Click here to go Home
About Naf The Academies Resources Partners & Sponsors Alumni NAF Network Exchange Curriculum Conferences Site Map
Career Academy Resource Center
   Internship Toolkit
     Employer Supervision/Performance
       Employer Supervision/Performance FAQ

Employer Supervision/Performance back to Employer Supervision/Performance   |   EmployerSupervisionFAQ   |   EmployerSupervisionLinks   |
What are the skill levels of the intern?
How do I keep the intern busy and productive?
What do I do if there is a problem with the intern?
Should a high school student intern be treated differently than an entry-level company employee?
What should the intern learn?
Should there be an “exit interview” with the intern, prior to his/her final internship day with the organization?

What are the skill levels of the intern? [top]
      Just like every new employee, interns come into the position with varying skill and maturity levels. The easiest way to determine the skill level of your intern, is to ask them, preferably during the interview process. You can determine their technical skills by asking them whether they are familiar with certain computer hardware or software, and certain routine office hardware (copier, fax machine, scanner, desktop computer.) Additionally, you can ask them if they are familiar with certain soft skills concepts (teamwork, ethics, time management, productivity, etc.). Students should have also prepared a resume for the interview, which should further describe their experience, knowledge and skill level. The Academy Director and teacher may also be helpful to the employer, by sharing their personal observations of the intern, and his/her academic productivity and behavior. Understanding the skill level early on in the internship, helps the employer tailor the internship activities and learned competencies, and ultimately develop the student.
How do I keep the intern busy and productive? [top]
      This is a key question. The successful internship experience for both the intern, and the employer is one in which the intern feels that they are getting a “well-rounded” experience, seeing and experiencing a number of different areas within the organization, working with a number of different people, completing a number of different types of assignments, and feeling as if they are making a contribution to the company. The successful internship should also benefit the employer. The intern should go through an orientation and initial training period during which they should learn about the company, how the department in which they are working connects to the entire organization, what the organization chart looks like, how the subsidiary makes money, who are the competitors, etc. The best way to “keep the intern busy and productive” is to have a game plan ahead of time, before the intern arrives. Since the intern will be there for between 6 and 10 weeks, the supervisor should have the entire internship projects and goals laid out, so there isn’t any “down time.” Each week, the intern should have a specific assignment, working on a specific project, or with a specific team, doing different jobs, gaining different experience and using different skills, which relate to the intern’s Academy curriculum. Jobs can be routine clerical work, but not longer than a week. After that, the intern should be assigned to help out in different working departments; finance, sales, marketing, catering, housekeeping, security, administration, human resources, communications, accounting, payroll, etc. Academy interns have worked with confidential client information in banks, done research using the internet for a Federal agency, updated company website designs, worked with payroll, reconfigured and consolidated corporate financial statements, provided outstanding customer service for a major national hotel chain, and, in general, made a substantial impact on their employer’s operations. With the skills that each student brings to the internship (word processing, spreadsheet, database, customer service, accounting, financial planning, and many more) it shouldn’t be too hard for them to fit in, no matter where they are placed, and begin to be productive immediately. By raising your own expectations, and assignments for the intern, they just might surprise you. Just keep in mind that the internship is not the same as a high school summer job, so a little planning and forethought goes a long way in keeping the intern busy and productive.
What do I do if there is a problem with the intern? [top]
      The first thing to do is to talk with the intern. They should be told, in a constructive way, what isn’t working, and how they can change to be better. Just like any other employee of the company, interns should follow appropriate behavior and performance protocol as outlined in the employer’s employment manual. If after the intern has been talked to, the problem persists, then the school supervisor (Academy Director) should be called in so he/she understands the issues, and can offer some additional information, which may be helpful in rectifying the problem. If after a number of attempts have been made to fix the problem, all of which should be duly noted and reduced to writing in an intern folder, in accordance with employer hiring and firing rules and regulations, and the problem isn’t fixed, the intern may be asked to leave the position. This would only be appropriate if all the remedies for correcting the problem have failed. Hopefully, if this were the case, the student will learn something from the experience, and avoid repeating the problem in the future.
Should a high school student intern be treated differently than an entry-level company employee? [top]
      Yes and no. The employer must keep in mind that the student intern is likely to be 17 or 18 years old, and may not have the same maturity level as entry level employees, or even college interns. At the same time, studies show that employers who have had Academy interns say their skill levels and productivity have been as good as, and in some cases, superior to college interns, and entry level workers. Therefore, employers should set appropriately high expectations for the interns, treat them as they would any new hire as far as helping them get acclimated to their new employer’s culture, understanding appropriate behavior and employability protocol, and helping them to be productive members of the organization.
What should the intern learn? [top]
      This should be discussed with the Academy Director, and then spelled out in writing for all parties (student, parent, employer, school personnel) to read and understand. A sample “Internship Competencies” may be found in Appendix __ ) This will be a handy guide for “infusing” lessons into the regular workday. For example, if “understand how the company makes money” is one of the competencies, and the intern is helping the strategic planning team put together their five year plan, they student might work on the section of the plan that addresses profitability, and put together certain portions of a presentation on powerpoint slides. To the extent possible, work assignments should require the intern to use knowledge and skills learned in the Academy classroom. The employer supervisor should discuss the curriculum with the Academy Director, have some level of knowledge of what has been covered, and then try to infuse those lessons into the work day.
Should there be an “exit interview” with the intern, prior to his/her final internship day with the organization? [top]
      One of the first “post-internship activities” a student can perform is to meet with his/her supervisor at the end of the internship period, just prior to the last day, and discuss the outcomes. Were their goals achieved? Were the employers’ goals achieved? What would they like to have seen done differently? What was the most rewarding part of the internship? What did you like the most? What did you like the least? What would you change for the student who interns here next year? These are just some examples of questions, which can be asked, answered, and memorialized in the intern’s folder. This can also be the foundation for a final “post internship journal or report” done by the student, and presented to his/her classmates. A final Gap Analysis may also be completed, by both the student intern and the employer, to ascertain whether there were any measurable gaps in respective performance expectations. The Gap Analysis may then be helpful in determining how to improve future year internship placements.

[ About Naf | The Academies | Resources | Partners & Sponsors | Alumni | NAF Network Exchange | Curriculum | Conferences | Terms and Conditions | Site Map ]

Copyright ©2000-2001 National Academy Foundation. All Rights Reserved. Graphic design by Addison.   Powered by