13 Ways to Set Up a Winning Internship Program

Throughout the year, we will be recapping some of the sessions that took place during the 2018 Cleveland Internship Summit. Today’s article focuses on the best practices surrounding the establishment of an internship program.

If you’re going to put together a top-notch internship program, what better place to start than by taking inspiration from organizations that have already taken that step? That’s exactly what attendees of the “Ask the Pros” session held during the 2018 Cleveland Internship Summit had the opportunity to do.

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    Taking part in the panel discussion were:

    • MacKenzie Hawes, talent acquisition and employment programs associate with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District;
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    • Kelly Diamond, recruiting program manager at Hyland; and
    • Jennifer Cowles, leadership and executive programs leader at KeyBank.

    Read on below for the 13 takeaways these panelists provided during the panel discussion. And scroll down to the bottom of the article to listen to a full recap of the session.

    How do you identify potential internship candidates?

    1: Focus on the degree programs that most closely match what you’re looking for.

    2: For summer internship programs, it’s ideal to begin your intern search in the fall and to have candidates identified and hired by winter break.

    3: Set up partnerships with schools in the region and have a presence at program-specific recruiting fairs (such as one held just for engineering students if that’s the kind of skill you’re seeking.)

    4: Try setting up a table at a college quad or work with professors to give a quick pitch for interns at a classroom setting.

    What should the interview process look like?

    5: Conduct a phone screen to ensure the candidate has the basic requirements for the job. If the basic requirements are met, move on to manager interviews and an online assessment if needed.

    6: Consider also sending a business case in advance, if applicable, for a candidate to evaluate.

    7: Think about holding an “Intern Day” where you bring in all of your candidates for a full day of in-person interviews.

    8: Don’t forget to conduct a background check.

    How do you prepare the intern’s supervisor?

    9: About a month before the internship is to start, meet with the manager to determine the intern's project timelines.

    10:  Review expectations for the intern with the intern’s supervisor.

    11: Encourage the manager to select mentors to also work with the interns.

    What’s the best way to include career development into the program?

    12: Provide opportunities for the interns to learn about other departments or lines of business within the company.

    13: Keep the interns engaged during the program by hosting functions such as lunch-and-learns that can focus on topics including resume building, interviewing tips and how to leverage LinkedIn during a job search. 

    Learn more about the ins and outs of internship programs by checking out GCP Internship Central.

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    Next up: Avoid becoming another Fire-Loss Statistic
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  • Avoid becoming another Fire-Loss Statistic

    Losses as a result of fire damage put a big dent into business operations every year. U.S. fires resulted in an estimated $11.6 billion in direct property loss during 2014, according to the National Fire Protection Association. On average, a civilian fire death occurred somewhere in the country every two hours and 41 minutes. There are a number of steps businesses can take to avoid becoming another fire-loss statistic, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce. These steps are centered around four main themes.

    Losses as a result of fire damage put a big dent into business operations every year.

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    U.S. fires resulted in an estimated $11.6 billion in direct property loss during 2014, according to the National Fire Protection Association. On average, a civilian fire death occurred somewhere in the country every two hours and 41 minutes.

    There are a number of steps businesses can take to avoid becoming another fire-loss statistic, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce. These steps are centered around four main themes

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    Create a fire safety plan

    It’s important that businesses have in place a fire safety plan that is reviewed annually. This plan will help employees identify actions that need to be taken to help prevent a fire. This plan should include:

    • designating an outdoor central meeting place that is well-marked;
    • establishing a process by which employees who are trained to use fire extinguishers are trained annually; and
    • acquainting the local fire department with your facility, its location and potential specific hazards.

    Housekeeping

    Keeping a tidy workplace environment can also help support the fire protection cause. Employees and employers should:

    • keep personal workspaces clean;
    • check heating units at least annually;
    • empty waste containers daily;
    • turn off non-essential electrical equipment at the end of each day;
    • ensure extension cords are the correct size and used for portable equipment only; and
    • check electrical outlets regularly to ensure they are not overloaded.

    Storage

    Workplace materials must be stored safely. This can be accomplished by:

    • keeping combustible materials at least 3 feet away from heat sources;
    • disposing hazardous materials properly; and
    • maintaining at least 24 inches between the top of a stack of materials and the ceiling.

    Fire Protection

    If fire does occur, it’s important to be prepared. Some fire protection tips include:

    • clearly marking all exit doors and removing any potential obstructions from the door;
    • allowing exit doors to be opened from the direction of exit traffic without the use of a key or any special knowledge or effort;
    • mounting fire extinguishers in accessible and identified locations;
    • keeping a space of at least 18 inches below sprinkler heads and checking the sprinklers annually;
    • testing emergency lighting every month; and 
    • keeping doors closed when rooms are not occupied (closed doors can act as a barrier to smoke and fire).

    Escape tips

    In addition, it’s important to keep in mind what should be done to escape a fire:

    1. If you see smoke, try another way to escape. If you have to escape through smoke, stay close to the floor.
    2. Check doorknobs and the space between the door and frame with the back of your hand before opening closed doors. If it is cool, open the door slowly but be ready to quickly close the door if smoke comes through.
    3. Elevators should not be used during a fire.
    4. Once you're out, STAY OUT. If someone else is trapped inside, tell the Fire Department. Fire gasses in the building are toxic and can kill.

