One of the best ways to ensure your internship program benefits everyone involved: Be willing to learn from your interns as they’re learning from you. We’ve been practicing that during summer internship season here at Talmetrix, and so far it’s been a total success.
When we thought about starting an internship program, we knew we wanted to leverage some of the brightest young talent on the market, and we were aware that as we develop more products, we’ll need to know what millennials and the generation that follows are thinking. We knew fostering young talent would give us a fresh perspective on employee engagement, talent management and workplace connectivity, and a chance to assess potential new employees.
We worked with the University of Cincinnati’s business school to get plugged in to great internship candidates. The Carl H. Lindner College of Business offers an accelerated master’s program where students study for 12 months and then spent six months in practical internships applying everything they’ve learned.
4 Ways We Keep Our Interns Engaged
As a company focused on helping employers build and maintain employee engagement, we take engaging our interns very seriously. Because their roles are temporary by definition, it can be a challenge to keep interns interested and plugged into the work they’re doing — and understand how they’re making a difference.
Here’s what Talmetrix does to keep our interns engaged throughout their time with us:
- Provide a mentor. This person serves as a kind of homeroom teacher and is responsible for giving the intern assignments, coaching and feedback.
- Integrate interns as fully as possible. We don’t want to set up an island where the interns are off working on a project that doesn’t contribute to the company’s goals. We include them in our teams and help them understand the big picture. In turn, they get the full picture of how our business operates.
- Assign them meaningful, value-added work. We do for them what we do for all our employees. Their assignments incorporate things we want them to learn and specific deliverables. Interns produce something of value to the company, such as a presentation, report or update.
- Stay open to feedback. We stress that our interns should be providing us feedback. They’re here to learn, but there’s a lot we can learn from them, too.
What Our Interns Say
One of our summer interns, Ashish Sharma, is pursuing his master’s degree in information systems and a graduate certificate in data analytics at the University of Cincinnati. The meaningful work he’s done has helped him hone his skills, he says. “I had a fairly strong understanding of data analytics at the time that I joined Talmetrix, but the firm has really helped me bring my skills to the forefront by assigning ownership of several tasks to me.”
He says our culture has made a big impression on him as well. “Talmetrix has open communication channels where seeking guidance or providing input to others is pretty easy.”
Another intern, Ayusman Vikramjeet, is pursuing a master’s degree in information systems at the University of Cincinnati. He’s worked for Talmetrix as a product analyst, developing and enhancing our product suite by looking at competitive analysis, data analysis and research on new product features.
“The most fun part of my internship is the ability to do intelligent, inventive and creative work,” Ayusman says. “My work is always appreciated. And people around me are super awesome and helpful.”
And, Ayusman says working at a startup has provided him with new perspectives such as how different business departments work together.
What I’ve Learned From Our Interns
One of the things I learned this summer was the importance of big data. I’m a little old-school — just give me an Excel spreadsheet and a bar chart and I’m good. But I’ve discovered there’s so much new capability available to harness data to help inform and educate business decisions. I’m excited to use the lessons I’ve learned from our interns about how to present and share data that tells stories. This new knowledge has made me a better leader and given me new ways to improve Talmetrix.
Want to learn more about keeping people engaged? Download our guide.
Talmetrix is an employee feedback and insights solution that helps organizations better attract and retain talent to achieve business goals. Our solution makes it easy for organizations to capture employee feedback (feelings) and organizational data (facts) to discover actionable insights. With a unique combination of software, content, data, and advisory support we can help you measure and improve your employee experience. Contact us today to learn how your company can start achieving better business results.
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