Internships add tremendous value to the portfolios of young, aspiring academic candidates. The largest demographic that seeks internships are college students – typically towards the end of their undergraduate tenure. In fact, various reports indicate that as much as 75% of undergrads work in an internship with the motivation to get ahead of their competition and in their careers.
The most compelling argument for this keen interest is that of employment – students and prospective employee candidates often claim that their sure-shot ticket to landing a position in their dream job is by piling up loads of work experience from internships and providing recommendations as proof, or at least that a profile without internships is surely doomed to fail. However, this begs the question, “are offices prepared to entertain summer interns?”
So, to properly understand the nuances that go into catering to these enthusiastic youngsters and how to make the best of their time and engage them at workplace, let us look at 5 exciting ways to keep your summer interns motivated and engaged throughout their tenure:
- Encourage punctuality – The lesson of time is an invaluable asset for any professional. Therefore, you must translate this message to your summer interns as clearly as possible. During their time over the season, you may positively incentivise your intern for coming on time (or early, if possible) by issuing clear deadlines (such as in-time, out-time, etc.), providing perks for adhering to those deadlines (such as monetary bonuses, gifts, etc.), and offering exclusive returns for working beyond those deadlines (in the form of recommendation letters or something similar).
- Encourage good work ethic – Only second to being on time is getting the most work done possible with the best results. Motivating your summer interns to capitalise on their time at your firm by encouraging them to take up as much work as possible will accomplish two things – it will promote work ethic among the interns while also providing proper, transferable experiences for them. This will also familiarise them to be working outside their comfort zone.
If you hire interns to write content for your firm, for instance, you may also consider asking them to attend client meetings to produce Minutes of the Meeting (MoM), ask them to draft content briefs, chart out spreadsheets, assist on client pitches and presentations, etc.
- Promote voluntary work – This does not necessarily imply working for free. However, it is important to impart the concept of ‘stepping up’ in their organisation to your interns. The main objective of this engagement is to see whether the interns are willing to take up work that is not asked for or expected of them.
In real corporate settings, such instances can build substantial goodwill and respect for the intern/employee among their superiors and earn them major brownie points that can motivate raises, perks, promotions, etc. So be sure to keep your interns on their toes as much as possible.
- Motivate them to ask questions – Or at least quiz them from time to time and make sure it is reciprocated. A proactive employee is not only appreciated but, in most cases, required in any firm worth its weight. So, your summer interns must be trained in the same manner; moreover, encouraged to partake in conversations wherever possible and made to feel like their contribution is respected. This will drive interns to be prepared and read into work matters more diligently, thus constantly keeping them engaged.
- Encourage lobbying – One of the most ignored (or at least underappreciated) resources that interns have available to them during their tenure in a firm is the ability to build connections with people in their field. This is a vital aspect of the corporate world as they will come to learn going forward. But the best time to start is right now! So, you can incentivise your summer interns to look around and build professional relationships with their colleagues to help them find their own path in the corporate world.
Given the evidently high demand and significance of internships, it is crucial to make sure that your work environment is prepared to train an interim, novice employee. Not just one at a time, but dozens, if not hundreds over a season. It is just as important to make your interns feel valued during their time at your firm so they may embark on their professional careers with renewed fulfilment, vigour, and confidence to take on the corporate world!
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