WARNING – controversial topic ahead…grab some popcorn and voice your opinion below!

 

Despite popular belief, I want to squash any preconceived notions that working with interns is a pain in the ass.  Well, wait…let me clarify.

When you’ve got the RIGHT interns mixed with the RIGHT training solution, you can’t go wrong.

So far, we’ve shared a few insider secrets on:

…but you might be sitting there wondering, “yeah Mary, that’s all well and good, but WHY interns?  Why bother?  How will they truly help my business scale and grow?”

Great question.

And I’ll answer that one with a question:

Why not?

If you’ve worked with interns before, what was it like?  What made it a success or a total disaster?

Before launching The Apprentice Program to the general public, we did months and months of research, talking to 50+ event planning firms all across the United States and it was remarkable to hear the horror stories some of these firms had when working with interns.

Names have been changed to protect the innocent (and embarrassed), but here’s a taste of what we heard:

“I felt like I was always cleaning up their messes behind them…definitely more trouble than worth!” ~Alyssa, North Carolina based event planner

“It drove me crazy to see them constantly checking Facebook and taking selfies while in the office.  If I see another duckface, I’m gonna lose it.” ~Rhoda, New York based wedding planner

“Training interns is a LOT of work…coming up with the weekly lesson plans, figuring out what to talk about, keeping them engaged.  I’m drowning in enough to-dos, already!” ~Melinda, Dallas based wedding planner

“One time, I sent an intern off to mail a box of 200 invitations for a client’s event.  A few days later, we received a big package in the mail.  Guess what?  It was the box of invitations…all of them.  She mailed them to our offices.  #speechless” ~Sally, Washington based event planner

the evidence.

the evidence.

Okay, that last one made me totally snort out my latte.  Really?  Did that really happen?  Oh, bless her heart.

So, what went wrong?  Let’s break it all down…

“Alyssa’s” feedback was not uncommon.  In fact, I heard that one over and over again from multiple CEOs.  From what I can tell, it all boils down to this formula:

  • interns need clear directions and they need to know WHY
  • create a game-plan for followup
  • foster a supportive environment where they can make mistakes and learn from them
  • allow them to own it and fix it themselves
  • you aren’t their mom…you’re their mentor.  #BOOM

drop the mic…there, I said it.

Millennials are a rare breed.

They are some of the most passionate, sharp-as-a-whip, brightest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.  They’ve grown up in the digital age with a cell phone umbilical cord and an Instagram account.  But if you don’t know how to engage them, they can be disastrous to work with.

Studies show that “by 2020, Millennials will form 50% of the global workforce” (source: PWC – Millennials at Work: Reshaping the Workplace 2011).  We can’t ignore them…we have to become a pro at learning what makes them tick and how to work with them.

Millennials appreciate:

  • taking ownership of tasks and projects – follow the formula above and guide them as their mentor.
  • the WHY behind tasks assigned…why is this important? Why is it urgent?  What part do I play in the success, if I do it?
  • when you give them the opportunity to shine – they need encouragement, constructive feedback and for you to then step out of the way.

It’s NOT your responsibility to clean up after their messes and mistakes.

Rather, it’s your responsibility as their mentor to give them the space to make mistakes, learn and grow.  They thrive on your feedback as their mentor.  Give them clear directions, attainable deadlines, be available if they need a little more guidance and remind them that’s its okay to muck it up.  They own it…not you.  They fix it…not you.  And they are sure to grow from it all.

And what about “Rhoda’s” feedback?

I would recommend that she harnesses that intern’s energy towards building a social media campaign for her firm.  Give that intern ownership of the firm’s Instagram account.  Naturally, all posts are approved by the CEO before published, but what if she tasks that intern with creating an editorial calendar, outlining the marketing message and goals you want to achieve with your social media efforts?  Have her pull previous client wedding photos, draft up the messaging + call-to-actions and allow her to generate daily content for your firm.

Imagine that for a second.

Fresh, new content…daily. (what a dream!)  The intern is happy because she’s doing something she LOVES.  The CEO is happy because her Instagram is gaining 50 new followers every week, which are converting into 5 new leads weekly.  She found the sweet spot to engage her intern.  No duckfaces required.

How about “Melinda” and her lack of time?

Preach it, sista.  As a wedding planner, you hold the worries and stress of countless brides on your shoulders.  Balance that with the constant need to keep the pipeline full of future brides, manage your eighty billion social media accounts (ahem, see above) and oh yeah, make sure your family/friends don’t disown you from neglect, needless to say, you’ve got a lot on your plate.

The Simplifiers to the rescue!

(insert superhero ‘woosh’ sound here)

Well, thankfully, now you’ve got The Apprentice Program, my friend.  The Apprentice Program is an eLearning series of video lessons and tutorials that help you train your interns on the critical topics of wedding planning + design, plus how to think quick on their feet at weddings and in the office, to better assist you and your team.  We provide you with a custom-crafted training curriculum, tailor-made for your Millennial interns and take the guesswork out of it all.

Every week, you get:

  • a quick spark video – to help spark engaging discussions between you and your interns
  • homework missions for your interns – to apply what they’ve learned in tangible ways
  • individual and team report cards – to provide feedback and healthy competition for your interns and insight for you to see who’s thriving and who needs more support
  • insider tips – we’re your secret weapon to becoming a better mentor!

Your business is sure to scale and grow when you train your team of interns to become dynamic Apprentices who help you get the job done.  When you’ve got a team that thinks fast and moves faster, you can accomplish so much more.

The Apprentice Program helps you get there.

If you’ve never worked with interns before, what’s stopping you?

Now is the perfect time to try something new.  Regardless if it’s your slow season now or things are about to crazy busy…

There is no time like the present to give The Apprentice Program a go.

Apply today to be considered for a spot in The Apprentice Program.  We are only selecting a handful of dedicated wedding planning firms in the US every semester who have a passion for education and we’d love the opportunity to work with you and your interns.

You’ve still got time to hire your interns for this semester.

You can do this.  I believe in you.

 

QUESTION: do you believe interns are a pain in the ass?  Why/why not?  How do you keep your interns engaged and thriving at your firm?

 

mbw

 

 

 

~Mary

your Undercover Superhero

 

 

 

 

 

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