Remember that they are just experiencing the workings of a corporate environment and might be intimidated. A little appreciation or praise for their efforts will go a long way in reinforcing faith.
- Seek feedback
Seeking feedback from interns will further improve your program and provide a more successful experience later. Getting the right feedback improves the entire program and makes the interns feel valued at the same time.
Building a strong internship program requires a lot of thought and hard work, and is an important step in facilitating success at your company. A good internship program establishes your brand in the industry, produces exemplary interns who can become future employees, and provides a great learning experience to the interns and the management alike.