Four tips for onboarding interns

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Interns come and go in organisations, often providing significant added value to teams. A first impression, also for the intern, is crucial. How do you ensure that the intern experiences the onboarding as pleasantly as the organisation? The independence of the intern often determines their success. Some people need more structure and guidance than others. To leave nothing to chance, a good onboarding process is crucial. This increases the chance that your intern can be of added value to your team and that the intern has the opportunity to learn more. This blog will share some great tips for maximising the intern experience!

Who is responsible for what?  
On the first day, there is often a lot of attention on the new intern. A workplace is usually set up, and introductions take place. But what about the rest of the week? Before you know it, your intern is alone in the office for half a day on the second day. Now that we are working in an increasingly hybrid model, it is more important that someone is responsible for supervising the intern daily. This does not necessarily have to be physical supervision, as long as it is clear who the intern can contact.

Arrange for sufficient work  
In the first few days and weeks, it is logical that interns are given time to familiarise themselves with the work and the environment. But try to ensure a good balance between various activities. After all, it’s no fun for anyone to spend the whole day reading up on tasks and processes by yourself, completing training sessions, or observing. Getting to work and diving straight in is often much more fun and educational! If you are dealing with critical processes or customer contact, this might not always be an option. In that case, you can look for ways an intern can work in the background on tasks. Think about this before the intern arrives to ensure a clear set of tasks for them on the first day of work.

 Evaluate weekly  
Evaluation is essential for interns, as they still have little work experience and are working on personal growth. They may experience negative emotions when assigned work that is new to them. Think, for example, of fear of failure, perfectionism, or frustration. It is also the organisation’s responsibility to guide them in this and offer them tools. Therefore, plan enough evaluation moments from the start and always honour them. In this way, you ensure that the intern is better prepared for the moment they enter the labour market.

Make expectations clear 
Before an intern starts, it should be clear what they must comply with to function well within the organisation. Therefore, explain what is important in your company culture. For example, is taking the initiative valued or is it more appreciated if the intern keeps a low profile at first? In addition, it must be clear which points the intern will be assessed. Often the school’s guidelines are used for this, but if you want the intern also to offer added value to the organisation, you must outline what is required.

In conclusion, communication plays a major role in the onboarding process. This is extra important for interns, owing to their lack of work experience for a successful onboarding and smooth internship. And who knows, maybe such a great internship experience will result in an enthusiastic and dedicated colleague in the future!