Onboarding interns: 6 tips for welcoming your new talent

Appical Team
Wilma Johansson
min read
Table of Contents
Anyone who’s had an internship is probably familiar with the thrilling, yet nerve-wracking experience of starting a new journey with an unfamiliar company, even more so if it’s your first-ever working experience. But while first-day nerves are normal, a warm welcome will make sure that your new intern settles into their new role and starts performing in no time. So what can you as a supervisor, manager, or HR specialist do to give your intern a proper welcome? Luckily, we know just the tips.

Why onboarding your new interns is important

To understand the “hows” of onboarding, you need to understand the “whys”. Interns are more than just temporary apprentices - if onboarded right, they can prove a valuable asset to your company. They see your company through a new perspective and can offer fresh insights, spread positive words about your company, and be a valuable talent pipeline. In fact, if it's possible, 74% of interns are offered a job from the company after completing their internship (EnterpriseAppsToday).

Investing in good onboarding therefore means investing in potential new talent that will benefit your company in the long run. Read more about the benefits of investing in interns

However, since your intern might not have any previous experience with working life, they might need some extra care in the beginning to get them started. To make sure that you give your new talent the warm welcome they need, here are some hands-on tips to guide you!

1. Prepare your new intern well before their first day

This might seem obvious at first glance, but preparing is so much more than just informing your new intern about the office location, their hours, and main tasks. Remember, this might be your intern’s first ever office experience, so they might worry about things you wouldn’t even consider: “What’s it like working 9-17? How many breaks do I have? How do I report my hours?”  

By informing your intern about these small details, they already get a clear image of what their first day will be like, making them feel more prepared and excited for their first day. This will ensure that they feel welcome from before day one, and get into the workflow faster. 

2. Teach your intern about your company

So, you’ve told your new intern about their position and what’s expected of them. But what do they know about the company as a whole? Teach your intern about your company’s history, vision, and values. If your company has a product - teach them about the product. If your company has many different teams or departments - teach them about what they are and what they do.

Encourage your intern to schedule coffee dates with other employees and network within the company by giving them a list of people to talk to and helping them set up some questions to ask. Doing this gives your intern a deeper understanding of your company which benefits them in performing their tasks, and opens the door to future internal recruitment, to make sure that your new talent stays within the company (Forbes).

3. Give your intern a checklist

Useful information can still be a lot of information to process for someone starting an internship. Not only do they need to learn their tasks, but also arrange all the paperwork, get to know their colleagues, and get familiar with all the new tools and platforms. What might seem like simple steps for you can seem like a never-ending world of tasks for a new intern.

To break it down and make the tasks doable, provide your intern with a step-by-step checklist before their first day. What paperwork do they need to arrange? Do they need to activate their account? What platforms should they download? Check, check, and check!

4. Get to know your intern’s communication preferences

As with every beginner, your intern will need guidance and feedback, especially in the beginning but also throughout their journey. Asking questions and making mistakes are an essential part of learning, and therefore it’s important to discuss with your intern how they prefer to receive guidance and feedback.

When starting their internship, schedule a meeting and discuss with your new intern how they would like to work together: Do they prefer working closely together or independently? Do they prefer written or verbal feedback? And what can they expect from you as a leader?

Knowing your intern’s preferences is the best way to build trust and create a safe environment. Finding the balance between constructive feedback and compliments is essential to keep your intern motivated, creative, and eager to contribute (Forbes).

5. Make your intern feel like a part of the team

Whether their stay is temporary or not, everyone deserves to feel included. A good first step is to introduce their colleagues’ names and functions before their first day, to give them a good start in the team (and avoid the overwhelming feeling of having to memorize everyone’s names at once!). 

And why not start your intern’s first day with a goodie bag? It may seem a small gesture, but a goodie bag can brighten anyone’s day. A small handwritten card, a chocolate bar, and some company merchandise will give your new talent a smile on their face and make them feel like part of the team.

Treating your interns like you would treat your employees, such as letting them join the meetings, (gradually), giving them responsibilities of their own, and inviting them to social events, is the best way to make them feel welcome, engaged, and eager to learn.

6. Set goals for the internship

Even with the right preparations, starting an internship can feel overwhelming, with so many tasks, expectations, and responsibilities. If you’ve never worked in a similar environment before, it’s hard to know exactly what to expect. 

Therefore, sitting down with your intern over a cup of coffee and setting goals together is the perfect opportunity for them to discuss their expectations for the upcoming months. What do they expect from this internship? What specific skills do they want to learn? 

Helping your intern set goals for the internship will give them a clear overview of their journey in your company, and help them develop on a professional and personal level. In fact, 82% of young people think it’s important for their mentor to help them set performance goals (Springtide Research).

My onboarding experience as an Appical intern

So, what does it look like when all of these tips are combined and put into practice? Wilma shares her experiences as an intern at Appical.

"When my journey as a copywriter intern at Appical began, I had little experience with office jobs and copywriting. Needless to say, after receiving the call that I got the internship, my excitement was mixed with nervousness."

"Fortunately, this nervousness didn’t last long. Not only was I supported through the preboarding process by my new colleagues, I was also guided step by step by the Appical app. There, the checklists helped me know exactly which steps to take before, during, and after my first week of the internship. Through the app, I learned about the history of Appical, the vision, values, and various departments. I even learned some fun facts about my new colleagues!"

"Thanks to this, arriving at the office on my first day wasn’t as scary as I first thought. After receiving a warm welcome from everyone at the office, I immediately felt at home and ready to take on my new tasks. My onboarding journey with Appical made me realize that starting a new internship doesn’t have to be so nerve-wracking after all. Having had such a strong beginning also makes me excited and curious about what the rest of my internship has in store."

Wilma's experience at Appical highlights the importance of effective onboarding for interns. By providing comprehensive support, guidance, and resources, you can ensure that their interns feel welcomed, prepared, and equipped to succeed in their role.

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