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What Keeps Interns Motivated and Working Hard

Interns are a valuable source of new ideas, energy and adds value to your organization. It’s common to see interns who are more dedicated to ensuring projects are completed than existing staff –but this attitude needs to be nurtured to last.

If you design and implement a well-structured internship program, interns become an incredible source of new ideas and hard work. They are genuinely interested in the experience and 80% of times prepared to give their best –it is the reason why they spend thousands of dollars to finance their journey to another country. However, you also need to play your role and keep them motivated. In this article, we will tell you what keeps interns motivated to work hard and give their best.

Understand what are interns expecting from your organization

The first step is to understand what are interns looking for with their internship experience. If your company knows their motivations you can build an intern program that fits their interest and it’s sustainable over time. It will also allow you to understand how can you keep them motivated and working hard. These are some of the main factors that interns expect from your organization:

  • Opportunity to develop skills relevant to their future Career Plans;
  • Challenging assignments that get them applying their theoretical understandings;
  • Job orientation and training;
  • Social Networking;
  • To be treated with recognition and basic respect;
  • Flexible working conditions;
  • Good references;
  • Opportunity to fulltime employment – not a requirement.

How to keep interns motivated

Now that you know what interns want with their internship you’re able to have some ideas of what can keep than motivated. These are some techniques you can use for it:

  • Provide a streamlined operation process. Interns get confused and frustrated when the process leading to recruitment isn’t well designed. Don’t keep postponing interview times;
  • Keep a good reputation with past interns who are always willing to speak with your new hires;
  • Provide details of office address and other necessary documents;
  • You may also provide city-specific information about accommodation, transport, travel and so on – you don’t need to do this if you are using an agency;
  • Prepare a well-detailed orientation process. First impressions are always important. If the first week goes well, interns remain curious to accomplish their goals;
  • Allocate them mentors within the office environment. As interns don’t have a lot of real work experience, they need someone who can help and guide them. This is also an excellent opportunity to get your existing staff to practice leadership skills;
  • Give them challenging assignments. They want to be challenged, and they will give their best to prove how valuable they are;
  • Train them to deliver, they are as good as their supervisors;
  • Organize periodic meetings with all interns;
  • Measure their performance and train them;
  • Issue questionnaires periodically for feedback. There is always something to improve;
  • Occasionally take them out for lunch or dinner (optionally);
  • Arrange cultural activities and immerse them in the culture;
  • Give them some compensation for their work.

There are plenty more techniques you can use to make your interns happy. Find the ones that better fit your internship program and introduce them to your company. You’ll be surprised how your interns’ productivity will increase with this simple methods.

Paid or Unpaid Internships

This is a sensitive topic for most companies. You decide if you want a paid or unpaid internship program. It’s not compulsory in China to give any compensation to your intern especially 2 months internships. However, it’s important to bear in mind that interns feel more excited and motivated if you appreciate their contribution.

You may not have a big budget to keep interns motivated but try to be creative about rewarding them. You may offer launch coupons, give a lump sum at the end of the program, charge their transport cards and so on. There are plenty of options – little creativity is needed.

It’s not mandatory, but we recommend long-term interns should get some basic remuneration as they will be covering their accommodation, food, flight and local transportation.

Our advice is that you shouldn’t forget you’re competing with other companies to attract and keep the best interns so you must be competitive to get the most qualified ones. We also recommend you to read The Muse’s article explaining the advantages and disadvantages of a paid internship.

Do you need help to create an internship program?

Over the years our Platform (China Internship Placements or CIP) carefully selected International Young Graduates and College Students for befitting internship placement for companies in China. We place highly motivated, critical thinking and hungry- for-experience interns who can lead corporate revolutions and are team players. CIP’s China Internship Program participants are noted industry-wide for being the best. Once you join our network of Companies (for free), you will have access to our excellent and qualify interns’ database of about 10,000 applicants. Click here to get in touch with us or read this article explaining Why May Companies need an Internship Placement Agency.

We also prepared a step by step guide to get you even more into this topic and help you build the perfect internship program. After going through it, you should be able to:

  • Understand the importance of hiring interns and if you need them on your team;
  • Know when you need an intern and whether you are ready for it;
  • Design and develop internship programs appealing to International interns;
  • Understand and conduct a recruitment process;
  • Measure interns’ performance;
  • Deal with contract and visa issues;
  • Avoid common mistakes that could ruin your program.


How To Hire Interns

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