With the end of summer comes the end of summer interns in offices everywhere. For many businesses, especially start-ups, summer interns are key players. My own business has been significantly improved this summer by five interns from across the country who dove head first into working for a start-up full-time.
I gave great thought in creating a program for our interns that not only enhanced my business but these interns’ educational experience as well. I’ve realized that what’s often missing in any internship program, though, is the proper way to wrap it up.
So as you bid farewell to your summer interns, consider these tips and tricks to ensure your interns leave with a great experience and you’ve created good relationships for your company long term.
• Say thank you! It’s easy to forget that these young men and women are working for your business or department for free or next to nothing. Don’t take that for granted. Take the time even just to order pizza to say thank you or to take them to lunch. It means a lot!
• Write your recommendations now. It may be that your interns will later ask you for a recommendation next year for graduate school, etc. Take the time to put pen to paper now while their accomplishments are fresh in your head. Save it so you can access it later.
• Consider a formal review process at the end of the program. While the interns likely won’t be staying on with your business into the school year, you can give them valuable feedback for their next position by conducting a professional review.
• Quantify what interns are doing and what will then need to get reallocated to other staff. Your interns are working 40 hours a week, and while some of their projects may be one-time things, they are likely doing some work that must be ongoing. You’ll need to have a plan to transition that work to other interns in the fall, or to existing staff (or yourself). Be cognizant of the balls that may drop when your interns leave.
For many start-ups, internships can be a powerful funnel for future paid staff. Taking the time to give them not only a great experience, but a great farewell may mean they’re more likely to return upon graduation.
Marcy Twete is the founder/CEO of Career Girl Network and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works," to be released in summer 2013.