We know about internships. We’ve designed, delivered and evaluated a lot of internships and often our clients win awards for them.

Here’s our top ten starting tips:

  1. Do a super-quick soul search

Asking yourself what you want interns to see, think and feel about your organisation after their time with you is an important question. After conducting your soul search, your programme design should implicitly and explicitly reflect your see/think/feel factors.

  1. Talk to your line managers of interns

And do it long before your interns arrive. Tell them about the wonderful interns you have recruited and tell them WHY it’s important to deliver an exceptional internship experience. Get them personally bought in to the programme’s success and their part in it.

  1. Provide structure to your interns

Show them that you have thought about their journey with you. Tell them what they can expect from you and when over their internship. Declare it.

  1. Think about induction

There’s no time to do the theory – interns must make an impact quickly. Your induction needs to instil the energy and focus you wish your interns to have.

  1. Reflective learning

Get interns to reflect on their learning and to take responsibility for it. Internships finish quickly, so give interns the tools and the map they need to learn fast. Think about giving them the responsibility for their own learning journey with you. This is powerful stuff.

  1. Show interns success

How have your previous interns been successful? What did they do during the internship to make them successful? Tell your new interns. They will be like sponges.

  1. Your people

Year on year, the most successful internships showcase the organisation’s people.  Use your people to help an intern imagine what a career could look like and who they could be working with should they join as a graduate.

  1. Measure success and satisfaction

Demonstrate the importance placed on the internship by measuring success. Be obsessive about it. Follow it over time. Set internal goals. Communicate results.

  1. Think about words

Make sure you have some essentials in place that interns need to get from their internship. This includes consideration of these key words:  challenge, support, ownership of tasks, motivation, community and the bigger picture.

  1. Know the difference

Think of your internship as part of a recruitment continuum. Don’t replicate what you do with your graduate cohort with your interns. They’re not the same people and they have different needs.

Want more advice? Talk to us.

By Saj Jetha

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