Interns are back. Take advantage by creating a rich, hands-on learning experience for these smart, enthusiastic young pros. Try to conduct a comprehensive program, complete with training workshops, social events, team builders, and meetings with senior staff.
The key is to treat each intern with respect. Make them feel like a vital member of the team from day one. It is best if interns don't float from team to team or project to project. Instead, they should be allowed to work on one particular team of interest to them. This way they get tangible ownership over a project which, in turn, empowers them and sets them up for success.
In their first week, assign them a team project to create and present to the entire staff at the end of the internship. Task them to create a PR campaign which helps build teamwork and presentation skills and allows them to experience a campaign from start to finish.
At the end of the program, show your appreciation by hosting a graduation party in their honor. Offer them career advice and show them that you will be a resource for them after graduation.
Mary Beth Murphy is SVP of HR at Marina Maher Communications.
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