You run your company like a well-oiled machine. When you have a problem you research it, come up with solutions and form a plan of attack. Your staff is dedicated and works great as a team, but when it comes to your newly hired interns? You’re at a loss. All you want is to make these tiny professionals feel like a part of your company but an intern is so different from a full time hire. If you find yourself trying to relate to them by saying things like swag or lit… please stop… and let us help because we have some tips to help you create a great company culture.
- Start by Creating a Healthy Environment
Making your interns feel welcome is the first and most important step to making them feel like they’re a valued part of the company. Give them a tour around the office and introduce them to their coworkers. Show them that there’s nothing to be nervous about. A comfortable atmosphere improves work quality. Don’t be a dictator-let your interns have some freedom and they will show their appreciation through their work.
- Help Them Establish an End Goal
When interns have an end goal often times they will find themselves working harder to achieve that goal. Having a clear end and something to look back and reflect on can be helpful for them in the future. This can also be good for your company as it spreads a positive message of how successful your internship program is. Interns that leave feeling fulfilled are always preferred to the intern that feels like their summer would have been better spent watching Food Network re-runs.
- Make Sure the Work You’re Giving Them is Important
Let’s be honest you can get your own coffee; you need to stretch your legs anyway. This ties back to helping establish an end goal. When the work you’re giving your interns is important they will feel like they’re making a difference and not wasting their time.Meaningless busywork can make interns feel useless. Knowing that 100 other people could do the job you’re doing just as well can lead to a drop in morale or even quitting.
- Allow Them and Encourage Them to Fail
This tip relates back to creating a healthy environment for your interns. Whether you like it or not failing is destined to happen but this failure is actually a blessing in disguise. With failure comes questions like: why didn’t it work, how can I make improvements and what if I did this instead? Failing can often lead them to the best results and more success than originally anticipated. Strength and a tougher skin are the silver lining of failure, they motivate your to work harder and prove yourself. We’ve sold you on failure, right? However, before interns can take their first fall they must first feel comfortable enough to try something out of their comfort zone.
It’s important to remember in addition to the tips that as an employer you shouldn’t treat your interns like they are less than your full time employees. Although they are not going to be there forever you have the opportunity to teach them something they can carry for the rest of their lives. That’s a big responsibility and it’s your job to make sure your interns have a good experience.