Interns may only be with your company for a fixed period of time, but they should still go through a formal onboarding process. Use the following checklist to plan a targeted onboarding program that will help interns adjust well to their new roles, perform their tasks effectively and get the most out of their internships.
How to onboard interns
- Contact interns prior their first day to confirm:
- Their exact start date
- Their time of arrival
- Documentation they need to bring with them (like their ID)
- Their first-day schedule (for example, trainings, product demos, meetings with managers)
- Ensure hiring managers are well-prepared for their interns. They should know their interns’:
- Seating area
- Project(s) they’ll participate in
- Regular job duties
- First tasks
- Provide interns with necessary hardware and software. If applicable, let them choose their preferred computer accessories (for example, let them select between a mouse or a trackpad.)
- Ask your IT team to set up intern email and software accounts. For as long as they’re employed with you, interns should be able to communicate with their coworkers and access tools they need for their job, including:
- Company email
- Group messaging app
- Project management software
- Help interns fill out HR paperwork. This might be a recent graduate’s first professional job. They may not be familiar with employment terms and tax documents. Make sure a member of your HR team is by their side to answer any questions.
- Help interns set up their work stations. Inexperienced employees mightn’t be familiar with company equipment and software. Give them simple instructions, provide manuals and ask your IT department to check whether they’ve properly installed necessary tools, like anti-virus systems.
- Offer welcome kits and company swag. Show interns you’re excited they’re joining your company by offering personalized gifts and branded merchandise. Here are some ideas:
- A mug or water bottle with your company logo
- Tech accessories, like headsets
- Gift cards to local cafes and restaurants
- Schedule role-specific trainings. To make sure that interns make real contributions to your business, train them on tasks they’ll undertake and tools they’ll use.
- Assign a work buddy or mentor. If you don’t have the time to run a full training session on company policies and work habits, assign an employee as a mentor to guide interns and answer their questions.
- Present your departments, functions and organizational chart. Interns might not have the chance to interact with everyone in the company, so give them an overview of your operations and your teams’ structure.
- Announce interns’ hiring to the company. You could send a mass email or share a message on your company’s chat tool. Prompt your employees to introduce themselves to your new intern during their first day and week at work.
- Arrange group meetings and activities. It’s important that interns become part of your company culture, like your long-term employees. So, make them feel comfortable and help them get to know their coworkers by inviting them to a group lunch or an after-work activity.
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