The purpose of interns and internships is to give students the opportunity to learn and grow within a professional work environment. With this in mind, it is important to give students a good onboarding experience, as these vital few days and/or weeks can set the tone for the remainder of the work term.
As more and more companies are moving workers back into the office, it is important that onboarding procedures are adaptable to accommodate interns regardless of how and where they are working.
Here, we will detail some of the ways to improve upon existing intern onboarding procedures, as well as some other methods to improve the internship experience for your interns.
Interns are students, and the first few days on the job are similar to the first days of school. Give your interns the chance to meet the team, feel welcomed at the company, and familiarize themselves with the people they will be working with for the duration of the internship term!
The 30/60/90 day onboarding plan is a powerful onboarding roadmap that helps new employees track their process and sets them up for success. During each 30 day increment, the roadmap will help new interns focus on specific skill sets that will help them ease into daily life at their workplace.
30 days: These first 30 days should be spent focusing on becoming familiar with everything company related. It is also important for the new intern to understand the scope of their role, their responsibilities and expectations placed on them. Here are some ways to make the most of your new hire’s first 30 days:
60 days: The next 30 days should be used to integrate your intern(s) into the everyday operations of the company. During this time period, training should be less intense but still ongoing. The primary goal here is to give opportunities for your new hire to implement the skills they have learned during their first month. The action items during this time period should include:
90 days: The final month of onboarding your intern should focus on giving them greater independence and autonomy. This is the phase when their training wheels come off, where they receive greater responsibility, autonomy and accountability. By this point, they should:
Keep in mind each interval should be adjusted according to the complexity of the intern’s tasks as well as the length of their work term.
Creating and implementing a structured onboarding process is important to setting your interns up for success. Doing so:
Examples of what this can look like includes video tutorials, written guides and voice memos on performing daily/operational tasks; this helps interns perform new and unfamiliar tasks with little to no supervision. Having some level of structure, whether it be training modules or pre-recorded webinars means that the experience you provide will improve with every wave of incoming interns.
While your interns are ultimately there to learn and gain valuable work experience, encouraging them to have fun at the workplace will definitely set the tone and allow them to connect more with the rest of the team as well as the company as a whole. So, what might having fun look like?
A problem that plagues most intern positions is the apparent lack of impact they have. Interns can often feel neglected or unmotivated because they feel they are only there to do grunt work. However, their impact is a lot larger than they may realize so it's important to ensure they feel valued and their impact is recognized!
By asking for feedback following a structured onboarding process, you give interns a heavy sense of belonging and involvement.
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