The success of an internship largely comes down to how you onboard interns. When designing your new intern onboarding template, it's important to devise a strategy that will help you integrate new interns quickly and allow them start contributing to your business growth as quickly as possible. This article provides an effective onboarding template for successful internships.
What is the new role you are onboarding?
Each intern onboarding process must be tailored to a type of role in order to increase the likelihood of a successful internship. For example, roles which require specialist expertise will require training whereas roles which require collaboration will require individual meetings with the new intern's team members. To facilitate these sessions, a hiring manager should prepare a checklist template of all the training sessions a new intern will need to complete and the co-workers they will need to meet for a given role. The intern onboarding checklist should also include any equipment required by the role so that they can be sourced before the start date. The IT department should also be informed by the HR team about the new starter so that they can create the appropriate company emails. Moreover, to increase retention and satisfaction, the intern's new role and job description must have been clearly explained to them during the hiring process and in their internship agreement so that they know what to expect before starting their new internship.
What to communicate before the start date?
To take stress away from new interns, communicate to them well in advance what to expect on their first day of work and share any information they need to know about what time they should come to the office, who they will meet and if there is a dress code or anything specific to the company culture they should be aware of. For many interns, the internship experience will be the first time they work in a professional environment so this information will help them fit in from day one. The company policies and employee handbook should also be shared in advance to give the new hire as much time as possible to read them. For interns participating remotely, ensure that you've shared workspace log in details and send the appropriate zoom video call links ahead so that they are not locked out of your organisation on their first day. By listing all these items on your new intern onboarding checklist you will streamline your onboarding process, which will also allow you to hire more quickly.
What to do on the first day
It is essential that your company sets a great first impression on your new intern's first day whether this is in person or remote. You can prepare a welcome letter or welcome email which should detail an agenda for the day and contact details of key team members and times for meeting them. At the end of day one, the new intern must be given a plan for remainder of the internship to help them grow into their role and to allow the hr manager to monitor their progress. Check ins and performance reviews should be scheduled as often as is required to ensure your new intern stays on the right track.
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What to do at the end of the first week?
At the end of the first week, schedule a session with your new intern to go through your new hire checklist and review what went well and how the onboarding experience could have been improved. Make sure that the new team member has met all the relevant stakeholders and if not schedule meetings for as soon as possible. Make sure that the new intern is onboard with their plan for the first month and for the remainder of the onboarding period. If your objective is to hire the intern as a full-time employee at the end of the internship, bring this to the attention of the intern as soon as they settle in so that they know it's a possibility they can work towards should they wish to stay with your company.
When is a new intern onboarding complete?
An employee onboarding process usually lasts six months but this is much shorter for internships. Whilst there is no set duration, an intern will be onboarded when they are up to speed with their role and feel as if they are part of the team and your organisation. Onboarding programs should be tailored to roles and should evolve with market conditions to increase the likelihood of your intern offers being accepted. Leverage apps and automation where possible to streamline your human resources department but make sure that your onboarding process remains human. Finally clear and robust internship contracts are essential for a successful intern onboarding. To offer paperless and professional internship contracts to your new interns, sign up to legislate today.
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The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.