As the summer gets underway, thousands of interns will soon be flooding offices all over the country in an effort to build up their resumes and gain valuable work experience. Even the most effective business leaders can be caught off-guard with little experience on how to effectively train and manage summer interns. Here are few tips to help make the transition and entire experience easier for everyone:
CONDUCT AN ORIENTATION: It is crucial to set expectations from the very beginning. Blocking out time to discuss department goals, rules of conduct, and specific responsibilities can go a long way in ensuring that the experience is positive for both the manager and the intern.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP: Even the most confident manager can struggle when dealing with guiding interns for the first time. If the process is not going as smoothly as expected, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Older mentors or bosses can be an invaluable resource for intern managers struggling to reach goals.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE, NOT JUST WORDS Young interns are especially impressionable. Don’t ever forget that this person is looking to you, their manager, to set the department expectations and lead with actions and not just empty words. It is especially important to remember that your job as a manager is to build up confidence in your young protege and set this person up for success as they continue to educate themselves and climb the corporate ladder.
SOLICIT THE INTERN FOR INPUT: Set your intern up for success by directly asking them for input on working styles, goal expectations, and more. Paying particularly close attention to the preferred communication style of the intern will help to ensure that no lines are crossed and that the expectations are clearly laid out.
PUT EVERYTHING IN WRITING: It is critical to remember that this may be the first formal work experience for the intern. Regardless of their level of skill or knowledge, providing detailed written instructions each week will provide a clear and direct line of communication of guided expectations. Detailing due dates and level of priority will not only provide strong guidance, but it will also give the intern satisfaction to cross off to-do items.