Unengaged interns can be a huge headache for any company. An internship is an exciting time to teach an industry outsider the ropes and it can feel like a slap in the face as a manager if your intern seems unresponsive and lackadaisical.
Read our blog on how to create a successful remote internship here.
Interns don’t want to be unengaged either, they’re excited to join your business and help with day-to-day operations too. But interns don’t join companies just to work, they want to feel like they are part of your team. That their actions matter and affect your business.
Hiring a solo intern can seem like more than enough for your business to handle (especially if you’re an SME). But you may find you can extract much more value and meaning from your internships for both your organization and your interns through group internships.
Here are some reasons why you may want to try one with your next batch of interns.
Teamwork lets you give interns more engaging tasks
A study of teamwork from the University of Central Florida found that teamwork is more effective for tackling complicated objectives than solo work.
A single intern may be just fine for helping to compile lists or putting together presentations that the rest of your office may not have time for. But interns usually want more impactful work, the kind you can only find on a team. But throwing an intern into a pre-established team of current employees on a crucial assignment may not be the best way to go about it.
The same study on teamwork conducted by the University of Central Florida found that one of the factors deemed most important in any team project’s success was mutual trust. If placed on a team with experienced employees, another employee may feel obligated to pick up slack from your intern. This does no good for your team or your intern. A team in this scenario will likely resent your intern for making them take on extra work and an intern may feel increasingly unengaged.
By placing interns in teams of interns you solve two problems at the same time:
- You give interns the engaging work and connections they desire out of their internships.
- You can give your intern teams more complex projects that can enhance your business.
Teams give an intern comfort to speak up
Interns may find it difficult to raise their voice in the office as they are surrounded by people with substantially more work experience.
A team of peers can be a much more nurturing environment for them to learn to speak up. They can learn the negotiating skills required in the office without worrying about how it will affect their relationships with current employees (their mentors). It may also give them more comfortable to speak up to you as a manager if the whole team can come to a consensus.
Teams let interns make more connections
Internships are as much for networking opportunities as they are for learning.
Interns first and foremost want to connect with employees at your company. However, if your company skews older and you are targeting younger interns, you may worry your office culture could be a difficult sell. You can increase the social attractiveness of your business if interns know they are working alongside peers as well.
Who wouldn’t want to network with other driven interns working to make their mark on the world tomorrow?
Teams can help interns hold themselves accountable
The precise reason internships are appealing to interns is because they lack skill and want to gain more. A task that could take a normal employee just a couple of hours could take new interns multiple days to get accomplished. Teams of interns with multiple skillsets can cover each other’s weak areas more efficiently increasing effectiveness across the board.
Not only do teams help to smooth over weak points, but they also can serve as a source of motivation. It’s easy for an intern to feel inadequate when comparing work accomplished to a group of veteran employees. But by comparing themselves to a group of peers, an intern will know exactly what they need to stay with the pack.
And if intern performance is measured based on their team’s performance, they have another source of motivation besides their manager to keep themselves on task.
We want to help you create a great intern team
At Virtual Internships, we connect you with thousands of remote interns from different backgrounds and cultures handpicked for the needs of your business. Our interns have experience in a wide range of fields from IT Project Management to Fashion Design. Every intern has their own career mentor and receives support from our dedicated team.
If you have a project you’ve been dreaming about trying but haven’t had the manpower to do it a team of virtual interns may be just the thing you need. Send us an email and we’ll be more than happy to help you find the future employees you need for the job at no cost to you.