There’s a ton of information out there for young folks on how to get the most out of their internship opportunities, but there’s very little in the way of guidance for businesses in terms of how they can enhance their experience with interns.
However, the fine folks at Time have released a short guide that can help your company truly benefit from having an intern on staff:
Make it educational: While it may be tempting to use the intern to run errands, interns benefit most from learning opportunities where they can receive real world experience and develop new skills.
Encourage networking: While you may have hired the intern to help out with a payroll project, allowing them to meet with managers from other departments can help them to better understand how their work impacts the business as a whole.
Make it to meetings: One easy way to accomplish the two above goals is to invite the intern to sit in on meetings, provided they are not sensitive in nature (such as financial discussions or news of an upcoming super-secret project).
Get organized: Before you even hire an intern, make sure that your company has an organized internship program in place. At the bare minimum, your program should provide the intern with clear goals in terms of what is expected of them; opportunities for hands-on experience, and feedback on their progress towards these goals.
Employee Pipeline: Rather than just viewing interns as short term employees, you should view the internship experience as an extended interview for a potential new hire! Just think, in the months that you have an intern in your midst, you will learn far more about them than any interview could ever tell you.