6 Ways to Effectively Manage Interns
If you work in the finance and accounting, government, or corporate sectors, you may have begun your own career as a humble intern. Now that you’re preparing to manage an intern, you doubtlessly want to create the best possible experience for him or her. Remember, though, that the ideal internship isn’t just an educational opportunity for a soon-to-be college graduate; it’s also a rewarding experience for you, too! Managing an intern will help you develop your leadership skills, practice effective management techniques, and be a role model for someone in your industry. Here are 6 ways to make sure that the internship experience you create is the best it can be.
Prepare a plan.
Before your intern ever sets a foot inside the office, you should have a well-crafted plan that lists exactly what he or she will be doing. Take a moment to develop an outline of essential duties, weekly goals, and daily tasks for which the intern will be responsible. There is always something to do in an office environment, and an intern should never be sitting around browsing Facebook because he or she has finished an assignment and has no further instructions. A well-structured plan will ensure that you are providing the intern with a truly valuable experience, and will also give you a clear set of standards for evaluating his or her performance at the end of the program.
Provide orientation and training.
When the intern arrives for his or her first day, make sure that you deliver a thorough orientation. Take him or her on a small tour of the office—nothing is more embarrassing for a new intern than wandering around searching for the bathrooms—and introduce some of your coworkers. Then, sit down with your intern and take a moment to explain the goals you have lined out. Make sure that you and the intern are on the same page from the very beginning about what is expected and what the job will entail.
When the internship gets rolling, don’t simply forget the intern in the file room. Make an effort to check in on him or her every day, not just to inquire as to the progress of assignments, but to gauge his or her comfort level with what has been assigned. Be sure to occasionally discuss weekend plans and non-work-related things, so that the intern feels comfortable talking to you—and will thus be more likely to come to you with questions or issues.
Being a leader means learning how to rely on others. When you find yourself overwhelmed with a big project, don’t count out your intern as a potential extra set of hands. Although you may rely on an intern primarily for small administrative tasks like making copies, assigning him or her a more valuable project may help take a load off your shoulders.
Remember that this experience is most likely the intern’s first foray into the working world, and that some things which may seem self-explanatory to you might be unfamiliar territory to a college student. Assume that every detail, no matter how minute, requires an explanation, and don’t hesitate to explain something more than once. When training the intern on how to use a software or program, don’t simply demonstrate—sit the intern in the “driver’s seat” and guide him as he performs the task himself. Remember that setting up very high expectations for an intern who is, after all, just a beginner, sets both of you up for disappointment.
Encourage all questions.
Make it clear to your intern that he or she can come to you for any question or advice—and then stand by your words. Responding to a question with a huffy breath, irritated expression, or verbal reproach is the mark of a poor manager. Even if you are crunched for time, responding to questions in an irritated manner will ensure that your intern doesn’t come to you for help again—and might make a mistake that costs you and your company.
Manage interns and more with SL Staffing
If you are looking to hire an intern or recent college graduate in North Carolina or Virginia, you can rely on SL Staffing for all your staffing needs. Contact SL Staffing today to learn how we can help your company find the perfect talent.