Hiring and Managing Interns for Your Business
Benefits of Hiring Interns
Does your company wish to build a strong pipeline of talent? Hire interns. Offering internships is an excellent way to reach a wide pool of qualified candidates—promising interns can be converted to permanent employees after they graduate.
Furthermore, interns can serve as loyal ambassadors for your company, thus increasing your brand recognition. Since word of mouth spreads fast, others may come to be acquainted with your company through your intern’s glowing testimonials.
There is one caveat, though! You have to treat interns as more than just “cheap labour”. Deliberate effort has to be put in when planning the internship program to boost your interns’ professional development. They must have the opportunity to do meaningful work and make a difference.
How to Hire and Manage Interns
An opportune time to hire interns from local universities is from now until early August. These university students will be having their summer breaks then. However, this is not the only period to hire interns. Polytechnic students have their holidays either from end-February to April or end-August to October.
Moreover, ensure that your interns are well-compensated. The typical range for an internship stipend is $800 to $1,000 per month. Take note that students undergoing internships as part of their school requirements need not be paid CPF contributions because they’re not covered under the Employment Act.
If your company is a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) with less than 200 employees and at least 30% local shareholding, you can qualify for the Global Ready Talent Programme (GRT). Under the GRT, you stand to receive 70% grant support for the monthly internship stipend paid to your interns.
Although interns are not full-time employees, they are nonetheless a crucial part of your workforce. Here are 3 tips for managing the interns you've hired:
1. Set Clear Expectations
Onboarding your interns is vital. You should organise an orientation session and brief your interns about relevant company policies. Introduce them to the respective teams they will be working closely with as well.
You should also lay out your expectations for your interns from the very first day of the internship. You can convey this via a roadmap which covers the entire duration of the internship, whether it be several weeks or several months. The roadmap will show your interns what they can hope to accomplish by the end of the internship.
2. Check In Regularly
After you have laid out the roadmap, there’s still a need to check in with your interns on a regular basis. Some interns with a shyer disposition may be reluctant to approach you and surface any difficulties they’re having. Therefore, these periodic reviews will help you keep a pulse on your intern's progress.
Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your interns either once a week or biweekly. As a manager juggling a myriad of responsibilities, you may feel pressed for time. Yet it is essential to give your interns an avenue to raise their concerns, even if the meeting only lasts for 15 minutes.
During these check-ins, give constructive feedback to your interns. Evaluate their performance on projects which you have assigned to them. Which tasks were done well? What areas need improvement? Remember to be gracious when your interns fumble or fail to meet certain expectations; they’re still new to the corporate world!
3. Be a Mentor
By mentoring interns, you not only refine your people management skills but also showcase your unique company culture. Your interns will recognise that your company is growth-oriented and highly invested in every employee.
The first step is to learn more about the interns whom you are in charge of. Find out their career aspirations—and whether they plan to work in this industry after graduation. When you take interest in your interns’ long-term career vision, you can then take steps to support them.
It may be as simple as sharing your extensive experience with your interns or giving them advice on how to achieve their goals. Expand their professional network by inviting them to seminars and conferences wherever possible.
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