Maximize Intern Success: 8 Tips for Building a Mutually Beneficial Internship Program
By Abraham Mmbaga
April 11, 2024

A lot of things have spoken about hiring and working with interns. While other takes internships as a talent development initiative, other businesses take internships as a modern way to exploit young talents. Some companies have switched from hiring experienced talents to hiring interns as a cost-cutting mechanism. In this article, you will learn how you can work with interns to achieve a mutual benefit. Here are some of the tips to help you:

Have a proper onboarding process for interns. Prepare a checklist of the onboarding process they should undertake. Orient them with company policies, procedures and culture. Train them with soft skills and overall professional conducts.

Prepare a list of responsibilities such as project tasks they have to work on. Map out on how their typical day could look like. Make sure the tasks are objective and measurable. Conduct regular reviews and provide a tailored feedback accordingly. Identify and document the major achievements, challenges, weaknesses and lessons learnt. Encourage your interns to embrace their flaws and mistakes and how they could best work against them.

Match your intern with an experienced buddy. Help your intern learn and develop their skills and expertise from seasoned mentor. A mentor guides them and provide them with appropriate feedback on what they do.

Recognize the intern’s achievements. Give your interns token of appreciation on what they did the best. Encourage them to duplicate the impact they do.

Chart the intern’s progress. Develop a visual representation of their journey from novice to expert. Mark key milestones and achievements with glittering gems, showcasing their evolution and accomplishments.

Focus on creating a long-lasting relationship. Beyond the internship, forge lasting bonds with the intern as comrades-in-arms. Think of life after internship. Value their contribution and keep connecting with interns after the internship has ended.

Consider the interns you have worked with in case any opportunity that suits them happens. In addition, you can recommend to your network whenever they seek for anyone who need their skills. They are the people you have worked with and developed. You know what they are good at and what they are bad at.

Pay interns if possible. Interns have basic expenses to cover while working with you. To keep them motivated, think of providing them with basic resources for them to survive. Help them cover their transportation, meal, internet cost and others. Incase you are not financially good then be transparent and establish a clear payment plan for the future if possible.

Generally, internship is not slavery but a talent development initiative. It needs to be of mutual benefit rather than exploitation.


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