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Build an Internship Program

Create high-quality internship experiences that work to create tangible business value.

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Contributors

  • Cecilia Salazar, Talent Acquisition, Dell
  • Gemma Jimenez, Talent Acquisition, Dell
  • Laura Hansen-Kohls, Senior Manager, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Derek Jaiko, Student Advisor, Cooperative Education, University of Waterloo
  • Sarah Dawson, Team Coordinator and Career Counselor, Student Success Centre, Western University
  • Craig Ingram, Associate Director & Career Advisor, Ivey School of Business
  • Andrea Remark, Career Advisor, Ivey School of Business
  • Stephanie Shrum, Career Advisor, Ivey School of Business
  • Kyla Brooks, Career Advisor, Ivey School of Business
  • Danielle Devries, Client Relations Associate, Ivey School of Business
  • Helen Topor, Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources, Salem Five Bank
  • Brian Garside, IT Manager, Info-Tech Research Group

Your Challenge

  • Internships are on the rise. Companies that face a shortage of skilled labor with key competencies use internships to build their employer brand and strengthen talent pipelines to high-value candidates. Meanwhile, prospective employees facing a difficult labor market covet internships as the means to gain work experience in a new field or industry.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • A high-quality internship experience is one that maximizes shared value. Firms maximize shared value when they create economic value for themselves in a way that creates social value.
  • The tangible business value of internship programs all hinges on ensuring that the intern has a positive experience. Design the program carefully, align organizational goals and learning objectives, and supervise the intern effectively to ensure a positive outcome.

Impact and Result

  • Get the project done quickly and carefully by focusing on goals and outcomes. Internship programs fail when organizations are not clear about the goals of the program or its learning outcomes, and when they fail to mentor and supervise interns effectively.
  • A successful program does not need to be time-consuming so long as key elements are in place. Internships that work have a clearly defined work-plan, a diligent recruiting process, and an effective framework for intern supervision and mentoring.

Research & Tools

1. Make the case to decide whether an internship program is right for your organization

Decide whether the program is right for your organization.

2. Design an internship work-plan

Build an internship work plan that identifies projects and responsibilities, learning outcomes, and work-relevant candidate skills.

3. Prepare and conduct interviews, and onboard interns effectively to integrate them into your team

Recruit and onboard interns that work for your organization.

4. Manage interns diligently to ensure the creation of shared value

Put in place an effective management process.

5. Transition effectively to assess the continued success of your program

Record lessons learned to improve the success of the program.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a five call advisory process.

Call #1 - Make the case for the internship program

Make a concise case for the program. Understand how internships create shared value for businesses, interns, and communities. Assess whether you have the resources to support the program, and identify program goals and metrics.

Call #2 - Design an internship work plan

Identify potential projects, intern responsibilities, and learning experiences. Outline the learning outcomes that you expect the internship program to create, and identify relevant skills that internship candidates should exhibit.

Call #3 - Prepare and conduct interviews, and onboard interns effectively

Prepare a reliable recruitment process and job description, develop an onboarding plan, and prepare an onboarding survey.

Call #4 - Manage interns diligently to ensure the creation of shared value

Put in place a reasonable intern management plan that will improve your chances of success.

Call #5 - Transition effectively to assess the continued success of your program

Prepare an intern exit survey, and record lessons learned to improve the future success of the program.

Search Code: 74340
Published: August 11, 2014
Last Revised: August 11, 2014