Across all industries and geographic areas, young professionals are transitioning from student to intern. Summer internships are a major recruiting tool for many companies as they provide exposure and experience to young professionals looking to start their career.
For many interns, the stress of joining a summer program can turn this critical development experience into a Hunger Games style battle of the interns. If you manage interns, considering this fear and addressing it directly can create a work experience will leave a lasting and positive impression on your interns. When executed well, this impression leads to a brand loyalty that can support your organization in years to come.
We understand that time is at a premium during these programs. That said, here are four quick things you can do to integrate your summer interns into your organization and make sure their experience moves from Hunger Games to Happy Days!
1. Talk Big Picture
When appropriate, share the organization's goals and vision. Millennials, in particular, like to be a part of something bigger than themselves and sharing even a small portion of the strategy for your team or company is a great way to make them feel as though they are "part of something" with immediacy. Increasing this sense of relatedness will help reduce the stress of competitiveness and increase collaboration.
2. Create Certainty
Share the expectations that you or the organization has with the interns. Share early and share often! Orientations are a great place to roll out these expectations but we have all experienced "orientation fog" at some point so please, don't stop there! Being purposeful and consistent with the expectations you have set will create certainty around what interns need to do to succeed. Think of this as providing a roadmap to success.
3. Ask & Listen
Do you know why your interns are at your organization? Do you know where they hope to take their career in the next five years? If you don't, or if your answers are generic, ask them! Investing a small amount of time in this line of questioning can pay dividends when it comes to the investment that your interns will make with you over the summer and when they return to their educational institution.
4. Give Ownership
Now that your interns understand the big picture, know what you expect of them, and know that you are invested in them it's time to hand over control. By engaging in these actions you have created a cheerleader for your organization. Let them know exactly what you want from them in this capacity as well. Do you want to recruit more students from their school? Are you looking to find students for the Fall with a similar work ethic and interest set? Empower your interns to go back to their school or socials group and share the good word that working at your organization is where its at!