Internships provide an exciting opportunity to students to discover their true calling and passions. In an internship, a student gets first-hand experience of how an organisation works in a professional world. You become an employee of that company or organisation during the period of the internship. This builds a clear idea in the student’s minds regarding the experience they are going to have after they start working full-time in that particular field after the completion of their degree.
Hiring interns is not only beneficial for the interns themselves, but also for the employers. While interns gain a lot of valuable experience, the company gets its work done efficiently by a young workforce at a far lesser cost than what would have been required to hire experienced professionals. A proper system and a few healthy practices are a must for a successful internship programme.
Taking and providing regular feedback is one such practice that is of immense importance to both the stakeholders involved. Feedback from either side helps to set up a healthy work environment and ensures progress and improvement.
The company that designed an internship programme did it to fulfil a particular task in mind. Thus, it can often end up overlooking the problems and difficulties faced by an intern. It has been often observed that organisations that merely assign work and set a deadline for the interns are disliked by interns.
When there is a lack of proper feedback or communication, the interns feel that they are being ignored and left out. This is harmful to the company in the long run as it can lead to difficulty in recruiting efficient interns because of its bad reputation. Also, interns will fail to become efficient employees of the organisation. There is a high possibility that this will lead to a fall in the standard of the company’s work. Lowering work standards for interns is detrimental to onboarding professional expertise from their respective fields into the company. This has a direct impact on the company under which they are working.
A company that can set up an efficient feedback loop will get constant updates from its interns regarding the problems of the programme. If the interns inform the company regularly regarding the obstacles and hardships being faced by them, it will help them improve the system accordingly.
For example, if the interns inform that there is a lack of efficient training, which is hampering their ability to produce quality results and realising their full potential, the company can then arrange for a workshop that will train the interns extensively in the work they are supposed to do. The professional expertise they gain will be reflected in their work, which in turn will improve the company’s performance as a whole.
These capable interns are also potential full-time workers for the company in the future. Sometimes, interns might report that the internship is not providing diverse opportunities to them. They might say that the programme is forcing them to stick to the same type of work within a limited field. The company, upon understanding this, can tweak the nature of the work assigned to the interns.
This will offer a variety of tasks to the interns and allow them to work in diverse fields. Some of them might even be able to discover new skills and passions that they themselves had no idea about earlier. They might begin working in some other department and deliver great results. Even for those who do not do so, any sort of boredom will be eliminated from their work. This will enhance their performance manifold as bored employees are highly unlikely to produce satisfactory results.
If a company collects feedback from its interns at regular intervals over a period of time, it will provide the company with a clear picture of the shortcomings of the programme. Necessary improvements can then be easily made to fine-tune the programme. This will make the internship much more appealing in the future and allow it to produce more capable candidates.
Incoming feedback should preferably be left open-ended. This will help the interns in expressing themselves freely. A healthy and open work environment must be set up that develops a cordial relation between the company authorities and interns. An atmosphere that allows comfortable and open communication is ideal to ensure holistic improvement.
A huge percentage of interns, nowadays, experience a lack of concrete feedback. They yearn for someone to guide them where they can improve themselves and how. Companies must understand that interns are essentially students who need attention and guidance to perfect themselves. The responsibility of shaping these novices into professionals lies with the company. The company authorities must leave their door open for interns to mail them with queries on any topic. They must interact personally with the interns regularly to correct their mistakes as well as to praise them where it’s due.
If companies learn to broaden their viewpoint and look upon the interns as trainees, it will result in them doing phenomenal work. Although this does not seem beneficial for the company at first glance from a business perspective, constant enhancement of skill will actually lead to gains for the company that would be beyond their wildest imaginations. Such an internship is the ideal platform where great success stories get built.