Internship Orientation: Do I really need one? [Employers]

Internships give you a pipeline of tomorrow’s best talent while providing you with year-round help. Hosting enthusiastic and motivated young adults entering a field that they’re truly passionate about can be a huge boon for your organization.

How? For starters, you’ll have more hands on deck and maybe even the chance to recast old problems in a new light. You’ll have the ability to train the next round of professionals at your organization and reduce the time, expense and hassle associated with turnover costs.

Interns can also benefit your current staff by freeing up their time to pursue more interesting and creative projects that they couldn’t do otherwise. This means that your company can enjoy all of the resources that it did prior to hiring interns while also facilitating a kind of in-house R & D with your current professionals.

That’s pretty great by itself but the internship process has the added bonus of allowing you to monitor, train and essentially audition the next round of talent on the side.

Why You Need an Internship Orientation Program!

Both private- and public-sector employers are sometimes apprehensive about hosting an internship program.

This apprehension usually has its roots in hearsay from colleagues or horror stories on the internet: Internship orientations will help you start off on the right foot. You may think an orientation is going to be too much work but they are totally manageable and once you’ve pulled one off they’re very easy to replicate and repeat in the future.

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Be Honest About Your Needs First

You should always run an internship program with an eye towards your needs as an organization – take both today’s and tomorrow’s needs into account when you do this.

Ask yourself whether you really need more young professionals, more capable managers or simply need to scout the available candidates for someone who can handle more niche skills that your organization needs to further grow.

Since your orientation will cover things like your interns’ goals, major projects and roles during the internship, it’s important that you figure out your own organization’s needs early on in the process.

Create a Welcoming, Warm Intern Orientation

This is where a lot of managers and company heads become a little more unsure of themselves, but internship orientations are really nothing to spend time worrying about.

Think of internship orientations as analogous to welcoming a new employee to your organization: You want to put your best foot forward and gradually get that new employee acquainted with their roles, your work culture and what they should expect in the near- and long-term.

For interns in particular, though, you want to focus on the basics initially: Give them a rundown on the dress code, expectations, hours and any safety protocols that they absolutely need to follow while on the job. When expectations are clearly defined, everyone is on the same page.

It’s really true that the quicker you can bring your interns up to speed the sooner they can start making a felt contribution to your organization. Don’t be shy here: If your workplace policy is no social media browsing or Smartphone use on the job, be upfront about that during the internship orientation.

Provide Handouts and an Online Followup

Distributing handouts that interns can use to follow along with during the hour or two that you run your internship orientation program can give you greater confidence and, in turn, help interns feel supported.

A lot of companies have also found success bringing former interns into the fold. How would that work? Well, if you’re like most companies then there’s a good chance that some of your interns went on to become full-time employees.

If that’s the case then having those former interns attend your internship orientation can help so they can field questions, allay concerns and give your current interns a target to strive towards: The chance at landing their dream (full-time) job!

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About bridge.jobs

Bridge is a program that focuses on connecting employers and students in Rhode Island. The goal of Bridge is to match Rhode Island employers with talented students looking to gain valuable professional experience. Applying knowledge and skills acquired in college to a professional setting is a vital component of a student’s college education. Students who gain relevant internship experience are better prepared for full-time employment after graduation. By hiring interns, employers gain qualified, career-driven young professionals as employees. Student bring with them exposure to cutting edge practices and technology, new insights and philosophies, flexibility and a thirst for knowledge. bRIdge has a particular focus on connecting students and employers from specialized fields such as Business, Science, IT, Technology, Health, Design, Engineering and Manufacturing. The bRIdge website allows employers to post paid or unpaid internships online and directly reach out to a vast and talented pool of students. College students and recent graduates can sign up and start looking for an appropriate professional learning opportunity in minutes. bRIdge is a program of the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) and RISLA’s College Planning Center of Rhode Island. RISLA has joined up with Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island (AICURI), the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education (RIBGHE) and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce to bring together academia, business and community. If you have any questions about this program or if you need any assistance, please feel free to contact us.

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