Part of being a great intern manager is giving your new interns a memorable and enjoyable onboarding experience. You’d do the same for a new full-time employee, right? Interns aren’t so different. Chances are, this internship is their first dip into the lake of professional work, and a bunch of them might be quivering in their socks about it. It’s up to you to make their first day productive and awesome. Here’s our take on what the onboarding intern checklist for managers should look like!
Take nothing for granted and make sure you prepare ahead of time – both for yourself and for incoming interns. The last thing you want is to encounter roadblocks on Day One and have your interns sitting around for an hour or more (and passing the time with Tetris) while you deal with unforeseen hiccups. Don’t be that manager.
Your preparation should be twofold: make sure you – or other managers – are ready to receive the interns, and ensure your interns are well-informed about their first day. Managers, then, should be familiar with the following:
As for your interns, reach out before their first day of work to clear up confusion or doubt. Way before your interns ever step into the office, remind them of the following:
- Reporting date 📆 and time ⌚
- Working hours ⏰
- Important documents you need 📂
- Day One’s brief overview/schedule 📝
Eventually, the long-awaited day will come. As managers, you should be looking sharp and wearing your warmest smile. Expect to use Day One as a time for orientation and getting administrative matters out of the way with as little pain as possible. Your interns might be overwhelmed, so it’s up to you to save the day and take them through the motions.
Here are four main things you should tackle on their first day, broken down below.
The Onboarding Intern Checklist for Managers
Be the intern tour guide
Your interns need to know the general layout of the office. It’s terrifying for professional newbies to be lost in a place full of strangers. Put on your best tour guide voice and show them around. Show them everything, including:
✅ Different department areas 🔧
✅ Where higher management (like you) can be found 💼
✅ Where the toilets are (for obvious reasons) 🚻
✅ The wonderful pantry’s location 🍱
Most of all, make sure they know where they’re being seated!
Step up as an administrative hero
Don’t leave your interns to drown in the administrative ocean! Here’s what you should be prepared for:
✅ Setting up workstations 💻
✅ Getting stationery ✂
✅ Making sure their company emails are working ⌨
✅ HR onboarding paperwork 📂
✅ Other peripherals, like access cards 🔑
Be there with them every step of the way. By this time, their company emails and computers should be set up. Let them have a feel of it (and we don’t mean playing the Google dinosaur game) for a moment before showing them where they can stock up on stationery. Once they’re settled in, go ahead and bring them over to HR where they can fulfil the necessary paperwork if it’s needed. Get them their access cards as well, if your company uses them for entry and exit. You wouldn’t want your interns to be trapped outside after lunch… would you?
Make warm introductions
A checklist for this section:
✅ Colleagues and introductions 👋🏼
✅ Work buddies 👨🏼💼
✅ Group lunches 👯
✅ Company swag 🎁
✅ After-work activities 🍻
Remember your first day of school? Your first day of work? Pretty nerve-wrecking stuff, don’t you think?
Your interns probably want to fit in, not feel awkward. Announce their arrival and make sure they get a warm welcome. Friendly colleagues can help to shape the experience into a memorable one, so get the introductions started and keep it light-hearted (no weird, probing questions – at least, not for the first day).
During this time, you can also assign a work buddy to each of your interns. Providing them with another friendly face in the office will definitely help to calm their nerves and get them used to their duties quicker.
Some additional awesome gestures include gifting your fresh-faced interns some company swag like lanyards or mugs, as well as organising a group lunch later that afternoon. If your workplace has a culture of after-work activities, bring them along too! Lastly, if you’re able to spare the time, sit your interns down and tell them about your company, its culture, and the values that make you guys who you are.
Be a great manager and get down to business
Make sure you have these prepared for:
✅ A solid intern work structure 📜
✅ Roles and duties 📝
✅ Regular, scheduled meetings 📅
✅ Clarify their doubts 🤷🏼
✅ Encourage them 🤘🏼
Once they’re all strapped in, discuss your game plan with the interns. Refresh them about their roles and duties and remind them who they can approach and talk to if they need help along the way. Let them know about the entire training programme and how it’s all gonna work, especially if there are upcoming projects you intend to assign to them in the coming months.
If you intend to hold regular check-ins and meetings with them, let them know in advance so they’re not caught by surprise when you drop by their desk in two weeks’ time. Schedule them on Google Calendar, set up recurring events, and make sure everyone’s in the loop.
Lastly, take this time to clarify any doubts or questions they might have for you. The first day usually has a lot to take in, so that’s what you’re here for. Talk them up, give them an encouraging start to their first week, and watch them get into the grind!
Give your interns an awesome first day. Take steps to keep everything thorough and thoughtful by using this onboarding intern checklist for managers.
How they begin their first week of work might determine how they get through the rest of their internship, so make it count! Remember that your interns are, ultimately, newbies, and always leave your door open for them to come to you if they ever need help. Make them feel welcome, appreciated, and that they matter, and watch them take on the world for you.
Interested in hiring new interns of your own? Click here to get started with Glints today!