The idea of making an intern feel like a welcome member of your team may not immediately occur to a lot of employers. But while it may not seem like this is a high priority task, the benefits of making your intern feel welcome will pay off in higher productivity and loyalty.
Here are a few tips for helping your new intern feel welcome.
Establish some get acquainted strategies
You can begin by escorting your new intern around the office on their first day of work, so you can introduce them individually to each member of the team. It will be less intimidating and overwhelming for them. It will also give them a chance to see the lay of the land before getting stuck into work.
Another good idea for an intern’s first day is to schedule an informal getting to know you session. This will allow the interns to find out from the employees what life is like within the company. They can ask questions and probe for information in an informal setting designed to put them at ease.
If interns are too shy to speak up, you can help break the ice by having some standard questions prepared in advance. Once the conversation starts flowing, it will be much easier for the interns to feel comfortable enough to speak up.
Make it clear to your full time employees that they should reach out
Most interns can be reluctant to take the lead when it comes to introducing themselves. They may even feel shy about asking others for help when it is critical to their job.
By establishing a policy in your office where employees greet everyone with a warm smile and a ‘Hello’, you’ll make it easier for everyone – not just the interns.
Encourage employees to offer to take interns out to lunch as soon as they can – preferably within their first week. Seeing co-workers outside the office can help put them at ease. It will certainly mean a lot to them, and go a long way toward helping them fit in.
Give every intern their own non-supervisor mentor
Mentors, especially ones that are not in a direct supervisory role, can help interns to feel as though they have an ally in the company – someone they can turn to if they need information, are feeling confused, or encounter a conflict in the office. The closer in age the mentor, the more this allied feeling increases.
Interns are not likely to bring up sensitive issues to a supervisor because they may fear that it will reflect negatively on them in an assessment.
Make the office a non-competitive environment
If full-time employees see interns as a threat to their livelihood – that they’re there to take their jobs – they may start to develop competitive attitudes. They may even try to do whatever they can to throw roadblocks in the intern’s path every chance they get. As you can imagine, this will lead to a negative environment for everyone. To combat this, you can make it clear to your full time staff that the interns are only there for the experience, and to help make their jobs easier.
Give them substantial tasks – not just busy work
If interns are only tasked with light filing and coffee runs, they will quickly begin to feel inferior. It could also lead to feelings of isolation. To avoid this, give them some real work that will challenge them and help them feel as though they are contributing, just like the rest of the team.
About the Author: Nicole Davies works at ShortCourseFinder, where she shares hare opinions and advice on careers and self-development. She likes to stay on top with education trends and new tech solutions.