Getting the Best out of Your Interns

Having hired an intern, you are already benefiting the economy, society, and the career prospects of the talented individual(s) you have taken on. Naturally, you always want to get the best out of your workers, and interns pose a tricky problem when it comes to figuring out how to do just that in a limited amount of time. Interns are a high value asset to any company, given their fresh business perspective and ambitious drive. How do you create the best work environment to ensure optimal production from your interns?

Give them work to do with set goals, tasks and deadlines -You would be surprised at just what a young, seemingly fresh-out-of-water intern can produce under a bit of pressure. There’s nothing like responsibility and a chance to perform to push someone to do better and work harder. If the intern crumbles under these tasks, granted they are manageable and within their skill-set, then your job of deciding whether or not you want them to stay is much easier.

Talk to them – tell them how they are doing, ask them how they are doing, provide constructive feedback and engage in general chit chat. If they then won’t stop talking, just start loudly singing over the sound of their incessant rambling whilst maintaining eye contact at all times.

Raise the praise – don’t forget to praise them for their successes. You don’t need to give out gold stars for every error-free e-mail written, but choosing the ‘tough love’ route of ‘no praise only criticism’ can be detrimental to the productivity and morale of your workers.

Pay them – Interns need your guidance and an opportunity to impress in the hopes of securing a permanent position. However, they more importantly need to be paid well enough to sustain themselves so they can work for you.

It is illegal not to pay workers at least the National Minimum Wage and paying your interns a solid salary makes for happier team members who work better. After lengthy and often grueling hunts for paid work-opportunities, most interns and entry-level workers will show their excitement and gratitude by working harder and learning faster than ever, seeking to prove how much they deserve to be paid for the work they do and the skills they learn.

*This rate is for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.

Include them in Company Culture – letting them integrate with the rest of the team and sit in on meetings is vital if you want your intern to understand how the company performs so they can share new ideas.

Treat them with treats – Team activities, post-work drinks, or an impromptu relax/stretch break will always go down well with not just your interns but with the entire office. Saying that, incentives are notoriously effective but not an option for many businesses. It’s all well and good to suggest offering big perks for the office folk, but if you are a young or small company, you may not have the resources or time to treat your interns like an Oprah audience.

So really, the way to anybody’s heart is through their stomach 

Even just snacks in the company kitchen (let’s draw the line at kebabs at the work desk) contribute massively to a pleasant atmosphere, and make everybody feel more like valued individuals rather than just another cog in the works.

Interns are a special addition to your team that require structure and opportunity if you want them to benefit your company. Visit Intern Avenue to find brilliant interns, and look out for upcoming blogs and videos with interns who discuss their experiences.


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