If you are thinking about hiring an intern, make sure to set them (and you) up for success. Also, keep in mind that interns (like any of your employees) will be talking about their employment experience with the people they know…so you want to ensure they have a positive experience and view your company as a great place to work.
I like to approach the intern employment relationship just like any other relationship with an employee. Therefore, you should implement many of the same practices with your interns that you would when hiring and working with your other employees:
• Create an intern offer letter that includes much of the same language as your standard offer letter (e.g., at will language, duration of internship, work hours, pay rate, overtime and benefits eligibility).
Note: To determine if you need to pay your intern, review the FLSA Intern Fact Sheet here.
• Provide an orientation for your interns – it could be the same one that you use with your other employees. Be sure your interns are briefed on your company rules and protocol…for many interns this will be their first work experience.
• Have your interns review and sign-off on your employee handbook and put the acknowledgement page in their personnel folder.
• Ensure your interns know what is expected of them.
Create a task list with associated due dates.
– Explain the work outcomes you expect. For example, if they will be working on a research project let them know BEFORE THEY BEGIN how the final product should look. Discuss the details with them…how many sources should they cite, do you have a standard writing style to which they need to adhere, how long should the report be?
– Check-in with them regularly on the status of their work.
– Be available to them for questions and support.
• Provide them with some challenging work that allows them to truly gain a worthwhile work experience.
Hiring interns is a great way to augment your staff while building your pipeline of talent. Like any employee relationship, it takes some time and effort to make it successful. Nonetheless, this time and effort is well worth it — ultimately, positive internships will contribute to the success of your company!
YOUR TURN: How do you ensure your internships are successful? Please leave your comment below!