The coronavirus pandemic did not merely change the way people live, but it also changed the way they work. If you are managing a company that is fortunate enough to continue to operate, this means that you’ve succeeded in facing that hurdle. However, keep in mind that more challenges will come your way, such as managing work from home employees and offering online internships and training.
Reasons to Go Virtual
Currently, the best way to keep everyone safe from any harm of the virus is to stay at home. It is also beneficial for your company as you are able to save on energy costs from your physical office. Moreover, deciding on creating virtual internships for students allows you to give them a worthwhile learning experience while being stuck in their homes.
More students are concerned about how their career would move forward because hiring is on hold, and finding internship opportunities have become difficult. Giving them that chance to work for your company can be helpful in both your situations.
Strategies for an Effective Virtual Internships
If you’re a company wanting to transition into hosting virtual internships and are looking for some tips on how to turn it into a success, consider following these strategies:
Step 1: Be clear with your objectives
Every successful business effort starts with a solid plan, and all plans have clear objectives. Now that situations are shifting and your company needs to adapt to the changes, you should begin by setting clear goals for your company and employees. In addition to supporting your team, that plan should also include what the students should expect from your virtual internship.
Once you have that precise set of goals, you need to communicate them thoroughly to your interns. It doesn’t matter whether you have yet to finalize your programs, as long as you’re transparent to all your employees you’ll better manage their expectations. If there’s one crucial aspect of working online, it is clear communication.
Step 2: Design your internship program to accommodate both your needs
Design your internship program similar to how you’d have it usually (in person), yet make little adjustments to make it work online. Start with your objective, which should benefit both the student and your organization. You’ll serve both if each of you can bring a new perspective to work.
Keep in mind also that students will have a positive experience in their internships if:
- They feel part of the team
- People appreciate the work they’ve done
Taking these into consideration, here are some suggestions on what to include in your program:
- Access to project management tools and company email
- Regular one-on-one with a supervisor
- Daily updates about completed work via chat
- Mid-internship check-in with the department head
- End of internship presentation to the team
Having all these will give your interns a sense of responsibility, belonging, and something to look forward to!
Step 3: Ensure proper onboarding
Although you cannot introduce your intern to the rest of the team with a quick handshake as you traditionally would, it is still essential to make them feel welcomed and comfortable. You can do a remote onboarding meeting with them where you’ll introduce yourself, the company, their roles, and responsibilities plus what they should expect from the whole internship program.
It would also be helpful if you’ll casually introduce them to the entire team by a chat or verbal announcement during a team meeting. Making a LinkedIn post on your company page is also an exciting way to formally welcome your interns!
Continued education plus mentorship are what students look forward to in their internships, whether it is the traditional setting or a virtual one. Since an online internship program is a new process for your organization, don’t be afraid to experiment and observe what works best for the whole business. You can then adjust accordingly based on your learnings, but always give a heads up to everyone involved.
You can also partner with Virtual Internships to help you promote your international work from home internships. At Virtual Internships, we aim to boost global employability and remain local. Get in touch with us today, and we’ll help your company set projects that students will find interesting and support you every step of the way!