9 Ways to Improve Your Summer Internship Program

Are you thinking about implementing an internship program at your organization this summer? Do you already have interns but aren’t sure what to do with them? It’s not too late to turn things around.

Here are nine ways to improve your summer internship program:

Establish specific goals.

Ask yourself, “Why do I need interns?” Interns should not be used simply for cheap labor. Interns should have predetermined objectives for their time in your organization. They are there to learn about your company and industry, not to be left on their own to handle your busy work. Figure out what you want your interns to learn, what they will do on a daily basis, and how they will benefit from your program.

Outline a clear structure for the program.

Once you determine goals for your interns, use them in the basic structure of the internship program. Write out a detailed summary of expected tasks, how they will be trained and supervised, the amount of time they will work, how they will be compensated, and whatever other details might be important.

Recruit the most talented interns.

Your internship program cannot reach its fullest potential if you cannot find the most talented interns. Write an enticing job description, detailing the responsibilities and benefits you established in your outline. Use a variety of outlets for recruitment, including campus career centers, social media, and referrals.

Support your interns during throughout the summer.

While it’s great to hire interns who can work well independently, it’s important to check in with them as often as you can. Figure out which members of your team can supervise the interns. This person can be you or someone else on your team. The supervisor needs to be able to delegate tasks and mentor interns throughout the summer.

Give your interns real tasks.

Interns want to learn what it’s like to work for a real company. Grant them this opportunity with real assignments benefiting your organization. Let them develop projects generating real results. Ask for their opinions on the way your organization runs. Having interns around for the summer gives you the opportunity to hear fresh perspectives. Don’t waste it.

Utilize your interns’ tech knowledge.

Today’s interns are incredibly tech-savvy. Millennials have gone through school being constantly introduced to the newest technology like social media, software, and smartphones. Take advantage of their presence in your office and ask them for help. They might understand something better than you or be familiar with technology that will make your life easier.

Give your interns feedback.

It is important to give all of your employees feedback, and interns are no exception. In fact, you should probably give interns feedback most frequently. They are very new to the professional world and need more guidance than workers who have been in the game for a while. Give your interns constructive feedback so they can become better at their jobs. Provide feedback as tasks are completed and at the end of the summer.

Offer full-time jobs to your best interns.

Use your internship program as a way to find full-time employees. Tell your interns their work could lead to something more if they perform well. Spend the summer evaluating your interns’ skills and other qualities to determine if you’d like to keep them at the end. This will motivate your interns and make hiring easier for you down the line.

Constantly tweak your internship program.

Every time you hire new interns, make changes to improve the program. Ask departing interns what worked and didn’t work for them. Revisit your goals and outline to see if they are still applicable. Always look for ways to improve the program.

Internship programs can benefit organizations in so many ways. It’s important to make sure you constantly look for ways to improve the program in your organization.

What else is important for a strong summer internship program?

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