Internships provide real-world experience and knowledge for students. Organizations often use internships as precursors to hiring and as an extra set of hands. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement.
When interns are engaged, they are more productive and motivated. Here are some ways to keep your interns engaged:
Provide a clear job description during the application process.This will typically be the first time the intern is experiencing your organization and your expectations. Try to make the description of their duties and responsibilities clear, concise, and exciting. Allow them to have a variety of experiences.
Provide incoming interns with the training they need to succeed. Interns are coming in search of experience and to develop their abilities. Training them well will allow them to acquire new skills and work with less supervision, which will free up more of your time as well.
Establish an open line of communication. Your interns should not be afraid to ask questions. If you think they are struggling with a task, offer to help them and/or give them more direction.
Maintain a balance between menial tasks and actual responsibility. It is okay to have your interns help out with more mundane tasks like making copies or organizing files, but be sure this is not all that you have them do. Give them meaningful projects that will give them a chance to learn and put their skills to work.
Make them feel like they are a part of the organization. Interns appreciate challenging work and opportunities to interact with clients.
Ask for feedback. It can help you to have a fresh set of eyes. An intern may find a solution to a problem you are having and come up with great and innovative ideas for problem solving. Show them that you value their opinion and that you are willing to learn from them.
Keeping interns engaged will ensure that you are both maximizing your time together.