Creating the Perfect Remote Internship
The developments in technology have truly changed the workplace as we know it and the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic has truly catapulted this to a whole new level, with the government encouraging employees to work from home.
Interns were also part of this new regulation in early 2020, which forced many companies to create virtual internships for students looking to find work experience placements in their desired fields.
Despite the initial apprehension, virtual internships have opened up a vast number of opportunities for companies who never considered hiring interns previously – and what’s more, there is no longer the restriction of physical location which opens applications to a wider scope of talent.
It’s natural for employers to struggle with the changes from physical to virtual learning when hiring new interns since almost all of the activity is fulfilled through a screen as opposed to in-office. In this blog, we’re going to provide some guidelines on the evolving practices for creating the perfect remote internship:
Provide structure and communicate
As interns are unable to be in the physical presence of managers, employers need to be on hand throughout the working day, either via video call, email or text message to give interns the support they require. Managers should aim to break down projects into more feasible tasks for interns to stay in control of their workload and prevent them from becoming overwhelmed. Project management tools such as Asana and Slack are useful to help interns stay in the loop and stay on track.
Secondly, there is no such thing as ‘over-communicating’ with your new intern. They will appreciate the constant interaction as it shows you are available to give support – which is especially important if they have no previous experience in the field.
Managers and employers should mentor their interns and provide networking opportunities to enhance career progression. It would be useful for the intern to be introduced to a wide variety of people both in-house and eternally (through email or professional platforms such as LinkedIn) to broaden their horizons
.Giving your intern opportunities and moulding them into your company’s style not only boosts their personal growth but could work in your favour too, should you ever wish to hire them on a full-time basis after their placement has ended.
Give regular feedback
One of the best ways to enhance your intern’s knowledge base and skill set is to provide regular feedback on either a weekly or monthly basis.
While you may be eager to get your point across as to how they could do better, it is never a good idea to focus solely on the negatives, as it could significantly knock their confidence and even make them reconsider whether this niche is their most suitable line of work.
Instead, offer constructive feedback pointers on how they may be able to improve certain aspects, alongside plenty of praise on where they performed well.
Learn from the previous year
As you continue to hire virtual interns, you may wish to evaluate what worked and where advancements could be made for the next onboarding phase.
As virtual internships may be an entirely new concept for your company, it may still be a case of trial and error to amend blips and achieve a much smoother placement next time around.
Find out what worked well for your team (and perhaps what didn’t) and strive for new ways to accomplish your goals.