Position your internship program for success by ensuring your intern orientation provides a strong start for your interns. They will be able to make meaningful contributions to your organization, and your organization will establish goodwill with interns from the outset, putting you one step closer to conversion.
- Orientation should be held on the intern’s first day and should not be optional. Because semester and quarter systems mean interns may be coming on board from mid-May to mid-June, consider holding more than one orientation to accommodate scattered starts. For example, one organization holds an orientation each Monday until its interns have all been brought on board. Your interns will have more fun at orientation if they are in a group, so try to group start dates.
- Consider which approach will work best for your organization: Should your orientation be exclusive to interns? In some organizations, interns are oriented along with new full-time hires. Consider not only the content you need to deliver to interns as opposed to new hires, but also the message you are sending your interns. If the content is a good match for both groups, a joint session may be a means to delivering the message that interns are viewed as contributing professionals. If much of the content is irrelevant to the interns, however, the unintended message may be that the joint orientation is merely a time saver for you.
- Many interns have no experience with the multi-generational workplace. Help them understand how to work with other generations. One option would be to provide a panel discussion focused on this topic.
- To help interns acclimate to the organization and its culture, and what it takes during the internship to be considered a candidate for a full-time position, have employee resource groups/former interns offer tips.
- Connect your interns with each other. When interns are spread across the country, bring them in for a capstone project, pairing outlying interns with those at headquarters. You can also help your interns engage with each other—even if they are not in the same location—by creating a closed LinkedIn community.
Note: The recommendations provided stem from a recent conference call of approximately a dozen recruiters who are active in the NACE Community. For more information about participating in NACE Community group conference calls, contact Claudia Allen, NACE social media and communities manager, at email@example.com.