With the season of summer internship, colleges are approaching companies to given their ambitious students an opportunity to work on internship projects. Most of the companies think interns are the extra hands they would get to complete their task faster. The students get experience and opportunity to complete their academic internship program. The company gets interns for a short duration at low or no cost. Also these interns could possibly be your future hire.
Yes, it is enticing to offer internship programs, however managing and leveraging their capabilities is important. Companies must design an effective internship programs to generate value for their time.
Prior to hiring interns companies must do a quick homework on how and where to fit the interns to maximize the benefits.
First and foremost identify the need for internship programs. Question yourself. Don’t just hire interns as fillers to your task for couple of months. Have a defined objective and leverage their potential. They are the Gen Y-ers who are here to complete their academic semester and looking forward to join the workforce soon. The internship program is professional development opportunity for them. Give them that experience and get the best out of them.
Plan your project even before hiring interns.
Are you looking at them for a specific project, or expecting them to do a basic analysis / survey which might be your kick start activity for a new project. The objective could be anything, what is required is an effective planning. Design a preliminary activity list to give them focused and purposeful roles to keep them motivated. This will go a long way to set your expectations and measure outcomes.
Training & Mentoring
Remember, interns need to be trained and supervised. They would never know what and how to do a particular activity unless you define it. Training and mentoring would take your significant time, but to generate value from the program you must plan your training before allocating activities.
Interns should be told the seriousness and importance of the project they are working on and the value it added to the entire team. Make them a part of your daily / weekly meetings. Set some time to discuss their project status, challenges they are facing and assist them to get to their goals. Encourage them to share their ideas, suggestions and views. Their participation will motivate them to deliver the desired results.
A final note, interns would play an important role and contribute significantly to the business provided companies plan and execute their internship programs successfully.