Interns are the future of our workforce. Historically, many businesses focus on giving the intern beneficial research experience. While this is important, much more can be done to create a more valuable intern experience.
By providing an engaging and connected hybrid experience, interns will feel more connected to their workplace and be more likely to stay with the company after graduation. Here, we'll discuss some ways that you can create a better intern experience for your business.
First, it's essential to understand what interns want. And they want more than research — they want meaningful project work with business impact within an engaging, inclusive program that provides opportunities for learning, growth, and connection.
Interns are likely craving connection after several years of feeling disconnected in their experiences around college and social activities. For interns that want to feel like they’re part of something larger, and that their work matters, you can help provide a connected experience in several ways.
Have interns work on projects that have a business impact and are meaningful to them. Ask them what would be valuable to them, and spend some time aligning these desires with upcoming projects.
You can also connect interns with leaders across the business for help on these specific projects — this gives them exposure to different departments within the company. Once their project is complete, give interns the opportunity to present their work. This will not only showcase their hard work and knowledge of the company, but will also give the interns more exposure for future projects and possible employment opportunities.
In addition to projects and tasks, create social events for your interns. This can be anything from intern happy hours to company-wide events that they can attend. These events are important for building relationships and creating a sense of community among interns.
You can plan tours to explore the city through food, history, and museum visits if it fits your location. This is an excellent way for interns to learn more about their city and the company's culture while socializing with other interns and employees.
Mentorship is another great way to create a more valuable intern experience. Interns want to have a meaningful relationship with the supervisor who will manage their work, but they also want to connect with other leaders across the business for mentorship or general advice.
By connecting interns with various types of mentors, they can have someone to help guide them through their internships and navigate the company. This relationship can be invaluable for both parties involved.
Meeting with leaders across the business can also help interns understand the company's culture and values.
Meeting with leaders across the business can also help interns understand the company's culture and values. For example, you can schedule monthly coffee chats for the executive team and interns to have an open dialogue about the company. These conversations will give them a better understanding of the business and what it means to be a part of it.
An inclusive workplace is another important factor in the internship experience. Creating an inclusive workplace is just as important for interns as it is for other employees. You should consider inclusivity in every aspect of the internship program —from how you onboard interns, to how they are treated throughout their internship.
By making interns feel like they are part of the team from day one, they will be more engaged and invested in their work. Be sure to give them a tour of the office, introduce them to their team, and explain the company's culture and values. Inclusive intern experiences also extend to social events.
By making interns feel like they are part of the team from day one, they will be more engaged and invested in their work.
By creating an inclusive and diverse intern experience, you will not only create a more valuable experience for your interns, but you will also be better positioned to attract and retain top talent.
When internships are done well, everybody wins. The company gets a chance to invest in the future of their workforce, and the intern gains valuable experience that will help them in their future career.
By following the tips above, you can create a more valuable intern experience for your business. Want more information on how to get started with an internship program? Check out our intern hiring guide.
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