There is one foolproof way to drive your summer internship program into the ground: treat your interns poorly.
If you’d rather have a strong program, attracting top intern talent, you should probably avoid being a horrible boss.
Here are seven ways you should not use your summer interns:
Hire them without a plan.
If you’re hiring interns this summer, you should have an actual need for them. Write out a practical plan of what they will accomplish during their internship. The plan should include specific goals and methods of accomplishing these goals. If you hire interns without a plan, your program will be unorganized and your interns will be unhappy.
Give them irrelevant work.
Your interns applied for a position in your company because they wanted to learn. They want real-world experiences to help them advance their careers. It’s OK to give them busy work like making copies and filing paperwork every once in a while, but these tasks should not fill the bulk of their day. Interns should have opportunities to work on real projects that benefit your company.
Send them on personal errands.
Interns are employed by your company — they are not your personal assistants. Don’t ask them to run to the store for your personal shopping or to Starbucks for a complicated coffee order. They’ll resent you if it happens too often and you’ll lose your interns.
Research for your personal life.
Interns also are not your personal search engine. Don’t ask them to research things, like a gift for your dad for Father’s Day, to make your personal life easier. These things shouldn’t happen at work, anyway. You are just as capable of using Google as they are, and you should do it on your own time.
Neglect learning opportunities.
Spend the summer consistently introducing your interns to new learning opportunities. Provide them with a mentor who will provide insight into the company and the industry. Invite them to meetings, assign them projects, and give them achievable goals. Monitor their progress and give them feedback. Skipping out on any of these opportunities is a disservice to your interns.
Your summer interns should feel just as important to the organization as any other employee. Include them in all of your company events like gatherings and meet-ups. If they feel like part of the team, they’ll enjoy the internship more. Not to mention, they’ll have more interest in remaining with your company at the end of the internship.
Treat them rudely.
Being rude to your interns might be the worst offense of all. As the boss, it is important to remain in control, but there is a fine line between the two. Do not belittle them just because they have the lowest status. Treat your interns with as much respect as any other employee in your company.
Even one of these actions will have negative consequences for your summer internship program. Avoid doing all of them and you will have a much better program as a result.
What are some other ways you should not use your summer interns?