Summer is finally here and for many of us, we are fortunate to have a college intern (or two) joining us for the next few months. It may be tempting to think of extra staff as the opportunity to boost your office with some affordable help and, let’s be honest, many interns will spend a good bit of time doing busy work, fielding phone calls, filing stacks from our desks, and running errands.
But if that’s all they’re doing, we’re wasting a wonderful chance to infuse our offices with new ideas and energy, while short changing their experience. So how can you and your intern make the most of your time together?
Start with a Plan
Before your intern’s first day, you should have a good idea of what their daily tasks will include. Discuss what goals you have for your time together and invite your intern to share what they hope to take away from this work experience.
We all talk about engaging young people, so once you are together, take the time to meet regularly and ask for feedback on your business. Take advantage of what your intern is currently learning in school and find ways to incorporate this newfound knowledge in what you’re doing, even if it may be a little uncomfortable.
Be a Great Example
Make sure you are always modeling good behavior. Having the extra help in the office is not a good excuse for you to slack. Be on time, dress as you would expect them to dress, and remember how you talk about others will reflect on the character of you and your business.
Let Them Know You Care
Ask your intern to share their career goals and be willing to share your journey. By letting them know what has worked for you AND what hasn’t, you can help them envision the many possible paths (even bumpy) to success. Genuinely attempt to learn what’s most important to them, personally and professionally, and invest time into supporting their priorities.
Most interns will have some anxiety, at least initially, as they try to fit into your office culture. Make sure to take some time in your day, or at least week, to invite a little down time. A quick walk for coffee or ice cream or a few minutes laughing about something funny can help lighten stress they may be experiencing, allowing them to be far more productive. It will make your day more fun too, if you are doing it right.
We’d love to meet your intern! Please give us the chance, by stopping by our office, bringing your intern to our next Chamber event, or sending us a message so we can reach out directly. We want all those spending time in the region to have the best summer ever, with the possibility of staying in or returning to Venango County sometime after graduation.
FLEX will host an Intern Appreciation Luncheon on August 2nd at Komatsu in Franklin. Any students, interns, or young professionals are invited to attend. Find more information at venangoflex.org or on their Facebook page at facebook.com/venangoflex.
This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s July 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.