A Taste of Talent Development: Five Ways to Give Your Intern Feedback
To support a workforce that satisfies employer demand and to position the Baton Rouge Area favorably for economic growth, BRAC executes a variety of initiatives to cultivate the region’s talent. The talent development program focuses on two aspects – recruitment and retention of talented professionals in the nine-parish region.
In the last Taste of Talent Development blog post, we provided tips and best practice for finding and prepping for your company’s summer internship. But what about once your new hires start the internship? Well…we’ve got you covered there, too.
One of the most impactful things that can happen during an internship is the mentorship between the employer and the intern. We’ve all heard that people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. The same can be said for internships. Interns with great managers and mentors will want to extend the internship, seek full-time employment with the company, or, at the very least, tell their friends how great it was working for you.
So how can you ensure these outcomes? Better feedback! Here are a few things to consider this summer when it comes to providing interns with meaningful, constructive feedback.
1. Start with the end in mind
Before the internship begins, make sure you’ve paid special attention to what the intern will accomplish during their time at your organization. What projects do you need completed, but also what projects will be great samples in their portfolio? See the end game, but have smaller, more manageable steps to achieve early success. This way, when it comes to providing feedback, you’ll have a clear game plan or parameters that will shape the feedback conversation.
2. One-on-One Feedback
Feedback in the early stages of an internship is critical to building trust and collaboration, just like with any of your employees. In those first meetings or conversations, do your best to ask as many questions as you give directions, remove nonverbal communication barriers like a desk or crossed arms so you can create a friendlier, open environment, and always end the conversation with next steps or a goal for each of you.
As far as timing goes, there’s a fine line between giving feedback too soon after a project is completed and too far after the event or assignment is passed. Celebrate the immediate success and after a few days revisit the project by addressing ways it could be even better next time. Also consider having weekly check-ins, monthly visits over coffee or lunch, and quarterly or semesterly formal reviews just like you do with other team members.
Another great way to gauge how the internship is going is to ask for the interns’ feedback via reflections. Have them answer four question each week – what did you work on last week, what did you learn last week, what are you working on this week, and what do you need to know to be successful this week? These questions can help shape the way you give feedback and tailor future messages and work assignments.
Every single employee, no matter how modest, likes to know their work and effort is being recognized. So just like with other employees, give a special shout-out to your interns as well. This could come in the form of you congratulating them in a staff meeting, praising their work in a company-wide newsletter, or even crafting a social media post promoting their work. One BRAC investor, Emergent Method, is great at spotlighting their interns like the rest of their team. This recent Facebook post gives a virtual high-five to their intern’s work outside the firm, but it also serves as a piece of feedback and promotion of how they treat their interns (which will likely help them recruit future interns).
Once the internship ends, the feedback doesn’t have to stop. The last kind of feedback, and ultimately some of the most impactful feedback an employer can give, is in the form of an endorsement. This can be anything from a formal letter of recommendation to a more informal LinkedIn endorsement. The LinkedIn endorsement is especially helpful for young professionals looking to build their profile.
If you use some of these types of feedback or have others you could share, reach out and let us know. We’d love to feature your company and interns.
To support BRAC’s strategic goal of cultivating the region’s talent, our talent development team works to connect area employers to young professional talent by way of internships. For more information on BRAC’s talent development work, contact our director of talent development. For more reasons to love Baton Rouge, check out our Life in BR resources and blog.
BRAC is an investor-driven organization leading economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area. One of BRAC’s strategic goals is to cultivate the region’s talent to meet workforce demands and each month we highlight one of our talent development initiatives. To learn more about our talent development strategies and resources, contact our director of talent development.
Written by Melissa Thompson
Melissa leads all aspects of BRAC’s talent development program, including talent attraction and orientation. She works in partnership with employers to provide services that complement existing human resources recruitment practices.