Internship Onboarding: Plan a Successful Internship Orientation

One of the most significant advantages of hiring interns is the opportunity to select and develop your future talent. A survey from Bridge states employers have reported converting more than half of qualified interns into full-time hires. However, interns must learn about the company and position and interact with staff members to make this happen. This can be accomplished through Internship Onboarding or Internship Orientation, either held virtually or in person.

An internship orientation (or internship onboarding) is a series of onboarding activities, training sessions, and team meetings that are designed to introduce a new intern to the company’s values, the internship role, and the company’s systems & policies.

Internship orientations and internship onboardings are great ways to introduce your new interns to the primary activities of your business or organization. It is very important for interns to be warmly welcomed into your organization. The sooner your intern understands your business, the sooner they can assume assigned responsibilities and work efficiently, whether in the office or in a virtual setting. Expectations vary based on the size of your organization or internship program, but here are a few things to review with your new interns:

  • Hours
  • Dress code
  • Overall responsibilities
  • Online workflow systems
  • Safety regulations and requirements

Designing a thorough internship onboarding and training plan will help interns learn quickly and become productive members of your team. Investing supervisory time with your interns can set the tone for the program and the internship experience. Taking some time to set up virtual team meetings or one-on-ones can help your interns feel more connected to the team and allow them to feel comfortable reaching out when they need help. But make sure you have an internship orientation checklist to go off of such as the one below:

Internship Orientation Checklist

  • Explain the mission of your organization.
  • Explain the organization’s structure and what each department is responsible for.
  • Define the intern’s responsibilities and teach them any jargon that will be helpful to their new position.
  • Outline the communication platforms that they should use throughout their internship.

Goals of the Internship Orientation

  • Introduce interns to staff members and an intern mentor.
  • Give the interns pertinent information about your business or organization’s operations, policies, and procedures.
  • Arrange for the interns to meet members of various departments to equate themselves and individually interact with each staff member.
  • Provide an opportunity for interns to meet each other.
  • Give the interns the resources they need to work effectively, even in a virtual environment.
  • Allow time for interns to determine their professional growth needs and learning goals they wish to achieve.

Make Your Internship Orientation FUN

What better way to host great internship orientations and internship onboardings for potential employees than a team building activity? Show how fun your organization is by planning an activity to get interns involved and get to know each other and others at the organization. Having a team building experience at your internship orientation can help form close relationships between the interns and staff members of your organization. Better yet, programs that allow you to explore the city are a fun and engaging way to get your interns adjusted to a new environment or setting. Let’s dive into some fun internship orientation ideas:

1. Team Scavenger Hunt

Some interns may not be from the city your organization is in. To get them acclimated to their new environment, a tremendous internship onboarding idea is to host a scavenger hunt so they can navigate the city using an iPad with a custom app to navigate to various GPS “hotspots” to unlock tasks. Challenges, which can put the spotlight on the event area, include photos, videos, trivia, music, and more! Teams can watch their progress on a live leaderboard until shortly before the event ends when teams meet back up and the winning team will be revealed.

Go Team Mad Dash Team Building

2. Game of Drones

This team challenge lets your interns take control and become drone pilots. Each team member has the opportunity to bring the team to higher altitudes while teams work to collaborate efficiently and soar through obstacles. Will the interns or full-time employees be the quickest to the finish line?

3. The Infinite Loop

This virtual reality team-building game can be enjoyed remotely or in person with oculus googles. Your team has a secret mission and in order to conquer the infinite loop, your team must communicate efficiently to solve puzzles and unlock levels. While each person has access to information, no one has everything. This is a great internship orientation idea to foster new bonds between interns and full-time employees.

Online VR

4. The Big Picture

This internship orientation idea is one of the most effective, memorable and meaningful team builds around. No need for anyone to feel intimidated by the creative process – our experienced and enthusiastic facilitators will guide your teams every step of the way as they create their beautiful collective artwork.

The Big Picture is a great exercise for helping teams stay mindful of “seeing the bigger picture” in their professional lives. As in most areas of life, it’s all about communication, collaboration and pulling together in the same direction. Incorporating this activity into an internship onboarding allows the interns to gain a deeper understanding of the company’s values and priorities, as well as that of its employees.

5. Do Good Bus

This internship orientation idea can help connect your team with your community and give them a strong sense of purpose. Working side-by-side, your team will forge lasting, authentic connections. Getting on the Do Good Bus is a great way for your team to work together, do good together, and learn about their community.

6. Corporate Survivor

Based on the popular reality TV-show, our Corporate Survivor event is a highly energetic outdoor team building event, filled with exciting team building games. It’s designed to challenge your team members mentally, physically, and emotionally and has all the excitement and drama of the real survivor experience. This is a a perfect internship orientation idea to bring your team together.

Take Your Internship Onboarding and Orientation to the Next Level!

Make sure to check out our in-person and remote team-building activities for more exciting ideas to bring your interns onboard. Remember, your interns may have little to no experience with your organization’s objective, environment, or even working virtually in a professional capacity. A successful internship orientation or internship onboarding can help them acclimate more quickly and be more productive both in the office and online!

Anna Webber

Team Contributor


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