Providing Supervision to Interns

Finding the right balance in supervising interns can make it easier for them to transition into the program, make it more likely that they will achieve their directives, and they may enjoy their internship more. Here are a few tips to help you supervise your interns in a way that is beneficial for both parties.

Communicate effectively

Before starting the internship, it’s important that the student understands the position well and what your expectations are of their performance. Here are some items to keep in mind when going over the position with an intern:

  • You’ll want to outline specifically the type of work they will do
  • Hours of the position
  • Pay, if applicable
  • Who they will report to if not yourself
  • Which equipment or departments the intern may collaborate with 
  • Action steps you want the intern to accomplish and how your company will help them reach each step

By going over this information ahead of time, you establish a foundation with the intern in terms of expectations, work involved and resources available to them. This is also a great time to address any questions or concerns the intern has before proceeding. 

Set the intern up for success

You only have one first impression, so it’s imperative you do your best to make it a good one. When you are prepared, it can help the intern’s transition into your company go much smoother. Here are some items to do before and on their first day:

  • If your intern needs equipment such as a desk, computer or other items, be sure to have them set up 
  • Find a mentor for the intern, who can be a valuable resource they can turn to with questions or concerns
  • On the first day, take your intern around and introduce them individually to as many employees as you can
  • As part of the last step, send an email to company employees welcoming the intern to the team
  • On the first day, be sure to have all training materials ready to go 
  • Help them learn more about your company and its policies

When you do these things, it conveys professionalism. Further, it can help the intern feel comfortable with their new surroundings and make them feel like they are part of the team. Once you help them go through training, it’s important to give them space to do their work. By doing so, you express trust in their abilities. From there, schedule regular meetings with your intern.

Think of these meetings as an open conversation where both parties can speak freely to each other. Let them start the conversation by asking them how their progress is going and which goals, if any, they have achieved. Next, you can ask if they have any questions on their projects and go over their strengths and weaknesses. When you do these meetings regularly it’s a great way to learn more about the intern’s progress while helping them know that you care about their success.

Ultimately, by building a solid foundation through communication, you can help your interns understand their objectives clearly from the start of their internship. Further, when you help them transition into their roles and then check their progress regularly, you show them that you care about their performance, but that you also trust them enough to work without constant supervision. By achieving this balance, you give the intern the structure and freedom they need to accomplish their goals.