As companies are beginning to onboard their summer fleet of interns, front-line managers may be working twice as hard to orient college students as temporary staffers. Staying engaged with the full-time team members while investing in new talent can provide great returns, though – especially as summer interns may become full-fledged members of the team one day.
As front-line managers work to keep their expanding teams focused, here are three things to bear in mind:
1. The qualities that make good managers do not change, even as their teams expand
Front-line managers manage people, no matter if these people are veterans of the company or just cutting their teeth in corporate work. The same qualities that make excellent front-line managers do not shift when the headcount or median age of their employees changes. Gallup’s State of the American Manager report found that the most successful front-line managers were consistently able to rally a group around a common goal while still recognizing the strengths and areas for improvement within each individual team member. There will be seasons in front-line management where the team dynamics change, but managers should continue to stay focused on the needs of the team body and its multiple body parts.
2. Interns should be a value addition, not a value reduction
Sometimes interns are portrayed as temporary drains on management’s time and energy. That’s a script that should be rewritten. Value should be a two-way street for interns and their workplaces. Interns can help corporate teams reach their goals. In turn, interns can derive value from the relationships forged with mentors and potential references for their future employment opportunities.
Flipping the script begins with intentional decision-making around where an intern might play a useful and meaningful role in your organization. By doing this, you are able to hire an intern who will be well-matched for the work and find some measure of interest. An article in Forbes notes, “There’s got to be at least a little meat to the role to keep an intern engaged.”
Given that some experts estimate the cost of onboarding an employee at $240,000, no doubt a portion of this may be spent in onboarding an intern. If that intern performs well and is eventually hired for a full-time opportunity, there is already a return on that onboarding investment.
3. Interns need–and want–feedback just like full-time employees
Interns are well-acquainted with constant evaluation. College is nothing if not a revolving series of quizzes, tests, and research papers to be graded. University students are accustomed to knowing where they stand in their classes and whether or not they are fulfilling assignments and expectations.
So front-line managers shouldn’t withhold feedback just because an intern isn’t (yet) a permanent hire. Positive or negative, they’ll appreciate the insights about their ideas, contributions, and collaborations. This is part of training an intern to work in business. It is also a key part of an engaged front-line manager.
A front-line manager will drive engagement that reaches every member of his or her team. Chances are, college interns have already interfaced with their share of front-line managers, but usually, this has been limited to restaurants and retail stores. They will have seen the effects of certain managers’ ability or lack of ability to inspire a team. They will likely be able to recognize when a manager is able to lead the team to believe the work they are doing–and their role in it–is important. Managers who are coaching interns this summer should feel empowered to give constructive feedback and welcome the interns to share their own feedback, as well.
The ManagementPlus solution focuses on engagement by empowering better management development. Could this help you or someone on your team? Schedule a demo and see for yourself how we can help!