Interns Are People, Too!

Written by Kirsten Taggart

As I wrap up my time as an intern at TalentCulture, I find myself reflecting on my eleven-month experience as a part of a truly unique company and exciting social community.  Cliché, I know.  But compared to internship horror stories from fellow students, I’ve had it pretty good.  The difference between their experiences and mine is simple: leadership quality. The value we interns gain is largely determined by our boss. We want one that cares about our well- being as an employee as well as a person—and doesn’t force us to pick the chickpeas off of his/her salad (I’ve heard variations of this on multiple occasions).

My goal in writing this post is to take my positive experiences working with Meghan and the rest of the TC community and shed some light on what leaders everywhere can do to make their interns feel more like people.

1. We’re smarter than you think.

But allow us room to learn and grow.  We applied because we’re interested in learning from you.  We may not have much experience, but if you give us your time (and patience) you’ll realize just how quickly we can learn and how much we can contribute.

2. Check in on our progress.

Whether we work for you in an office or in the comfort of our own homes, we always appreciate a check-in once in a while.  I’m not talking about hour-long conversations, but a quick hello just to see how we are adjusting to the company or how we’re getting along in life.  Not only does it show us you care but it makes us want to work harder and aim higher.

3. Listen to what we have to say.

We’re full of ideas, and sometimes they might even be good.  There’s no harm in asking our opinion even if you disagree.  Give us the chance to weigh in here and there, and you will be pleasantly surprised.

4. Give us credit for our work.

There’s nothing more disheartening than writing an article or contributing an idea only to be uncredited in the end.  One of the things I appreciate most is Meghan’s encouragement of my own thoughts and allowing me to promote them as my own.  Leaders, this gesture means more to us than you may know. We aren’t expecting major praise for each task we complete; a simple acknowledgment of our work is enough for us to feel valued.

5. “Thank you” goes a long way.

One of the greatest things you can say to us is, “Thank you, I appreciate your help.”  This is the ultimate motivator for everyone–not just interns.  If we execute a task well, let us know.  This way we can learn from what we did right, which gives us a chance to grow as a person and employee.

I’d love to hear from interns and leaders alike – share your own stories and tell me how else leaders can improve the internship experience.

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