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How to manage a remote graduate or internship scheme

by Tom Dobree April 28, 2020
Early Career 4 Cropped

​Among other considerations during the Covid-19 crisis, many businesses are having to substantially pivot their hiring strategies and ways of onboarding new employees. Graduate or internship schemes are no different and potentially an even larger factor with schemes starting imminently after completing the application process last year. For these larger programmes where groups of employees will be starting at once, managing the structure and effectively onboarding remotely has to be reconsidered to maintain the business aims.

Companies will have to consider meeting people for the first time via video and, longer-term, potentially welcoming employees into the business without having any face-to-face interaction.

But there are a lot of ways to make this easier for your business and the new starters alike. Here are a few things to consider and download the full guide here.

Don’t forget the adaptability

When it comes to graduates or student interns, it’s important to remember that they are, in fact, likely to be the easiest demographic to slot into remote working. Graduates and students will be used to spending a lot of time revising in university bedrooms or libraries on their own, so should have a good idea of how to push themselves and work well remotely.

Also, many interns will have most likely not set foot in a proper office, so in many ways, this will be a case of setting some clear rules for working that suit your structure whilst remembering to consider the lines of communication, agenda for workload and creating team bonds.

Communication and structure

In the absence of face-to-face interaction, it’s vital to retain communication with interns to set tasks, ensure work is underway, and help establish a connection between yourselves as well as between the interns who will be working together.

On the first day, set up a group call to introduce yourselves and the interns to one another, and set out a few core principles about how to work and staying in touch. Here are some structured communications to consider and can be picked up depending on the scale of communication needed – we are here to advise on a case-by-case basis. The main thing is to set timeframes for team meetings to build up a rapport and ensure tasks are underway.

  • Daily 9am video calls for the business to get together

  • Daily 9:30am calls for the project team to have a more local catch up on tasks for the day

  • End of the day ‘wrap up’ if necessary

  • Guidance on working hours and lunch etc

  • Make it clear that they are allowed to go for breaks, but longer periods of time should be flagged in case anyone needs to be contacted

Psychological safety

The highest-performing teams have one thing in common: psychological safety. This is the process of building trust and ‘safe spaces’ for communication, meaning that employees can know that won’t be punished for making mistakes. Studies show that psychological safety allows for moderate risk-taking, open communication and creativity; something which is an added challenge for remote working, but even more important in these situations. Here are a couple of things to consider to help build this within teams:

  • Be upfront that this is a challenging situation and new working environment for everyone involved

  • Consider a virtual ‘ice-breaker’ in the initial meeting on the first day to introduce something about themselves outside of work or academia; it’s important to establish connections of people who won’t be meeting in person and create a level of social trust

  • Create a trusting working environment. This will be helped by clear communication from leadership, good networks in the other interns and Analysts and any other more ‘informal’ lines of communication

  • Make it clear that people can feel open to express their challenges without fear of reproach

Download the full article here to find out more about managing graduate and interns starting at your company.

​We are here to help set up and manage remote schemes – through sourcing and assessing, to facilitating the individuals to start within your company. In a competitive market, it’s important to ensure that businesses are still capturing the best talent who will be looking for opportunities, but we understand that this requires a lot of management and trust in the process; so we are on-hand to be the extension of your team to help hire and onboard using a structured approach in the absence of the face-to-face.

Each situation is different, and we are advising clients with each specific need. If you have a scheme or individuals starting during this lockdown period, then get in touch to find out more.

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