Having a summer intern can be a fun and insightful experience.
By Cassie Yatcilla
The definition of internship, according to Dictionary.com, is any official or formal program to provide practical experience for beginners in an occupation or profession. But summer internships aren’t always like the movies. It can easily become an unfulfilling experience for both your company and the intern. However, we will discuss how having a summer intern can be a fun and insightful experience for both parties. Although it may seem cliché, interns can really bring a new perspective to your team and can pump-up morale. Here are ways to make the experience awesome.
Make it multi-departmental.
Whether your company has just three employees or one hundred, each person or department oversees something different that is integral to the company. It is important to make sure that your intern meets each different department or individual to further expand their knowledge of what makes a company run. This is because they most likely do not know what they want to do when they grow up and this insight can help them forge their career path. Not only is it great for the intern, but it can also bring departments or individuals who don’t generally work with one another together.
You can give the intern a lot of experience and reconnect departments or people that rarely work together. This can open a pathway of communication between people and allow for more collaborative and creative ideas that will ultimately help the company.
Create an intern project.
This project should be the pinnacle of the internship. This is what your intern will put on their resume, so you want to make it worth everyone’s time. Use this project to uncover an issue or expand on an idea your company has had, but hasn’t had time to implement. For example, if you want to find a new way to promote an item or imagine an additional service or product your company can offer, now is the time. Nothing is better than a fresh look on your company from an outsider. Also, since they are generally younger they often bring new perspective to companies and know how to target the next generation of people with income.
Make it a collaborative project with all your interns so they can garner new friendships and learn how to collaborate in a work environment. Also, be sure that this project isn’t overwhelming for you and the interns. Allot plenty of time for the intern(s) to work on this project, as well as help in their department they are interested in. This will create a great learning environment pay off for both parties.
Assign them a “buddy”.
Entering a company as the intern can be a scary feat. What’s scarier? Not having anyone to lead them. The worst thing would be to have a bored intern. They want to learn and you didn’t hire them to sit there! The best way to make it an enjoyable internship would be to assign them a “buddy”. This will be the intern’s go-to contact with any questions he/she has. The buddy should arrange a lunch with the intern or the team the first week of the internship to build the relationship between them. If there are multiple interns and buddies, there should also be a communal outing between the bunch.
The buddy should also be the one to introduce the intern to other people and/or departments in the company and should set up one-on-ones with buddies from other departments or departmental managers to gain further insight into the company. The buddy should also hold weekly or biweekly one-on-ones between them and the intern to make sure that they are on schedule with the intern project and are also fulfilling the obligation of the department or person they are reporting to.
The internship is over. Now what?
I hope your company and the intern(s) had a wonderful and fulfilling experience that was beneficial and worthwhile. If your intern was great but you can’t hire him/her, be sure to be a reference for their resume and keep an eye out for leads in the area. However, the internship may lead to an amazing hire!
Cassie Yatcilla is the Marketing Assistant at PrimePay, a nationwide payroll provider. Graduating with a degree in Advertising and Psych, she likes to understand what makes people act in the ways that they do. With her background in qualitative research, Cassie enjoys taking data and turning it into stories that anyone can understand. Outside of work, you can find Cassie paddleboarding or sailing with her Golden Retriever, Hobie.