Your Responsibilities as Intern Employer
While internships provide less expensive, semi-skilled labor, they also entail a host of responsibilities you need to consider before you hit college campuses and start recruiting. Consider these five pointers:
1. Give interns meaningful work. Some small business owners operate under the misconception that interns should be willing to work 40-plus hours a week assembling widgets on the factory floor. Wrong. As the employer, you can’t lose site of the fact that internships must be designed to be learning experiences. In order for interns to learn, you need to give them meaningful work experiences. If you aren’t willing to trust interns with more than making copies and fetching coffee, then you’re probably not ready for an internship program. Entrust them to assist your circ director with some statistical work or customer research. They can be quite helpful in that regard.
2. Assign projects to interns. You know that project you’ve been meaning to do but just haven’t had the time to get off the ground? Interns offer a wonderful opportunity to get started on projects that have been simmering on the back burner. With just a little preparation and supervision, interns can usually step up to the plate and deliver results that meet or exceed your expectations. Internship advisors also like projects because they are a convenient way to assess performance.
3. Interns take time. Another common misconception is that interns require the same amount of supervision as the company’s other employees. They require more supervision than other employees because they need to be mentored. If your business is a small operation, you’ll probably have to fill the mentor role yourself. In slightly larger operations, you may be able to assign the mentoring task to an experienced employee. Either way, be prepared for the added time demands of an internship program.