- All Community
At RECSOLU, we're certainly not unique in our use of internships to help us grow and achieve our goals as an organization. This becomes increasingly important as we look to maintain and strengthen our culture with each additional new hire, fulltime or otherwise.
Knowing that a handful of very talented interns would be joining us over the summer to help across a number of different focus areas (HR, product development, software engineering, marketing, etc), we discussed early on how we wanted mentorship to play a role in their time with us.
As we're now already approaching the middle of summer (which is a bit depressing to write), we've had success with our interns and thought sharing a few of our approaches and observations with the Chicago technology / startup community would be helpful.
- Every week or so, our interns rotate through meaningful discussions with a majority of the company, giving us and them a chance to learn more about each other, sharing goals, aspirations and generally helping answer questions.
- Beyond scheduled lunches, interns are very involved in all aspects of RECSOLU's culture: participating in customer conversations and product discussions, drafting new marketing collateral for a new product offering or just getting to know each other better in our kitchen through increasingly frequent birthday celebrations.
- They are also invited to product design sessions, sprint demos and our bi-weekly (and hopefully more frequent) tech talks in our developer bullpen.
With this post serving as an intermediate check-in / evaluation, I still see the following needs to maximize our intern program effectiveness:
- Develop a mechanism for conveying all of the value our interns provide us at the end of their time with us. This wouldn't necessarily be intended as a formal record of their goals and accomplishments, but would allow us to look back retrospectively to share highlights, suggestions, etc.
- Incorporate a meaningful feedback system for interns to ensure that we're on track with our decisions and to constantly be in sync with their hopes, expectations and objectives.
- Find a way to leverage their connection with other potential interns back at their campuses. Of course, we consider our interns as campus ambassadors once they've left us but we still need to do quite a bit to keep the conversation flowing, ensuring we communicate the highlights and culture that they'll miss out on when they're not with us.
Ultimately, our interns help us achieve better results by contributing and providing perspective to ensure we're constantly challenged and making the right decisions. I believe experience design and mentorship to be essential ingredients to an organization's success with their intern programs and hope that we successfully convert our best intern contributors to full-time employees and/or campus advocates.
I haven't seen too much discussion of internship programs in the community so I'd love to hear your thoughts / comments / suggestions in the comments.
We're also always looking for inspiration and knowledge from fellow community members so if you want to join us and talk with our team at one of our tech talks, just email me (email@example.com).