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Entry by Pat Patterson

Before you host your interns this summer, make sure you are prepared – appointing an individual as an intern supervisor will enhance the internship experience for both your organization and your interns. 

An intern supervisor will familiarize interns with your organization, provide assignments and serve as a “go-to” person for questions.  It is best if the intern supervisor is connected with the type of work the intern will perform (e.g., the marketing director supervising a marketing intern) to provide appropriate guidance for the intern’s assignments.

As a general guide, an intern supervisor’s responsibilities will include:

  • taking part in an intern’s application, screening and interview process;
  • conducting an intern’s orientation;
  • developing an intern’s work plan;
  • periodically meeting with an intern to evaluate performance and if needs/goals are being met; and
  • assessing the internship program’s success.

Are you worried that time may be an issue? – No need to be concerned.  On most occasions, an intern supervisor will need to dedicate more time at the beginning of the internship for orientation, explanation and training purposes.  However, if an intern is provided ample project work – with set deadlines for completion and extra, less important projects for any down time – the intern will remain busy, feel productive and maintain ownership of assigned projects.

Still worried that time may be an issue?  Check out the chart below.  Even with supervision, an intern can increase your organization’s productivity.  Assuming an eight-hour work day, employing just one intern for one semester can increase your organization’s productivity by 7.5 work days.

Internship Program ROI 
Number of Interns 1
Average Work Hours/week 15
Gross Productivity Hours/week 15
Average Number of Full Work Weeks/semester 12
Gross Productivity Hours/semester 180
Average Number of Supervision Hours/week* 10
Number of Supervision Hours/semester 120
Net Productivity Hours 60

*Average Number of Supervision Hours/week includes recruiting and orientation time.

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