Interns: What to do With Them?

Interns: What to do With Them?

About 4 weeks ago you had a new team member added to your staff.

You could have sworn they were in high school, but this intern is a junior in college and hoping to make some connections before “all gets real” next year.

As these 4 weeks have passed, it’s been nice to have the extra help but you are noticing that you intern is seeming… well – bored?

You can tell they had hopes of what their internship would be and because May (and June) were so crazy this year, you know you could have planned a little better for their arrival.

So, now what?

Here are some tips on how to re-engage with your intern:

1. Start the relationship over – take them to lunch!

  • Get to know them! Where do they want their career to start? What is their dream job? If they could work for any company/ industry, what would it be?

2. Take the time to set the context for upcoming projects

  • Sometimes tasks given to interns seem like the “projects that no one wants”. Make it feel special (in an authentic way!)
  • Take some time to share about why those projects REALLY matter or choose a project that would benefit your team and speak to your interns interests!

3. Have some new resources available

  • You’ve got two goals here: You want your intern to be successful with the new project you’ve given and you want to show thoughtfulness (that you’ve prepared for giving this new project)

4. Offer and ask for feedback – and not too late, either!

  • Give your intern actionable feedback with real examples – it help them to be successful in the future! Make sure to give some positive feedback too
  • Ask them for feedback on what you’ve done well and what else they would have appreciated

Try out these tips and let us know your best strategies for engaging with interns!

Helpful Feedback

good-better

Giving feedback is tricky business.

According to Merriam-Webster.com, feedback has 2 distinct definitions:

Helpful information or criticism that is given to someone to say what can be done to improve a performance, product, etc.

 

An annoying and unwanted sound caused by signals being returned to an electronic sound system

Ever given feedback that fit the second definition more closely than the first? You aren’t the only one. In the article, “How to Give Effective Feedback, Both Positive and Negative“, Alina Tugend from the New York Times looks at the many ways feedback can be misinterpreted, misused, and how to give it correctly.

Instead of a ‘praise sandwich’- sandwiching the bad stuff between two areas that are going well- feedback needs to be, “precise and timely enough so that it’s helpful but neutral enough so that it’s not perceived as harshly critical”.  

To take some of the scary out of giving feedback, Alina suggests to think of feedback from a different lens, “If we look at feedback as an opportunity to make someone work better rather than feel better, we’re more likely to do it successfully”.

Where do you struggle when giving feedback? What have you found helpful when giving feedback?