Today, we’re sharing some of the most common mistakes made when taking on interns.
These apply to any industry, but we know from experience and research that event planners worry about the time and effort it takes to train an intern and the stress and risks that come with bringing interns into your firm.
We’ve made it our mission to end bad internships for both interns AND mentors so keep reading to find out how to make internships work for you.
Mistake 1: Not setting expectations
Don’t just assume that your interns will know how you want them to behave as it’s likely that they have very little experience of working in professional environments.
Things that seem obvious to you, may not be obvious to them.
Set out the basics at the start of the internship and you won’t get frustrated or have to worry about easy to avoid problems later on.
Make it clear:
- what the dress code is
- who their main point of contact is and/or their direct supervisor/mentor
- any daily tasks that they need to complete
- what should they do when they finish a task
- what should they do if they are struggling with the tasks given to them
Mistake 2: Being unapproachable and not developing a relationship
Yes, you’re busy but interns need to feel like they can ask questions and learn from you. And let’s be honest, they probably need a bit of assurance now and again to build up their confidence.
You don’t want to be constantly disrupted, but you want your interns to learn and have them complete their assigned tasks to your high standards. How do you get a balance?
Designate regular set times for you to informally meet with your intern.
It could be 10 minutes in the morning just to go over what they have been doing, give constructive criticism, answer any questions they have and set up the tasks for the day ahead. Make sure you tell your intern to make a note of any issues or questions that arise during busy periods so they can bring them up in this meeting.
This way, they know what they’re doing and can improve and you can relax knowing that they are able to continue to complete tasks without constant updates or conversations through the day.
Make sure when you set expectations, you explain the working in events can be hectic and high pressured so there may be times you appear stressed and unapproachable.
Let them know what to do to let you know if they have a problem with completing a task or need more work. Perhaps they can go to another colleague.
Mistake 3: Not delegating and giving hands-on experience
The whole point of an internship is to get hands on experience!
The top trait of a bad mentor is the inability to delegate and give “real life” tasks to interns. Interns want to feel empowered, know that they’re making a valuable contribution and learn valuable skills that will help them get a job in the future.
You may be worried that they will make huge mistakes or teaching them will be time consuming and you may be reluctant to give interns responsibility. Meanwhile, interns may resent being given what they consider to be ‘boring’ or unimportant tasks.
If you have made yourself approachable, you know that your intern will be able to come to you if they are struggling and this reduces the risk of them making any major mistakes. If you have a good training plan in place (see our final point!), you’ll be able to relax knowing that your interns have developed the skills and knowledge required to take on the work you give them
Sometimes, the tasks you give may seem boring and mundane but that’s just part of the job – working in events isn’t all glamour and glitter!
The key is to make sure you explain why these tasks are important to the company and how they contribute to making things run smoothly. If they understand the importance and value of a task, they’re also more likely to feel motivated and do a good job.
Mistake 4: Not having a plan
Preparation is key – you can’t just hire an intern and have them show up for their first day without setting up a plan for both sides to follow.
This isn’t a 2 minute job. You need to establish how you’re going to make sure that both sides get what they need? What will your interns do on a day to day basis? Who do they report to? How do ensure they are developing and track progress? How will you make sure that they learn what they need in order to complete tasks efficiently, effectively and professionally?
We realised that there was no easy fix, which is why The Simplifiers have developed The Apprentice Program to create the lesson plans for you.
Our 6-week onboarding training program gives you the foundation of online training so you can become a better mentor and train you interns on the critical topics of wedding planning and how your firm plans events.