It’s summer break for college students, and that means your office may welcome the arrival of a new crop of summer interns.
If you’re in an office where interns aren’t present two-thirds of the year, it can be a tough adjustment to manage an intern during your already busy schedule. While it takes some work to manage interns, studies show that it’s worth the effort.
Good management and a positive approach to working with summer interns can lead to increased productivity for your company, as well as a crucial experience for the intern and a potential future employee who understands the ins and outs of your company.
Managing Your Summer Intern
It’s important to make your interns feel welcome, like they’re an important part of the team, and to give them projects they can work on just like the rest of the team. In Inc., Johnathan Lacoste, co-founder and president of data platform company Jebbit, offers seven great tips on how you can best manage your summer interns.
1. Give Them a Good Welcome
First impressions are everything. When you’re welcoming interns to your organization, you want them to feel comfortable and valued. Many interns are nervous and feel out of place during their first day, so it’s important to show them around, give them a clean, spacious desk and get them accustomed to their duties.
2. Treat Them Like Full Time Employees
Interns may not be earning a salary and benefits like your co-workers but they deserve the same respect. Interns may be utilized for more than just delivering coffee or making photo copies. Perhaps you can even consider a more creative title than intern, such as adding “assistant” to whatever department the intern will work in, like marketing assistant.
3. Encourage Them to Problem-Solve
Working in a new place can be daunting, especially as an intern trying to learn your company’s processes. But once they’re onboarded and getting the hang of the daily routine, you should encourage them to work on their problem-solving, leadership and critical thinking. If your company will hire these interns in the future, these skills are crucial to have.
4. Challenge Them with New Projects and Tasks
If you want to get the most out of your summer interns, it’s best to assign a variety of tasks, rather than repeating the same tasks. Let them get involved with some of the tasks you do, and ask them to give input on projects. You can even assign some projects to them to see how they respond to a bigger work load. You never know what you’ll both learn.
5. Encourage Questions
When working with interns, it’s important to foster an open environment where they feel comfortable and will look to you for help solving problems and working on assignments. If you encourage your interns to ask questions, they’ll learn quicker and be sure to complete their project correctly.
6. Schedule Regular Check-Ins and Provide Feedback
While this is a good tip for any manager and their employees, it is even more important for working with interns. Internships are often a person’s first office job, so having regular check-ins to see how they are doing and providing feedback will help them adjust to the job at hand faster, and make them feel more like a member of the team.
7. Rewards and Compensation
It may not always be possible to pay interns, but offering a stipend to be able to live in your city for the summer and some extra money for food is a great incentive to attract the best college students or recent graduates. In addition, tokens of appreciation like taking a group of interns to lunch, providing letters of recommendation or offering resume advice can make a difference as interns prepare to join the work force.
Learn More About How to Manage Summer Interns
As you advance your career, you’re likely to move into a role that will include managing summer interns. Learn more about successful management techniques with Alvernia University’s online MBA. We offer a flexible, convenient fully online MBA program, teaching you the skills you need to succeed in the future. You can complete this degree in as little as one year, learning where and when you want.