As employers shift their intern programs from in-office settings to remote destinations, motivating students is a must. Without the means to oversee their hourly activities, employers are scrambling to keep their interns engaged and eager to perform well. To push your virtual internship program towards success, keep the following checklist items in mind.
Item #1 – Use a Project Management Tool
Before kicking your digital internships into full gear, you’ll want to brainstorm task delegation, progress tracking, and collaboration. With a project management tool, you and your interns can stay on track.
Before your internship launch, familiarize your interns with your business philosophies and new onboarding materials. Get to know who you’re working with by introducing them to your brand culture.
Item #2 – Set Up Your System (and Expectations)
It’s important to brief your prospective interns on their upcoming tasks and give them an idea of what they can expect. Similarly, allow them to express what they expect of you. From here, you can invest in the appropriate tools to help steer them in the right direction.
If they’re expecting to reach you at any time of the day, set up an instant messaging or video conferencing app. If they want to reflect on their performance, install a progress tracker.
Item #3 – Prepare a Work From Home Stipend
Though virtual internships eliminate the need to commute, not every student will be fully-equipped with a desk, laptop, and other appropriate materials. Set a budget for providing your students with the tools they need.
Item #4 – Foster a Consistent Online Culture
If you’ve previously hosted internships in-office, incorporate the same productive culture virtually. Share information regarding employee resource groups (ERG) that your interns can utilize.
Item #5 – Train Your Interns and Managers
Training an intern can comprise of anything from learning the proper video call conduct, to fostering the appropriate at-home set-up. Don’t limit training to intern – train your managers as well. Host a kickoff meeting before your internship program commences. Equip them with the best engagement practices and host virtual social activities throughout the working day. If necessary, pair interns up with an onboarding buddy.
Item #6 – Host Social Meetings
Without the means to interface with interns in person, find creative ways to get to know them: host virtual breakfasts, coffee breaks, or water cooler discussions over Zoom. Create a set of activities or questions for each breakout group.
Item #7 – Offer Career Opportunities
Most interns undergo on-the-job training in their junior or senior year. If you can make a full-time offer after the program’s duration, let students know before starting. If your interns are actively considering a role in the future, they’ll be more likely to perform well.
By providing valuable opportunities to potential interns across the country, your company has an equal chance to demonstrate leadership and initiative. Especially amid economic downturns and unpredictable environments, virtual methods of career growth are imperative for success. Once internships are over, maintain working relationships with your trainees by offering regular advice and mentorship.
At Virtual Internships, digital opportunities are plentiful. Whether you’re developing a new high school internship program or reaching out to global talent, you can expand operations and continue to work locally. Check out our resources for more tips on how to successfully host remote interns!