Perfman HR: Internships

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perfman-hr-internsTaking advantage of your company's internship programs presents both you and your interns with a win-win proposition:

The intern learns important job skills, while you gain a valuable resource for your department and possibly a new hire if the intern proves worthy.  Taking advantage of your company's internship programs presents both you and your interns  with a win-win proposition: The intern learns important job skills, while you gain a valuable  resource for your department — and possibly a new hire if the intern proves worthy. Now increasingly available both to high school students and to recent college graduates, internships have long been considered  an essential adjunct of the college curriculum.

They provide hands-on work experience that complements a course of study, build confi-dence, and help students put their abilities to the test. Consequently, a good internship—for  a reputable company or one with strong learning opportunities—is highly sought after. As an indication of just how strong their appeal can be, consider the New York Yankees, who get more than 4,000 internship applications for just 20 positions. For employers, internships hold comparable appeal, not the least because of the fresh ideas and positive energy interns supply, which can boost employee morale and motivation. Interns are not jaded; they're often thrilled to lend a hand. They can do research or support marketing efforts that will help you launch projects that have been on the back burner.

By shouldering lower-level work, interns can also make your existing staff more productive. At the same time, employees overseeing interns can gain supervisory experience and improve project-management skills. Interns can boost the diversity of your work force, build relationships with schools and colleges, and increase  our company's visibility among other students, who will soon enter the work force. Offering an internship also allows you to try out a young employee before bringing him or her permanently on board. Internships can last from one month to one year, although a semester is average. Some students earn academic credit and some don't. Some earn a salary and others work for free.

Some companies offer non-monetary perks, such as housing, free products, time with CEOs, or invitations to special events. When creating your own internship program, remember that the best internships provide substantive work for the interns, so that they make a contribution even as they're building their skills. A good internship program should involve interns in day-to-day operations and expose them to different aspects of your company. Start by asking your employees to come up ith a list of jobs that interns could tackle — think of all those projects you've been too shorthanded to accomplish. Establish the expectation among your staff that interns will benefit the company and do meaningful work.

Designate one person on your staff to be in charge of the program and to manage the interns. Expect that they will spend three to four hours a week supervising one or two interns, and block out an additional two hours for each additional intern. When deciding how many interns to hire, factor in supervisory time, the amount of work you can assign, and the resources you'll need. Set aside adequate work space with access to computers and other equipment. Be sure to budget funds for recruitment, compensation, and incentives and rewards. It's important to treat an intern as more than just the office grunt. Make sure that no more than 25 percent of the intern's time is spent on duties of a clerical or repetitive nature, such as selling, stock-keeping, telemarketing, or data entry. Some colleges and universities, especially those that offer academic credit for internships, require that employers sign a written agreement outlining measurable learning objectives.

CRUNCHING NUMBERS WITH INTERNS At PricewaterhouseCoopers, the world's largest professional-services firm, interns don't simply report for work. They start out in Landsdown, Virginia, with a challenging week-anda- half "boot camp." Recruits—that is, interns—tough it out together for long hours every day. Once on the job, interns are given older mentors as well as peer group mentors. They learn critical skills as members of client teams, including developing strategies and doing financial analysis. Another auditing and accounting giant, Ernst & Young, specifically recruits interns who possess the same values as their employees—the desire to pursue professionalism in all matters. As a result, 90 percent of their interns become full-time employees. SOURCE: "They Love It Here, and Here and Here," BusinessWeek Online (June 4, 2006).

CRUNCHING NUMBERS WITH INTERNS

At PricewaterhouseCoopers, the world's largest professional-service firm, interns don't simply report for work. They start out in Landsdown Virginia, with a challenging week-anda- half "boot camp." Recruits—that is, interns — tough it out together for long hours every day. Once on the job, interns are given older mentors as well as peer group mentors. They learn critical skills as members of client teams, including developing strategies and doing financial analysis. Another auditing and accounting giant, Ernst & Young, specifically recruits interns who possess the same values as their employees—the desire to pursue professionalism in all matters. As a result, 90 percent of their interns become full-time employees.

SOURCE: "They Love It Here, and Here and Here," BusinessWeek Online.

CREATING "GAME" COMPETITORS

In an effort to attract the nation's top young talent, a number of companies, such as L'Oreal, began sponsoring competitions that involve business simulation games. By emphasizing such qualities as teamwork and problem-solving, these games pinpoint the outstanding candidates among participating undergraduates, graduate students, and MBAs. L'Oreal offers three separate games, each with a different focus: e-Strat Challenge, a marketing strategy game; Brandstorm, in which students become marketing managers for Lancôme; and Ingenious, which requires students to oversee an engineering project. So far, the company's efforts have paid off:

In 2006, according to Ronald Alsop in the Wall Street Journal, e-Strat Challenge, "attracted almost 40,000 students from 1,000 schools in 125 countries." Brandstorm has generated approximately 350 L'Oreal hires and interns, e-Strat generated another 200, and Ingenius has resulted in.

SOURCE: "Recruiters Are Using Games to Assess MBAs" by Ronald Alsop, Wall Street Journal Online.

 

PLANNING FOR INTERNS

Providing interns the support they need makes all the difference. These are a few key things you can do to ensure the success of your internship program:

• Assign interns real work.

• Set measurable learning objectives.

• Provide detailed explanations of their assignments.

• Offer constructive feedback on their performance.

• Assign them to an experienced advisor with the time to teach and guide them.

• Give them the appropriate tools—desk, chair, phone, computer, or the like.

 

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Sonal Aurora is director and founder of Perfman HR. Indian Executive Search CompanyPerfman HR is headquartered in Mumbai. Our aim is to connect, engage, retain and develop talent. We offer the following services: Recruitments, Industry Data Mapping, Devising Performance Bonus Systems, Psychometric Test Development, Framing Policies, Drafting HR Policy and Procedures in the HR Manual, Hiring Support.

 

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This article was published on 2010/12/20