Six top tips to manage interns in a small business


There are many good reasons for an SME to take on an intern. Our top tips can help you provide an ethical and mutually beneficial experience.

An intern provides an extra helping hand and offers you the opportunity to nurture the next generation of businesspeople – and possibly find your next employee. Internships are also the best way to determine if a candidate is a good fit for a close knit team. Om Ruparel, the MD of Recruitmentology.co.uk, offers some simple but effective advice.

  • Offer paid internships. No one should lose money while they are gaining experience and adding value to your company. At least pay for travel and lunch expenses. Lunch expenses can be set at a limit and paid as a weekly allowance or by using a system of handing in receipts.
  • Don’t assign tasks that a paid employee should do. If they are performing duties a regular employee would then pay them. Ultimately, if you have an intern who is performing a set of duties during a regular set of hours and is generally contributing to your company, an intern is entitled to the National Minimum Wage if they count as a worker.
  • Offer regular feedback. Interns require the same one-on-one attention as permanent employees. A good manager understands their staff and is always available to speak with them so meet them once a week. People work much better when they feel comfortable and like their presence is valued.
  • Set the intern goals and targets. Clear goals ensure they are performing and will aid their improvement, as well as giving you a benchmark to ascertain their growth. A well-structured programme benefits both your organisation and your intern by managing the expectations on both sides and reducing any guesswork. Think about your internship program as a dynamic and hands-on way to introduce young people to your industry. Consult with the intern’s designated mentor when writing the job description – this will help both the intern and the supervisor on a day-to-day basis.
  • Be approachable. Your intern should feel comfortable asking questions so be approachable and keep lines of communication open. An information pack is handy but will not contain all the answers to queries that may arise.
  • Provide valuable experience. Whilst it is important to work your way up the ladder of the company, making tea and coffee all day isn’t helping an intern. All jobs come with admin, but interns should have other tasks as well. Interns should be considered a valued part of your work force and they should learn the nature of your business and come away with an understanding of it. Make sure your intern works on a variety of projects to give them some broad experience – make two of those projects more in-depth, to hone skills. There should be at least one project that your intern sees through from beginning to end as a member of the team. It is important for them to feel the satisfaction of completion.

Related Articles

Powerlines-into-sunrise

Energy News – 27/06/2017

A deal with the DUP may be yet to materialise, but that hasn’t stopped the Queen’s speech going ahead, wit...

Read More

Switching just got simpler for micro businesses

45% of micro businesses are stuck on expensive deals New regulations from the CMA will make it easier for thes...

Read More
Business-electricity-coal-power-to-end-by-2023-big-coal-stockpile-at-sunrise

Energy News 16/06/2017

Michael Gove is appointed energy secretary, suppliers continue to fall short on digital offerings and global e...

Read More
Excellent, 9.7 / 10

Extremely helpful and clear to understand

"I have found the information and assistance to be very clear, and helpful. I was helped through the process of switching electricity supply by personal switching assistant Suhan Ashan who was not only helpful, but very patient in explaining all of the queries which I had and also researching the estimated KwH for our newly acquired office premises, as we had no previous tenant information."

This review was posted by Sue Williams on the 24th of July 2017

Jessica help us arrange new deals for …

"Jessica help us arrange new deals for our start up business which was greatly useful particularly in time during busy setting out period"

This review was posted by Allan on the 21st of July 2017

Really good doing business with Mark …

"Really good doing business with Mark Weeks and SwitchMyBusiness. Getting good energy deals for not-for-profit organisations are a nightmare but Mark made it really easy for us. Very many thanks, well done!"

This review was posted by Tony Smith on the 20th of July 2017

Spoke with Mark Weeks great guy always …

"Spoke with Mark Weeks great guy always phoned back or email when he said he would and was a great help. Would use him again any time."

This review was posted by Duncan Winton on the 20th of July 2017

Courteous and knowledgeable.

"I had my business transfer handled by Mark Weeks, he was courteous and knowledgeable about the various different tariffs on offer and made the process quick and simple. I would definitely recommend their services."

This review was posted by Lawrie Sharp on the 19th of July 2017