Prepare for your intern’s arrival:
- Share joining information (e.g. where they should report to on their first day, dress code, what they will be doing on their first day, anything they can read in advance, etc)
- Meet/speak with your intern to understand their expectations, your expectations and what you are both looking to achieve, discuss the project or day to day tasks, understand any concerns
- For shorter periods, prepare a Work Plan – including training to support them in their role, projects, activities and other tasks. This is a key way to ensure the internship produces the best outcomes for you and the intern, so don’t forget to ask colleagues for their input
- Prepare their induction programme (see below)
- Schedule time in for regular reviews (especially in the first few weeks and if working remotely)
- Brief colleagues who will be working with the intern
- Consider practical elements such as a workstation, ID card, telephone, checking insurance, etc
- Assign a buddy to answer any 'silly questions' and assist with integrating into the team and developing professional networks, and/or a mentor to support questions around career choices and share their journey
- Answer any outstanding queries from an HR/employment perspective at www.gov.uk
A good induction includes:
- Information on the organisation – its structure, values, business objectives, history
- Introduction to key contacts, senior staff, relevant teams and other intern/placement students
- Tour of your facilities – break-out areas, where to get food, location of toilets, fire exits
- Health & Safety information is a legal requirement. You will need to share any risk assessment explaining risks and how they are controlled and advising them on how to raise Health & Safety concerns. A new risk assessment should be carried out if there is not already one in place which covers the activities to be undertaken by the intern. You may also take the opportunity of hosting an intern to review your existing risk assessments, particularly if they present any new factors to consider, or if you are making reasonable adjustments
- Expectations – time keeping, taking and receiving telephone calls, absence, use of internet and email etiquette, smoking and eating, dealing with difficulties.
- Behaviours – professional, respectful, listening, ask for help, working with others
- Duties, day-to-day activities and project objectives
- Meeting their buddy, if appropriate
- Hear from a previous or newer member of staff about their experiences, what is expected and about how best to transition into your team and organisation. Involve current intern/placement student in handover
- Share relevant policies - e.g. flexible working/work from home, wellbeing, equality and diversity
- Think about how keep connected to other staff and foster learning through social and staff networks, virtual coffee catch ups and WhatsApp group.
A well-designed induction is time well-invested, as your intern will transition and become productive much more quickly.
Arriving to start an internship may be an intimidating experience, so a good induction should seek to familiarise the intern with the organisation and its culture, answer any questions and clearly set out your expectations of them. You can always use the feedback from other interns about what they found most useful or would have liked to have known.
It should also introduce them to the people they will be working with, and the social environment they inhabit.