Written by Sarah Mania
Starting a new internship can be tough. Interns must learn the lay of the land, while businesses must get used to working with new people. Having an internship plan can help ease the stress, especially if it includes time for onboarding.
What is onboarding?
Onboarding (also known as orientation) takes place at the beginning of an internship. It’s a short period of time when interns become familiar with the business and everything they’ll be doing.
Why should onboarding be part of my internship plan?
An internship plan should include onboarding because throwing a new intern right into the mix of things can result in chaos and confusion. Onboarding lets you be sure your new interns have enough information to handle their responsibilities. It can also be a chance for you to be truly positive that each intern is the best fit for your company.
Say you run a technology company that requires interns to know some coding. Part of your onboarding process could include asking interns to fix a coding problem with a mock website. If you see that one of your interns seems to be having trouble with this task, the onboarding period gives you time to fix the problem before you’re too deep into the actual internship.
What happens during onboarding?
What happens during onboarding is up to whoever is in charge of interns. But typical onboarding activities include busy work (setting up email accounts, completing paperwork, etc.) as well as declaring specific projects your interns will be working on.
If your interns are in a physical office, this is the time for you to give them their own workspaces. Make sure they have access to any tools they’ll need, like a computer, phone, and office supplies. Having their own spaces lets interns feel that they really are part of the company.
How does onboarding work for virtual companies?
Although the internship plan for a virtual company will likely be different than that for a physical company, it should still include onboarding.
One service virtual companies could consider is Basecamp, an online project management tool. Basecamp allows you to post important documents for interns to find. There are spaces to put instructions for onboarding activities, as well as message threads, which can be used for individual topics or questions.
Making time for onboarding sets interns (and you!) up for success. It shows that part of your company culture is to look out for its employees. And who wouldn’t want to work for a business that cares?
If you have more questions about setting up your internship plan, or if you’re looking for interns, check out our website!