Intern programs develop grad leadership skills
Employers that want to access top talent fast and develop leadership skills among existing employees should consider implementing an intern program, says Ernst & Young managing partner and people leader Lynn Kraus.
Benefit your interns, your graduates, and your brandVacationers are placed in a "buddy system", where first-year graduates show them the ropes, says Kraus.
The buddy system functions as a leadership development tool for first-year employees who are yet to lead and supervise others in the workplace.
"You don't actually understand how much you've learned and how much you know until you are asked to teach someone else," Kraus says. The program allows grads that have been working for a year to pass on their knowledge for the first time. "It helps to build their confidence and it helps groom them to be supervisors and reviewers in the years to come," she says.
Employers considering a vacationer program must ensure they can provide real work, Kraus says. This does not necessarily mean doing client work "every day for 12 weeks", she says - "but they need to have something meaningful to do to get a view of what you will be like as an employer".
Although it can be difficult to determine the right level of work to give vacationers, "if they come in and do photocopying and administrative things, that's clearly not going to be meeting their appetite for what they want to get out of a career".
To ensure their experience is a positive one, "you really have to plan how you will utilise these individuals" and spend a lot of time "in the service line", she says. It is important to ensure supervisors who put their hand up for any number of vacationers can explain exactly how they will put them to work.
One thing that works well at Ernst & Young, says Kraus, is getting vacationers involved in one of the company's community efforts. "I think that's a big part of our brand as an employer, and it also is a good team environment for them. We might take them on a day where they go to Habitat for Humanity, and so they develop relationships as a peer group but also get to experience how working in the corporate world doesn't mean you don't actually connect with the community."
The aim is to show them as many facets of the organisation, and give them with as many experiences, as possible, she says.
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