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How to make the most of your interns: creating a solid internship program can pay dividends for your business.

Interns can be a crucial asset to your business, both by giving young people a way to learn about your company and become more interested in joining the insurance industry. But just how much and how well they will contribute to your business really depends on you-the employer.

We're all busy and pressed for time, but we also all know that interns are our chance to scout for talent and to find our future superstars. To maximize the potential of your internship opportunities, here are some key ways to ensure the interns' time will be meaningful, and your time will have been worthwhile.

Onboard

Interns should begin an immersion process immediately when accepted into the program and continue it throughout their first few days. Use their starting days to communicate to them exactly what their tasks will be, how they will be evaluated and the office policies and trends. Ask them about their expectations, what they want to learn and their skill sets and goals. Preparing interns early on will give them a clear picture of what their jobs entail and start their time on the right track.

Mentor

Guidance from a key person is paramount. Many internships are wasted opportunities because no one takes responsibility for overseeing and guiding their progress, leaving them to drift aimlessly. Furthermore, taking direction from multiple people can get confusing, as people have different priorities. Maintaining a steady relationship can also be advantageous in giving interns a future contact, while having the added side effect of giving the mentor managerial experience.

Communicate

Create a constant pipeline of feedback between your interns and their supervisors. Frequently offering positive and constructive remarks throughout their entire experience, instead of only on occasional milestones, will help interns grow and learn each day. Similarly, ask them about the internships and use their comments and observations to make the internship process stronger. Recurrent communication makes for a much more productive program from both perspectives.

Challenge

Give your interns real work and real experiences that mirror some of what you deal with every day. This is not only a great way for them to learn real skills, but it can also be a way to see if an intern could be a potential fit for full-time employment in the future. Coffee, busy work and errands may be part of many internships, but the more you can test what interns are capable of, the more you can make sure you don't miss a diamond in the rough.

Offboard

Interns' last days are just as important as their first. A thriving intern can turn into a successful employee. Sit with your interns and discuss their time working with your company. Reflect upon their original goals and expectations and compare them to their actual experiences. Create an off-boarding survey for every intern to fill out on his or her last day to understand what your company does well and how to improve. If both you and an intern valued this time, set up a system for keeping in touch. Even if interns don't end up being employees, the experience shows them what your company represents and what you stand for-making positive, lifelong impressions long after their temporary time at your firm.

Sponsored Content by: mypath[TM] Insurance. It's limitless.

This article is part of a series on how risk and insurance organizations can attract the next generation of talent. It is created and sponsored by MyPath, a collaborative initiative to educate students and professionals about careers in the insurance industry.
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Title Annotation:FULL CIRCLE: PROFILING INSURANCE PROS UNDER 40
Publication:Property Casualty 360-National Underwriter
Date:Sep 1, 2015
Words:586
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