May is the month of graduations, racing and internship beginnings. With summer being the most popular season for internships, most interns are ready to start contributing to your organizations this month or in early June.

“One of the keys to a premier internship program is a thorough and honest interview process, followed by a well-planned and informative onboarding process,” explained Nicole Bieker, vice president of operations at Milliner & Associates. “I do everything I can to warmly welcome our interns into our work family. My goal is to make it impossible for any guests to distinguish between the interns and the full-time employees.”

Planning is vital for internship onboarding. The following tips are to help guide you through the process.

Before arrival
• Set up the intern’s workspace and ensure they have access to necessary technology, software and supplies
• Establish an orientation schedule with staff meetings and welcome lunch
• Send the intern’s bio and information to relevant staff members
• Develop a work plan and tailor the intern’s responsibilities to match their skill set and goals
• Set performance expectations and criteria for evaluations
• Communicate the arrival time, dress code, parking and other information needed for their first day

Day of arrival
Start with an office tour highlighting important areas of the building (break room, restrooms, supply room, etc.). Be sure to go over technology operations, computer/software login information and lunch options. Next, you should go over the organization information, human resources materials and the intern’s role in the workplace.

Organization information
• History, mission, values and objectives
• Office hierarchy illustrated through organizational chart
• Brief overview of each department
• Specific objectives of intern’s department and how they may contribute
• Specific industry jargon
• Company reading materials such as newsletters, annual reports, memos and blogs

Human resources materials
• Written policies and procedures
• Protocols for appropriate behavior, correspondence and work-space maintenance
• Security and confidentiality policies
• Safety regulations
• Human resources paperwork and internship agreement
• Paperwork for academic credit (if needed)

Work information
• Introduce the intern to staff members and include how the intern will be interacting with each of them
• Review the intern’s work plan
    -Have your intern determine their goals and how they plan on completing those goals
    -You may decide to adjust the work plan to tailor it to what the intern wants to learn or develop
• Review the calendar
   -Confirm the intern’s work schedule
   -Go over details of the master calendar and inform them of any important work-related events
   -Resolve any scheduling conflicts that may arise
   -Ask the intern if they have any questions regarding the organization or its calendar

Hattie Hynes, human resources marketing and employee engagement intern at Milliner & Associates, is starting her second internship with the organization this summer. In a recent interview, Hynes described her onboarding experience with the organization.

“Nicole Bieker (mentor) had me write my own internship objectives, or what I wanted to accomplish by the time I completed the program. That made me feel like I was truly a part of the team,” Hynes explained. “It wasn’t at all about what I could give to the company, rather what the company could give to me. Things like that have truly invested me in the success of our company.”

If your organization is looking to start an internship program, or if you’re looking for assistance with improving an existing one, Indiana INTERNnet is here to help. We provide a web site to facilitate student-employer matches at no cost and we also have instructional resources to help you build a stand-out internship program.

Employers can also apply for EARN Indiana funds, a program through the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, and receive reimbursement for up to 50% of an eligible intern’s wages. Students registered on IndianaINTERN.net can fill out a simple form to find out if they are eligible for EARN Indiana.

To register for our free services, visit www.IndianaINTERN.net, or call (317) 264-6852 to speak with our staff about your internship program.

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