Are you thinking about implementing an internship program within your company? For soon-to-be or recent graduates, internships are becoming a vital part of transitioning into the professional world. An internship is described as a position where a student or trainee works in an organization to gain work experience or to satisfy requirements for a qualification. Internships can be a paid, unpaid or a credit-based position. Many schools will give academic credit for hours of an internship that are fulfilled. Creating any new role within a company is hard, work but creating an internship program is a whole different game.
Rule No.1: PLAN
Before you can begin the interview process, you must have a plan in mind. How long will this internship be? Will it be paid (this will be a question for HR specialist- The FLSA has some rules regarding pay)? Are you planning to hire full-time after competition of the internship? All job duties and requirements should be outlined in the position description. Think about creating a timeline for the intern over the span of the program- this might be beneficial for both parties. This schedule will allow both the intern and the supervisor to be aware of the end goals that need to be met as well as the everyday duties.
Onboarding- in depth
Transitioning new employees is hopefully a process that you already have in place. When onboarding interns, however, it is important to be as detailed as possible. Office etiquette may be routine for you by now but remember that most of these interns will be brand new to a professional setting. On top of normal onboarding, (filling out paperwork, introductions to co-workers, email set up and account information, etc.) it is vital that you break down the office norms.
Below are some basics:
Office phone- how to use it, extensions, setting up a voicemail, etc.
Email etiquette- Greeting line, no abbreviations, the appropriate signature
Internal office communications- instant messaging application, when to use it
Office scanning/faxing/printing- does it need to be secure, where it is located, who can use it
Attire- what does business professional mean? What does business casual mean?
Conference rooms- which to use, how to schedule them, etc.
Are internships right for your company?
Wondering why you wouldn’t just hire for entry-level positions? Internships are a good way to get basic work done without the commitment of hiring someone full-time. In addition, internship programs are a smart way to evaluate the talent pool and establish expectations. Implementing internship programs can benefit both the intern and an employer in many ways. If your company is interested in creating internships, be sure to check with your HR specialist on whether pay should be provided and what the hours should be. Just remember, that most interns are new to the business world, so you need to break down the basics. You never know the talent you are missing out on until you try!
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