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Manage Your Summer Interns for Maximum Success | Interns | Small Business Management | Business Hub |®

Manage Your Summer Interns for Maximum Success!

A summer internship program gives your business the opportunity to help mold young individuals into perfect workers for your company and industry. Even if your summer interns don’t take jobs with your organization, your patience and experience will likely be remembered for years to come.

While managing interns takes work, it is worth the effort. In exchange for the intern getting school credit, real-world experience and possibly a stipend, your company gets to try out potential employees, coverage for employees who take summer vacations and exposure in an academic setting. Make the most of your internship program with these tips and insights:

Mentoring Makes the Internship Program

Connect your intern with the brightest and best in your company. You may pair your intern with a mentor for the full duration of the program or allow the intern to switch mentors to learn about various aspects of the industry. Be sure to collect feedback on the intern from employees who with him or her. This allows you to provide valuable feedback to the intern as well as evaluate him or her for a potential role within your company.

Today’s Internships

Gone are the days of the one-sided internship, where the intern gives his or her all and the company uses the position to handle menial duties other employees don't want to touch. Interns may still get the duties normally assigned to the lowest man on the totem pole, but managers should strive to ensure the intern understands how these tasks are facets of the job at large. Interns are also likely to be exposed to parts of the business that were previously unavailable, including days spent alongside management teams or attending business conferences, events and trade shows. Be sure to abide by the Fair Labor Standards Act to ensure you're fulfilling your obligations to your intern.

When it comes time to end the internship, work with your intern on updating his or her resume. This is important even if you plan to hire the intern – a good resume on file can help with future promotions and evaluations.

Create Success for You and Your Summer Intern

Take care to ensure that the time you spend grooming a new intern isn't wasted. Not everyone in the company may have a forward-looking approach to summer internships, and poor experiences can sour interns on the organization. These bad feelings may persist when they take work with competitors.

Remember to budget accordingly. While many interns work for low or no wages, you must still budget for training time and any additional required insurance. It is helpful to come up with specific projects your intern can own. This way, when business is busy, your intern will have specific work to tackle without help from others.

Managing a summer intern can be tricky, as an intern often lacks real-world experience and the skills that only come from hours of work in the industry. But with reasonable expectations and defined roles, you can make the most out of your summer internship program – for you and your intern.

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