What I learned from managing a team of interns

What I learned from managing a team of internsAbout the Author: Ronak Singh Ahuja is the co-founder of Muses Marketing, a bootstrapped startup trying to change how offline marketing is planned and executed in India. He talks about his experience of working with interns.

We have always focused on an open and comfortable environment for our colleagues (we don’t call them employees or interns). A normal day at Muses starts and ends when you want it to. The new office just below a brewery helps in starting the conversations which many companies ae not able to.

When we thought of hiring interns for the first time, we never thought that this could be a learning experience for us too. We just believed that it would be mutually beneficial as we wanted some colleagues and interns wanted some experience in industry. However, the things turned out to be a bit different. Here are some of the key takeaways from our experience of working with the interns:

Selection is the key: There is less real world experience and educational qualification present with the interns. We developed our selection process in such a way that we measured them on practical tools, SWOT being just one example. We also met with them before hiring and talked for hours not as an interviewer but as a friend.

Most of them don’t know the stuff which you expect: It is true but there is a catch. Our education system does not focus on practical learning and tools. Thus, be prepared to teach them small stuff. Don’t worry, they’ll learn it before you know it. Therefore, allow them 2 weeks to learn and grasp the work you want them to do.

These guys have a charm, find it: Most of the interns we hired had a spark to work and learn. The manager just needed to find it. A couple of interns reported directly to me and I found that the efforts they put in were marvelous. Everyone has a skill, one just has to find it.

Make it a win-win situation: I have seen companies making interns do Tele-calling, research, and other such monotonous jobs. Don’t treat an intern like this; you never know what capabilities that intern might have. We gave our interns work in all the verticals of the company to provide them a complete experience. We were open to their ideas and thoughts. And this paid off – we got great results and ideas in various profiles.

Make it fun: We have tried to make work feel like fun and implemented some steps like throwing parties, get together, engagement sessions, reporting sessions, and other engaging activities.

Simultaneously, we implemented our learning with our full-time colleagues too and the satisfaction factor has grown. We have seen improved retention rate in the company. This has been a great learning experience and we look forward to many more interns joining us on this journey.

Looking to hire interns for your company? Please post your requirements here.

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