Timing is everything. You know it and so do your interns, summer associates, summer analysts, co-ops and residents. They’re counting down to the start of their internship with you and after just 10-12 weeks, they’ll be out your door. With internship-to-hire conversion reaching a 13-year high of 61.9 percent (the average offer rate to interns is now 72.7 percent), 1 optimizing the time you have with them, and they with you, has never been more important.
Harnessing the power of your interns is easier (and faster) than you think.
The DNA of your company – your “secret sauce” – is your people. If your company’s “product” is a people-forward service (think legal services, financial services, engineering, healthcare), interns and early career employees are a key building block in the foundation of your corporate culture. Interns and early career employees bring fresh ideas and a fresh vibe to your organization while they learn the practical ropes from your leaders. Keeping these future stars engaged and energized from Day 1 isn’t just about hiring them, it’s about harnessing their power and their enthusiasm to keep your company ahead of the competition.
Are your key interns and future hires falling through the cracks?
Defining, managing, and reporting on your internship program may feel like working in a 10-week pressure cooker. Work assignments, performance feedback, and evaluations impact (and often consume) every team member and project an intern is assigned to.
Put your focus where it counts – on the intern!
Automating internship program management frees your team to focus where it counts, on interns and projects, not on spreadsheets and paperwork. Look for a solution like vi’s Internship Program Management that fosters engagement, organizes projects and work assignments, gets interns involved and keeps them engaged. An ideal solution should foster two-way, real-time communication across your team and lift the burden of endless paperwork.
In this 3-part blog series, we’ll dig into key components of an Internship Program Management solution that take you from hiring interns to harnessing and growing their potential. We’ll take a look at “post-recruiting” intern program management challenges, how to solve them and we’ll answer some common questions along the way. This series will explore project allocation and tracking, real-time intern communication and cross-project mentoring.
First up, project allocation and tracking that fosters engagement.
According to NACE, one of the biggest complaints heard from interns is companies are not ready for their arrival. 2 Companies not willing to engage their interns and assign real work are missing out on a valuable opportunity. Internships give you a chance to pre-interview candidates, find the super stars and hire them.
In his article, “Why You Should Hire Interns to Do Real Work,” entrepreneur and CTO Farhan Thawar 3 admonishes companies to ensure interns have real projects – not just side projects. “There aren’t projects and intern projects – there are just projects,” notes Thawar. Choose an internship program management solution that makes cataloging and distributing assignments easy and helps interns quickly view assigned projects or choose from a pool of available projects then engage quickly. Advanced solutions show how much time a project should take, help automatically track progress and gives leaders a bird’s eye view of all interns, the projects they’re working on, current status and automated notifications of status changes.
Build enthusiasm, engagement and foster cultural “imprinting”.
Most interns are new to a corporate work culture. Giving them an interactive platform to view, track, update and report on projects keeps them engaged and makes them more productive. Effective internship program management solutions should link mentors and leaders to assignments fostering broader team engagement and a sense of community. This connection jumpstarts learning and quickly builds cultural connections for interns and early career employees. Think of this phase as “imprinting” that helps interns build key skills they’ll use through their early careers. For the key performers you may want to hire, the internship is fertile ground for learning and connecting to your team.
People thrive on feedback.
Interns perform at their highest level based on the feedback they are given by their leaders and mentors. Consider solutions that give you the ability to offer critical developmental feedback in real time to encourage success and course-correct where needed. That’s real engagement at work!
Worried that Internship Program Management is a heavy, expensive, and time-consuming solution?
Today’s internship program management solutions are intuitive, easy-to-use and easily integrated with mainstream HR platforms. These cloud-based solutions are quickly tailored to your specific needs and can be expanded to offer solution continuity for new hires, early career employees, skill building and goal setting. These solutions help you identify, coach and retain key employees at every stage of employment and every level of contribution.
Today’s interns are tomorrow’s leaders and they are the most engaged and technology-aware employees who have ever entered the workforce. They want to work in technology-forward organizations where real-time project management and communication are woven seamlessly into the fabric of their daily activities. Leverage the power of an internship or early careers solution to help your future stars thrive in your unique culture. After all, timing is everything and the clock is ticking toward the arrival of your next group of interns or your next new hire.
Don’t miss the full story. Follow our internship program management series here:
If you’d like more information about internship program management solutions, we’d love to help you. We can walk you through a demo, share customer success stories and case studies, and give you the resources you need to choose the right internship program solution. We’re ready to help, just visit our vi Internship Management page for more information.
1 National Association of Colleges and Employers, May 17, 2017, Internship and Co-Op Hiring Make Gains in 2017. Last referenced October 2017: https://www.naceweb.org/job-market/internships/internship-and-co-op-hiring-make-gains-in-2017
2 National Association of Colleges and Employers, August 7, 2017, Prepare Now for Your Summer Interns. Last referenced October 2017; http://community.naceweb.org/blogs/mark-broadfoot/2017/08/07/prepare-now-for-your-summer-interns
3 F. Thawar, “Why you should hire interns to do real work,” January 26, 2017, Last referenced October 2017, https://be.helpful.com/why-you-should-hire-interns-to-do-real-work-50d00beaa12d