Many businesses follow specific procedures when they welcome new employees aboard. Typical activities include tours of the workplace, meeting fellow employees, and completing paperwork. These types of activities can improve employee engagement within the first few weeks, and they help employees understand what is expected of them. However, some businesses skimp on those welcome procedures with temps and interns, thinking: “Well, they won’t be here long, so we don’t need to invest in them.”
Thinking like this is a mistake. First, it leads to wasted time and wasted money as interns and temps struggle to acclimate and become productive. Second, interns and temps represent a recruiting pool from which companies can find employees who already understand and care about the business. You can help your temps and interns be more productive faster by making their lives easier right from the start. Most of these techniques you should already be using for your full-time employees, as well!
1. Eliminate guesswork during onboarding
Explain the situation that requires that a temp or intern be brought on instead of a regular employee. With interns, one possible reason (of several) is that the business values a fresh set of eyes and the recent knowledge in the field that a student brings. With temps, one reason could be that a temp can quickly and efficiently bring in a particular skill set. Doing this gets rid of any guesswork and feelings interns and temps have that they are expendable, and it increases their engagement. They’re aware that your business recognizes and values them.
2. Outline expectations and priorities
Define how you plan to measure success and what you need to see from the intern or temp. For example, you could write in the welcome packet and explain in an in-person meeting that the intern or temp should finish X project by X date, and work with ABC team. Explain priorities, possible challenges and how to address them, as well as the importance of the project. And don’t forget — employee recognition has a big impact on your employees’ happiness, so be sure to acknowledge when they do quality work and accomplish their goals.
3. Assign a mentor or buddy
You could have a handful of designated employees who always serve as “buddies” for your interns and temps, or you could solicit relevant staff to volunteer for this role depending on their department. In any case, the mentor should help the new person feel welcome by going to lunch with him or her, introducing them to other employees, giving them a tour of the office, and serving as secondary resource (along with the manager) for questions about the workplace.
4. Provide a dedicated workspace
Get newbies invested and engaged by giving them a sense of ownership. Ensure they have a dedicated space to work with all the supplies they need. If they have to struggle and scrimp for materials and a place to work from day to day, they won’t have the easiest work experience, nor will they be as eager to work for you in the future.
5. Involve your employees
The day before the intern or temp arrives, send a company-wide email explaining that X person is arriving and why, and what everyone can do to welcome him or her. Explain where he or she will be working, what projects they’ll be working on, and who they’ll be reporting to.