Vincy Workplace
May 14, 2010
6 Tips to being an effective internship supervisor

Some employers are getting ready to launch their annual internship programmes as a part of a larger workforce development strategy. One of the essential components in such a strategy is having supervisors who understand how to craft an invaluable experience for each intern. {{more}}

An effective supervisor possesses the ability to help grow interns into future workers. However, they can also make internships somewhat difficult if they are not aware of simple tips and techniques to bring out the best in each intern.

As you launch your internal search for supervisors, please keep in mind that your supervisor should be able to do the following:

1. Set clear expectations and consequences. School and work carry different expectations. Let your intern know immediately what you want and the standards they must meet to learn and grow.

2. Implement consequences. After expectations are set, a violation of those expectations should be met with immediate consequences. Too often, internship programs are compromised when supervisors are overly sympathetic to interns. This is counterproductive for the programme and the development of the intern as a competent employee.

3. Plan projects. Although grunt work is sometimes part of the process, ensure the supervisor has meaningful work that will last throughout the internship. Having an intern spend the summer only copying and filing is not a good employee development strategy.

4. Be clear about who is ultimately in charge. Having too many supervisors can be frustrating to an intern. Many may not yet have the skills to manage the personalities of each supervisor effectively

5. Track the intern’s progress. Have weekly meetings and set goals so the students always know what is expected of them. They also will be aware of the skills they need to improve and can celebrate their accomplishments.

6. Recognize generational difference. Much has been written about Generation Y which is the current intern population. Do not waste time contemplating all the negative press this group has received. Examine the value they bring to the table and look at ways to capitalize on their strengths.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to: Visit online at