Ask An HR Expert: How Do I Create A Successful Internship Program?
Contributed By: The Tandem Family of Companies
An internship program is a big responsibility for both the organization and also the interns themselves. Here are three tips to create a successful internship program for both your company and potential interns.
Tip #1: Have an organizational agreement.
What is the purpose of your internship program? What objectives do you want to meet through the program? Where do you need them and for how long? What tasks are they going to do? You have to make sure that the organization agrees to this before you even consider bringing on an intern or an internship program.
You want to create a plan for your internship program. Without a plan, it will not be successful.
Tip #2: While interns are generally assigned to a specific department and will naturally have tasks within those departments, it’s important they have exposure to your entire organization.
Build into your plan time for them to shadow other departments. Interns eventually leave and talk about your organization to their future employers. You want to make a good impression and expose them to all the areas of jurisdiction in your company. The goal is that by the end of the internship they have a full grasp of your business as a whole, so when they talk about your company they really understand and know what they’re speaking about.
Interns will make great marketers if done right. Sometimes, companies don’t invest the effort to truly engage and teach their interns. A common mistake is people hire interns just to file or answer the phones. They bring them in to fill in an area that is not something that’s going to be valuable to both the organization and the interns.
The key if you’re creating an internship program, is to make sure that the time the intern spends with you is valuable and that they actually learn through this process.
Tip #3: Another important component of a successful internship program is that the interns have a point person.
Someone who is designated for these interns if they have questions or concerns. This point person should have a good understanding of the full internship program and each individual’s objectives. As a result, this person should be a mentor to these interns throughout the program.
Danielle Ozer (dozer@BSGInfo.com) is the Executive Vice President of Brokerage Services at the Tandem Family of Companies. The Tandem Family of Companies consists of Tandem HR (HR outsourcing solutions), Benefits Solutions Group (benefits brokerage), Workplace Solutions (Employee Assistance Program) and Alliance Workplace Solutions (voluntary benefits). TFC has been providing custom HR solutions to businesses of all sizes since 1998.