How to Transition from One Intern to the Next

In many ways, the transition between interns is like the transition between employees. Someone familiar with the office and with the job duties is leaving, and a new, unfamiliar person, is taking the position. But intern job duties are typically easier to pick up on, since interns generally don’t stay at one place for too long.

Even if you use your interns to help you accomplish even small tasks around the office, you still need a transition process. Use your departing intern to set up processes, systems, and directions for the new intern. That way, you can make training your new intern easier and you can learn ways to make the next internship run more smoothly.

Ask for Process Documents for Software

Image via Flickr by AFL-CIO Field

Your last intern likely learned some techniques while working with your company’s software. During the last week, have the intern create process documents explaining how to use the important software. These documents should explain the process for every task the intern does when using the software. An additional document explaining typical software needs — such as how to leave comments on a document, how to save a specific file type, and how to export data — would also be helpful for the next intern.

Save Documents the Next Intern Will Need

Templates, how-to guides, and client information are all documents your next intern will need. Have your current intern create a file containing each document. Clear labeling is key, since the new intern will have to sift through these unfamiliar files as they become accustomed to working at your business.

If your business uses many document templates and client files, a printed list explaining the filing system, and naming important files and where to find them, will be extremely helpful. Short explanations of when to use specific documents may be useful, too, depending on what tasks you typically assign to your interns.

Set up Email Forwarding

If your interns get company email accounts, set up email forwarding so that your new intern gets the emails the old intern used to receive. If your intern uses a generic email, remove any signatures or personal touches from that email account before setting up the account for the next intern. Be sure to have the new intern make introductions to clients who will be communicating with your new intern.

Wipe Accounts and Files From Devices

Ask your departing interns to delete any personal files from devices that they used while they were working with you. Before handing over a computer and any company devices to your new interns, make sure that bookmarks, browsing history, and downloaded files get removed from the devices.

If you share devices such as tablets or iPhones with interns, you can find directions from T-Mobile for how to reset an iPhone online. A factory reset will wipe all data and give the new interns a clean slate on the device. With a clean phone operating on a reliable 4G LTE network such as T-Mobile, your interns will be able to communicate with you and feel part of your office team.

Meet With the Departing Intern

Meet with your departing intern on the last workday. You can make this meeting more informal than an employee termination meeting, since you and your intern both knew that this time period was coming to a close. Here is your opportunity to give the intern feedback, and it’s your opportunity for the intern to give you feedback about the internship position. Ask questions that will help you onboard the next intern, such as what the intern would have liked to have known about on the first day of work.

Consider making a short version of an employee termination checklist for your intern transitions to keep the process running as smoothly as possible. Even though internships are not salaried position types, a departure and onboarding process is still important to maintain consistency and quality for the internship experience. In doing so, you create an easier transition for both the interns and the rest of your employees.

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