Whether you work for a big company or run your own business, you probably either need or already have interns.
Almost all college students need or have already had an internship (or several!).
So you need them, they need you… That’s obvious. The more important (and maybe not so obvious) thing to remember is that happy interns will do better work for you, and get more valuable experience out of their internship!
Simple enough, right? Or you might be thinking, “How can I make sure my interns are happy?”
Don’t worry, we’ve got the secret to happy interns! Well, multiple secrets actually:
Give Them Real Work
This does not include bringing you coffee!
Sure internships can (and usually do) involve a lot of small, seemingly insignificant tasks, but, especially if you offer unpaid internships, it usually makes more sense to have an intern work on a much smaller project versus a major client. As an intern they probably don’t have as much experience as your paid employees, but that’s exactly the point! People take internships in order to gain that experience. If you want happy interns, you need to make sure that they are actually learning and getting something out of their time with you.
Keeping the previous point in mind, it’s important to remember that interns, especially new interns, don’t know as much about your company as you do. For example, let’s compare two scenarios:
- Intern #1 started with the company at the beginning of summer and worked with you for three months. You started her out with the simpler tasks as she learned about the business and how things work, slowly working up towards that final client project towards the end of the summer.
- Your new intern, Intern #2, started yesterday. If you immediately throw him into a client project, before he has had a chance to learn the ins and outs of the company, there’s a good chance he will feel incredibly overwhelmed and not do as great a job as he could after being around for a while.
The point? You have to teach interns how to do certain things, not just assume that they somehow already know everything that a past intern did.
As you teach interns, it’s very beneficial (to both of you!) to let them know what they are and aren’t doing right. If a new intern messed something up, and you told them how to correct it, it’s important to let them know what kind of progress they’re making! They either might not realize they’re still making mistakes, or they might be doing it perfectly and stressing out for no reason.
There you have it, some of the secrets to employing happy interns and getting more in return for your business because of it!
Do you have any other tips for happy interns? We would love to hear them! Fill out the form below if you would like to share.
– Alli Myers