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The Internship Checklist: 5 Things Your Spring Internship Must Provide

The Internship Checklist: 5 Things Your Spring Internship Must Provide

You probably have an idea of your perfect internship this spring. Maybe it’s working for a fashion powerhouse. Perhaps you want to work for the Googles and Apples of the world. You could even want to work for a non-profit with a cause. The world is your internship oyster; whatever your interests may be, there’s something out there for you.

Before you commit to an internship this spring, there are five things you need to check off your list. No matter if you want to work for a celeb or the president, here’s what you should look for in the ideal internship:

Opportunity for advancement

Before you take an internship this spring, consider this important question: Will the internship provide you with an opportunity for advancement? Studies show that 61 percent of paid interns receive at least one job offer — a number that you should strive to be a part of. Plus, the chance to land a full-time job is especially important as you embark upon one of your last programs while you’re still in school and eligible to intern. This could be your final shot at gaining employment through an internship. You don’t want to take on just any.

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In order to see if the employer will hire you after your program, you have to do a little digging. Check out what people are saying online, talk to past interns, and even ask your employer these questions directly:

  • What are typical rates of hire after an internship?
  • What do I have to do to continue working in the organization?
  • What traits to you look for when transitioning an intern to a full-time hire?

The answers to these questions will help you to navigate through your program a little better, as well as understand what you have to do to get hired in the end.

Competitive compensation

Pay is no joke. While internships have been plagued with negative stereotypes such as errand or coffee running, the fact is, internships are more than menial work. Your spring internship should provide you with an educational experience, as well as at least federal minimum wage. If you’re paid, you also receive the same rights as a full-time employee, such as protection against discrimination, sexual harassment, and arbitrary dismissal. (Unpaid interns are not seen as employees in the eyes of the law, and therefore do not have the same rights.)

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Paid interns are not only happier, they are also more engaged with their work and have a higher chance at getting hired, with the median salary starting at $51,930. Not too shabby for an entry-level job.

Access to professional development

In the end, internships are supposed to be a learning experience. While having a big name on your resume is obviously a huge benefit, if you’re not learning much from a powerful organization, what good is it in the long-run? Plus, it’s what many professionals want as well: 48 percent want professional development through learning new skills. An additional 30.2 percent of young professionals want the chance to do real work.

Here’s what you should gain in your internship experience this spring: The chance to develop as a professional from company leaders, clients, co-workers, and even customers. This can be done a myriad of ways, from attending conferences to having one-on-one training sessions with your boss. You can also acquire important skills that can transfer to multiple professions, such as social media skills, marketing knowledge, content management system aptitude, and business development expertise. Picking up valuable tech skills, including HTML and CSS, will also help you to be more knowledgeable and stay competitive.

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In addition, studies show that 47.3 percent of interns say they’re most interested in access to executives and mentorship during an internship. Access to leaders and managers helps you to learn more about the industry, builds lasting connections, and improves your workflow since you’re receiving constant communication from the people at the top.

Diversity

One of the best things an internship can provide is diverse options, both in the people that are employed by the organization and the tasks that you ultimately perform. If you’re lucky enough to secure a paid internship, that’s even better: Historically, paid internships are more attractive to diverse candidates, which means you’ll have the chance to work with awesome people from different walks of life.

Why is this a good thing? Because receiving knowledge from a variety of backgrounds, education levels, and overall experience will provide you with a more fulfilling program. Plus, it forces you to see how you can improve based on varying opinions from industry leaders.

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Perks

When I say perks, I don’t mean lounging out in front of a fireplace or getting all the free food and drinks you want (although these are great). I mean gaining some additional benefits that can make for a more satisfying internship experience.

For example, 43.6 percent of interns would enjoy a flexible schedule, and an additional 13.7 percent want company culture activities. Location, size of team, project type, and the chance to attend industry events are great perks that can positively contribute to your well-being, effectively enhancing your internship experience. Keep in mind that perks like relocation or housing are typically given to summer interns. If you are looking for this benefit in your spring internship, you may want to re-evaluate your search or wait to take an opportunity in the summer.

While you should have an open mind before starting your spring internship, these five factors should definitely come into play. Do your research and use this checklist as a guide to see if your next internship can provide you with what you need.

What do you think? What are some other factors that can improve your spring internship experience?

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Published on September 18, 2018

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

1. Show your appreciation

In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

2. Communicate effectively

Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

3. Be open to dialogue

Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

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In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

4. Provide constructive criticism

Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

5. Conduct one-on-ones

Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

6. Build training programs

In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

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From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

7. Offer growth opportunities

Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

8. Reward them

Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

9. Encourage team outings

Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

10. Involve them

Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

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11. Set meaningful goals

In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

12. Empower them

You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

13. Deal with conflict

A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

14. Implement a flexible work culture

Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

15. Host engaging activities

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

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From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

16. Maintain a positive work space

Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

17. Avoid discrimination

Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

The bottom line

Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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