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Let them shine
Doing menial tasks and boring checklist-type activities hardly qualifies as meaningful intern experience. Interns should be encouraged to utilize their base of current knowledge, not to mention their fresh ideas. You want their creativity and a diversity of opinion. You want their innovative solutions. You need to give them the opportunity to make a positive impact on your company. Internships should be a learning experience for both parties. If you stifle your interns, you’re depriving yourself of the potential to experience beneficial breakthroughs.
Open up the networking doors
What can you provide for your interns outside the office? Meetings, seminars, and work related events should be part of the package of options you offer. Building a network is very important to soon-to-be grads just starting their careers. They’re looking to meet people who can help them on their journey to career success and provide mentoring and real-world education. If you’re not grooming them for a position at your company, make sure they can finish their internship with meaningful leads and job prospects. Encourage them to explore their future.
Let them set the terms
Interns shouldn’t be burdened with the weight of your employees’ responsibilities. They should be there to help, learn, and contribute their unique ideas. Give them as much flexibility as you can. Whether they’re currently in college or they’re recent grads, there’s a lot going on in their lives. Don’t micromanage. Give them tasks, and allow them to complete those tasks how they desire, so long as everything is completed by the expected deadline. They need a balance between their internship and their life. Don’t suffocate them.
You’re probably familiar with the popular stereotypes on TV and in movies, where interns are treated like overworked servants. You need to ensure your interns finish their internship happier than they were when they started. Remember that positive intern experiences can lead to these people recommending your company to their colleagues who are looking for internships.
Jayne Blake works as a Communications Manager at Prospa Small Business Loans, Australia’s largest online business lender. She is interested in new marketing strategies and leadership trends.