Step 2: Develop a Program
You’ve got an internal team in place and identified a partner organization. Excellent. Now it’s time to start program design and development. This is the phase where you’ll collaborate with a chosen partner organization to scope out parameters that will shape your program.
Develop partner collaboration guidelines.
Your partner organization will be a huge asset during program design and development. In this phase, with your partner, you should establish roles and responsibilities, preferred communication channels and potential challenges.
Set internship parameters.
Together with your partner organization, start defining details, such as the length of the internship, the number of interns you’ll take on and how you’ll compensate them. If applicable, build off parameters already established through your existing internship programs.
- Determine which departments your interns will support
- Set baseline eligibility criteria for choosing interns (education, background, geographic area, demographics, etc.)
- Write internship job descriptions
- Decide how you’ll recruit, screen and select candidates
Set supervision parameters.
Develop a similar written document for training and management of interns. Identify who will be responsible for supervising interns and how you’ll match an intern with an employee supervisor. Assign a “buddy” to your interns who will be the intern’s go-to source for information and guidance. Carefully select and assign a supervisor for each intern to provide guidance and direction. This person should be a strong trainer and have the resources and knowledge to contribute.
The supervisor is responsible for the following:
- Day-to-day management of interns
- Work oversight, direction and feedback
- Training, motivating and developing
- Evaluating intern performance
Set training parameters.
Determine how interns will be trained and developed and generate a list of the job-related skills that will be involved in developing your interns (many of these skills are the same skills used to develop current employees). You may want to consider creating an internship handbook with helpful FAQs and company policies.
Set evaluation parameters.
You’ll want to learn from your successes and challenges, so it’s important to think about how you’ll evaluate your interns and your program during and after an internship period.
Evaluating your interns and your program
Evaluating your interns
- Who will provide feedback?
- How often will you evaluate?
- How will you assess the skills acquired?
- How will you measure progress against goals?
Evaluating your program
- Use specific goals from Step 1 to evaluate
- What activities will be monitored?
- What outcomes will be measured?
- How often will you evaluate results?
Determine how you’ll spread the word.
Decide how you’ll promote and communicate your internship program within your company and to your community. Review past efforts, if applicable, for inspiration.
Identify key milestones.
This is an important part of phase planning, and partners can help. Milestones may include, but are not limited to, a pilot launch date (if you’re doing one), a scaled-up launch program date and end date, as well as midway and final evaluations
- Start a pilot internship program with a limited number of interns (one or two) and use your learnings to improve overall program structure. Then scale up
- Hold orientation sessions for all involved parties (interns, managers, mentors) to cover goals, roles and responsibilities and expectations
- Match interns with a supervisor who can provide answers, direction and advice
- Adequately compensate interns for their time through a stipend, a scholarship, a salary and/or school credits
- Offer meaningful work assignments to interns, not just busy work
- Encourage interns to join company events, meetings and outings
- Provide interns with a set of clear objectives, tasks and evaluation criteria
- Continue communicating and collaborating with your partner organization during the internship to support the success of your interns
- Adequately compensate interns for their time through a stipend, a scholarship, a salary and/or school credits.