Posts tagged ‘business’

Guidelines for internships: managing interns well

By internships.com writer

Sometimes the work assigned to interns is less than glamorous–data entry, research, scheduling appointments, copying and collating, etc.  As any manager of interns knows, these tasks are the building blocks of critical business projects.  Interns, however, may not understand this yet.  There is a term that these interns, some of them just out of high school, are probably all too familiar with: busy-work.

A common complaint among students is that their teachers give them “busy-work” – work with no other purpose than to keep them busy.  When interns are assigned tasks like photocopying, they might assume it’s busy-work and therefore, unimportant, and this attitude is sure to negatively impact their enthusiasm, commitment, and ultimately, their entire experience. 

That’s why it’s important to explain to your interns that these types of tasks are actually essential steps to accomplishing the critical work objectives of your company.  For instance, when I ask an intern to collect data and enter it into an Excel spreadsheet, I always explain before they begin the project what the data will be used for and why it’s important.  I tell the student how the data will be analyzed and what decisions will be made based on the data.  Whenever possible, I invite the intern to participate in those meetings or conversations, so they can observe the life of their work after completion.

It’s important to explain the larger impact of a task before an intern starts  a project.  This will help them to understand why it’s important to finish the task efficiently and with integrity.  In my experience I have found this always leads to a better product and a happier, more engaged intern.

Everyone wants to know they are contributing to the larger business objectives or bottom line of a company, including interns.  For an intern, this is probably their first foray into the business world and they probably have high expectations.  By teaching the interns that tasks such as data entry and appointment scheduling are a vital step to accomplishing company-wide goals, they will feel invested and important.  The intern will also learn a lot more about how business gets done, not just data entry!

February 11, 2010 at 8:23 pm Leave a comment


About this blog

This blog is dedicated to employers with a focus on how to hire and manage interns effectively. We will have a variety of experts who will share helpful ideas, tips and more. We invite you to comment, ask questions and share your experiences. You are also welcome to submit written contributions to this blog.

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