Ames Chamber of Commerce

Interns Just Want to Change the World - and You Can Help

Posted on 07/24/2019 at 09:00 AM by Allee Wengert

Interns. We know them. We love them. We need them. And perhaps more importantly, they need us.

Gone are the days when interns were expected to fetch coffee and send faxes. Most of today’s interns probably don’t even know what a fax is! Those are the days of yesteryear and we’re now facing a young workforce full of passionate, ambitious, and forward-thinking individuals.

This generation is a catalyst for change. From marching on Washington D.C. to holding school walk-outs, they want to make the world a better place. It’s up to us to equip them with the skills, tools, and strategies to do so.

We hear over and over again from our employers that many new employees are lacking basic soft skills. Showing up on time for work is a consistent frustration among managers. Holding your interns to basic, clear expectations and explaining the WHY behind those expectations will help you earn their buy-in and help them realize the importance of accountability.

Taking the time to coach your interns may make all the difference for their future. Open and honest communication skills is critical for an individual to be successful in the workplace. The ability to handle feedback and being resilient through challenges can make or break an employee. Internships are more than earning college credits or adding a line to a resume. They are the first chance for many young people to get into a professional setting and experience the real world. Instead of scheduling their days around projects, take some of the time to sit down with them and provide honest feedback. Hold on to something they completed at the beginning of their internship and compare it with one of their final projects with them so they can see their growth for themselves. Offer encouragement, ask for their ideas, and hold them accountable. They will be as good employees as we help them to be.

Many interns take on the tasks we don’t have time to do, or frankly, don’t want to do, so don’t forget to thank them. And maybe, grab them a coffee.

Categories: Developing Talent

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