Internship programs play a vital role in the growth and success of many SMBs. They offer opportunities for students to gain practical experience while contributing to your goals objectives with fresh and diverse perspectives. However, interns have limited professional experience and are with you for a fixed period of time. In order to have a meaningful impact for both you and your interns, you need to integrate them into your organization with systems and documents for onboarding and training. A little bit of work upfront will help interns quickly adjust to their new roles and perform their tasks effectively, ideally with less oversight from you and your team. In this article, we’re listing best practices and tips for creating an onboarding plan.
Onboarding Interns Checklist:
- Welcome Package – Create a digital database were interns can access training materials, brand guidelines, FAQs and information about the company’s history and value proposition, and resources related to their roles. This central repository facilitates self-paced learning and acts as a reference point throughout their internship. The more an intern understands about your organization, the more relevant their output will be.
- A First-Day Schedule – Conduct a comprehensive orientation session to introduce interns to their teams, supervisors, and any other key personnel. Familiarize them with the workplace environment, facilities, and any specific protocols or safety requirements. You may also want to have an intern shadow specific employees.
- Support – Assign a mentor or a work buddy to guide and support interns throughout their tenure. This employee can provide valuable insights, offer feedback, and serve as a resource for any questions or concerns. These responsibilities may also be filled by their direct supervisor.
- Set Expectations – Collaboratively set clear and achievable goals for each intern, aligning them with the company’s objectives. This will provide a sense of direction and purpose, motivating interns to perform at their best. These roles and responsibilities are likely to come from your original job post or listing. Now that you’ve got the role filled, it’s important to build upon that outline with explicit details, tasks, and timelines.
- Tailor Assignments – Understand your intern’s background, strengths, and career aspirations. Assign projects that allow them to apply and develop their skills while exploring new areas of interest. Just like any other hire, matching a person’s responsibilities to their interests and background will generate the best outcomes.
- Communication Channels – Determine who is responsible for your interns, how interns will submit their work for review, and what the internal workflow is. Be sure this is conveyed to your new hires. Establish open lines of communication, ensuring interns feel comfortable reaching out to their supervisors, mentors, or colleagues for assistance or clarification.
- Tools and Software – You’ll need to determine in advance whether or not interns will supply their own computers and tools needed for the job. If appropriate to the job, provide a company email address and all other logins and credentials they will need to perform their duties.
- Team Building – At some organizations, this may include a company lunch or other activities. Whatever the norm is at your organization, be sure that you’ve announced the intern’s arrival to the company, and encourage team members to introduce themselves.
Getting the most out of an intern involves creating an environment that promotes their growth, engagement, and contribution. Investing time and effort into providing a rich and supportive internship experience not only benefits the interns themselves, but also contributes to the growth and success of the organization. Consider that this investment in effective intern onboarding and training is an investment in the future success of your manufacturing organization. We hope this checklist helps you maximize their potential, and get the best work out of your temporary hires!