Now that you are in the “home stretch” of the internship experience, it is important to keep the momentum moving in a positive direction! One way that you can do this is to use this last couple of weeks to engage the rest of your team. By doing this effectively you will create a much better and well-rounded experience for the student if they have the opportunity to interact with as many team members as possible!
Most likely, you have already done this throughout the summer. By encouraging team members to share their words of wisdom, advice, suggestions, and stories with the intern, you’re not only enabling the student to obtain more information about the industry and your company, but also allowing your staff to informally mentor and/or coach a member of the upcoming workforce. What a value-added opportunity for everyone!
To take this concept one step further, you might want to consider using the internship as a way to reward your best employees:
- Ask them to provide shadowing experiences.
- Request that they take the intern out to lunch (on the company dime, of course!).
- Solicit their ideas and suggestions regarding intern training and professional development.
- Have them lead a “lunch and learn” on a specific topic of interest.
If you include others in your internship program, you’ll benefit the intern, and you’ll allow your employees to further develop their own professional competencies.
Since your intern will undoubtedly value the opportunity to learn from others, you might want to consider asking a few select employees to provide you with one or two projects with which they need help. Then explain to others on your team that any work assigned to the intern should be impressive enough for the student to use on his or her resume. By working as a team, you can brainstorm how these projects would benefit the intern, and how the chain of command should work. If you’re so inclined, this endeavor might even be a great chance for you to start developing your junior-level supervisors into senior-level managers!
Despite the fact that you’ve been the lead actor in this show all summer, remember you do have a supporting cast. By engaging your team in the last few weeks of the internship as described above, you can keep the energy level high as the summer winds down to a close. And bear this in mind: While your working relationship with the intern may only last for a few months, your professional connection to your team may last for years. You want to do all you can to foster these relationships.