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Tips for startups to effectively engage interns

Anirudh Singla
18th Jul 2017
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If industry experts are to go by, summer interns when nurtured can become an effective and efficient hire for any upcoming startup. An internship can effectively be termed as a lesson for college students in first-hand experience in the professional field, where they get a taste of solving real-life problems. Hence, it is the prerogative of startups or firms to cast trainees in the right role and handled efficaciously, as they can prove to be an asset for the organization.

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We list out tips for startups to effectively engage interns.

  • In order to ensure effectual engagement, a lot depends on hiring description. Clearly outlining the requirements reduces the influx of unqualified interns.
  • Provide the trainees with a sense of ownership. If you are going to assign them with real projects, that they share with full-time employees, then you need to inculcate in them a sense of accountability. This would naturally bestow upon them responsibility and triumph on fruition.
  • Transparency always paves a path for work ethics and establishes trust. Providing interns with complete transparency over company initiatives, current and projected growth and future plans. It further increases the self-worth of an individual, as they feel more devoted to the organization.
  • A very conducive tip comes from Vanessa Van Edwards, a behavioral investigator from the Science of People. She says, “We have had over 300 summer interns go through our program. To do this easily, you have to train the first intern and only assign them the responsibility to note down everything you taught. Then have the second and third intern proof it. By the fourth, you have a perfect interning training manual.”
  • Employee communication, both in vertical and radial avenues, is the one of the base deciding factor for an organization's success. The most engaged interns shouldn’t be hidden away in a corner of the office. But, instead given plentiful opportunities to talk to employees across departments and learn about their experience and profit from the insightful knowledge they gain. 
  • Interns apply to organizations, principally to gain industry exposure and immerse themselves in the culture and challenges that envelop their ideal career field. Giving them menial tasks like doing coffee runs, etc. isn’t the right approach. Appreciating their worth and guiding them in problem solving, is what startups as organizations should set as goals to achieve.
  • Training opportunities provides a wholesome experience for an intern to learn dynamics of the industry and the various facets of working in teams. Letting your interns attend courses, seminars, on-the-job-training and other necessary standard procedures, imbibes in them a sense of professionalism. It even motivates them to work hard, when he/she sees the time and resources their organization is investing in them.
  • Assigning mentors is very effective course of action. Having interns shadow a full-time staffer, gives an unequivocal chance of learning and asking questions. It also helps them establish a relationship with someone within the company, to whom they can refer to for future references.
  • In order to gauge the efficacy of interns, working on their strengths is an essential. The best way to do that, is getting to know them. Find out their interests, any plausible job skills from a previous job or life experiences. This will help you to systematically place them within the business framework.
  • As someone rightly put, hard work is always followed with jubilation. Enthusiastic interns will always be open to learn and adapt to the circumstances. Therefore, you must recognize their input and enthusiasm and channel it in the right direction. Rewarding them with their accomplishments gives them a sense of achievement and motivates them to work hard. An incentive always, always works.
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