Developing a colleague who is appointed as an intern is serious business. This is certainly not an errand-girl or errand-boy to be treated with disdain and humiliated. Instead our duty is to nurture, support, empathize and most importantly DEVELOP this person into a high-performing professional ready for the challenges of a full-time position, ready to serve clients and markets.
Being trained by a team who believes that making coffee, tea and photocopies are an element of an internship programme and not the main objective is crucial. Your first week should consist of writing an article for a client and presenting a status report. Being thrown into the ‘deep end ‘will assist in growth and build your self-confidence and empower you to become a leader in the industry.
After three years in the industry I was tasked with interviewing potential junior team members who had just completed their internship programmes.
80% of the potential employees had been asked to do mainly coffee and lunch runs, when they were in client meetings they would be tasked with taking notes and not contributing. If they were part of an internal planning session they would be asked to put a presentation together without their own input.
The young and upcoming PR professionals are the future of our industry, we should not see them as extra hands for coffee but instead as the next generation of PR. As we go into 2019 many of our companies will be hiring interns and the following tips should be considered:
1) Create a internship programme: A day to day plan should be created by the agencies to ensure that the intern covers all the necessities to become an outstanding and successful PR professional.
2) Pair them up with a Senior Team member: This will allow the intern to have someone to learn from and seek guidance.
3) Weekly feedback meetings: Go through the week with the intern and make sure that weekly targets or goals are met.
4) Include them in your internal strategies: The youth have different views and may play a crucial role in the innovation of our agencies and client strategies.
Deciding to include interns into your business is a privilege and it’s our duty to empower and uplift the future of our industry.
Nkhensani Moyane, Managing Director at Glasshouse Communication