Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

Setting interns up for success [Part 2]

In the first part of this blog series, I discussed the ways in which internship programs can benefit both students and employers, as well as the many ways managers can structure these programs to ensure our interns get the most out of them. The next step of facilitating internship success is to implement a process that makes the transition from intern to employee as smooth and seamless as possible. 

A look from both perspectives
There are steps that should be taken on both the employer’s and the intern’s end throughout this process. For example, businesses shouldn’t assume that an intern will want to join the organization immediately after their program is complete. To increase the likelihood that they do you can offer incentives for candidates to join the company post internship. It’s important to make sure your interns understand the advantages of working for an organization they already have experience with, as well as the unique benefits and perks of working for your specific firm.

Interns, on the other hand, should view the internship as a 12-week interview. This means approaching each and every task they are given with adamant attention to detail, understanding that everything they do throughout the duration of the program could influence whether or not they’re offered a job. Again, communication is key: if an intern thinks they’d like to be a part of your team, it’s helpful to not only let managers know what positions he or she is interested in, but to demonstrate their particular skills in that area as well.

Tips for transitioning an intern to an employee
If you have decided to hire your intern, and that individual has agreed to come on board, there are a few steps you can take to make the transition as efficient and successful as possible, including the below:

  • Change their title. The first order of business is to decide what the former intern’s new professional title will be, as this will determine what their specific responsibilities and scope of work will include. This might not seem like a big deal, but it will help make your new employee feel like a real part of your team.
  • Inform your team. Make sure that all existing employees understand that this person is no longer an intern and is now part of the full-time staff. This can be done as simply as sending an email – but it is imperative that it is communicated to avoid any confusion or misplaced assignments.
  • Consider a raise. Show your new employee that you recognize their value on the team and their achievements over the course of their internship.
  • Give them more autonomy. Part of transitioning an intern to an employee is instilling enough confidence in them to “take the training wheels off” and letting them demonstrate their capabilities by taking initiative. It can be tough to step back and give a new employee ownership over their projects, but it’s key to their future success.

Today’s job markets are extremely competitive. Given the current battle organizations face for talent, retaining top performers is a critical part of an organization’s success. For both employers and interns, these programs are a win-win. Interns receive training and real-life work experience while employers reap the benefit of adding a potential new employee to their talent pipeline. My experience with an intern this past summer was extremely rewarding. I ended the summer one friend richer and know that she would be a valuable resource should she ever decide to work at Ceridian full-time.

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