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    Next up: Tips for Your Business: Be Disaster Ready
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  • Tips for Your Business: Be Disaster Ready

    July 8th was an anxious day for some and a fearful one for others. During the course of a four-hour span, three well-known institutions – United Airlines, the New York Stock Exchange and The Wall Street Journal – were suddenly offline, leaving their customers, partners and the global market fretting over a possible larger-scale issue. While each of these organizations continue to consider the effect of these outages and what could have been done to prevent it, all businesses can learn a valuable lesson from this calamity. Ask yourself: Are you prepared for a disruption to your business?

    July 8th was an anxious day for some and a fearful one for others. During the course of a four-hour span, three well-known institutions – United Airlines, the New York Stock Exchange and The Wall Street Journal – were suddenly offline, leaving their customers, partners and the global market fretting over a possible larger-scale issue.

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    While each of these organizations continue to consider the effect of these outages and what could have been done to prevent it, all businesses can learn a valuable lesson from this calamity. Ask yourself: Are you prepared for a disruption to your business?

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    The ever-increasing reliance on technology has brought business continuity and disaster recovery to the forefront of many businesses, presenting a challenge to IT and business leaders as to how to create an effective disaster recovery (DR) plan. 

    The first step in creating a DR plan is identifying and understanding the types of common disaster events that can affect your business, including:

    • Environmental – tornado, hurricane, snowstorm, flood, and fire.
    • Deliberate – terrorism, sabotage, theft, arson (internal personnel or external).
    • System Failure – hacker, employee destruction.
    • Other Emergency Situation – public transportation, governmental, legal.

    Once these events have been classified, establishing a DR checklist is the next step. Below is a standard outline of a checklist:

    • Justification – Define the Executive Sponsors. Executive Sponsors are the business leaders within your organization responsible for creating a DR plan.  Business leaders must determine the timeframe for recovery (how long can the business be unavailable), as well as establish a budget to support the initiative. In general, this phase begins the process of establishing a business impact analysis, which is a risk assessment of the impact to your business should a disaster occur.
    • Inventory – Document your entire IT environment (applications, network elements, access points, data, etc.).  You will also need to understand how the applications and data are being accessed and used by employees, partners and customers. 
    • Prioritization – Prioritize applications in tiers, from the most to least critical.
    • Budgeting – Forecast the initial setup fees (capital expense) as well as the operating cost of managing a disaster recovery plan. Operating costs include training, testing, fees to host the DR environment and the applicable software licensing fees.
    • DR Planning – Formalize an action plan in the event a disaster impacts your business. Elements of this plan should include an appropriate alternative location to operate from (technology platform and people), processes and procedures for declaring a disaster, and individual and/or team-based responsibilities in the event a disaster is declared.
    • Maintenance – Be diligent in revising the plan as technology and your business evolve and change. Test your DR plan annually and review the outcomes to understand what gaps occurred and what risks can be mitigated, and update the plan accordingly.

    Once the dust settled from the outages of July 8th and the cause of each disruption surfaced, the concern of a terrorist cyber-attack was diminished. It was revealed United Airlines suffered a network outage that caused the carrier to ground flights by more than an hour, the NYSE’s online trading platform crashed due to a misguided software update and WSJ.com was overwhelmed by traffic due to investors and the market seeking information as to why the NYSE trading environment was offline.  

    Even a small scale disaster can impact business on many levels. In the event of a disaster or disruption to your business, do you have a plan in place to continue your day-to-day operations? 

    David Saliba is vice president of Expedient, a leading provider of cloud computing, managed services and colocation in Cleveland.

    This article originally appeared in the August 3, 2015, edition of Small Business Matters.


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    Next up: "Best Benefits Decision I Ever Made…"
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  • "Best Benefits Decision I Ever Made…"

    “Joining COSE’s group-rated Workers’ Comp Program has helped me in my business in so many ways. Not only has COSE saved me money on premiums, but they understand my needs and can fight for me better than any other program. I’m not just another number among many other businesses to them. They provide individualized attention and navigate my problems for me, leaving me to continue focusing on what I’m passionate about – my restaurants.”  - Eric Williams, owner, Momocho and El Carnicero, and partner, Happy Dog and Jack Flaps

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    “Joining COSE’s group-rated Workers’ Comp Program has helped me in my business in so many ways. Not only has COSE saved me money on premiums, but they understand my needs and can fight for me better than any other program. I’m not just another number among many other businesses to them. They provide individualized attention and navigate my problems for me, leaving me to continue focusing on what I’m passionate about – my restaurants.”

     - Eric Williams, owner, Momocho and El Carnicero, and partner, Happy Dog and Jack Flaps

    With his passion for good food and his desire to support his hometown and the local economy, Eric Williams has independently opened or partnered in some of Cleveland’s hottest restaurants in the last few years. He has encountered a few bumps along the way, with new and different challenges for each new operation, and relied on COSE’s workers’ comp team to help him navigate the obstacles.

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    Get a free quote on COSE’s group-rated Workers’ Compensation Program.

    This article originally appeared in the March 23, 2015, edition of Small Business Matters.



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    Next up: BizConCLE Preview: The Power of Positivity and Diversity in Organizational Teams
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  • BizConCLE Preview: The Power of Positivity and Diversity in Organizational Teams

    Team-focused cultures are all the rage today, but what's the best way to organize such a team at your company? Here's a preview of a workshop session that will examine that topic during this year's BizConCLE.

    Given the team-focused culture that dominates organizations today, it’s becoming increasingly important for companies to put extra thought into how such organizational teams are comprised. More frequently, companies are looking to add diversity in the employees who make up these teams. In fact, a recent HerdWisdom study has found that diverse teams outperform homogenous teams by six times.

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    But simply bringing together a mix of people and personalities isn’t enough on its own to guarantee success. This is a topic that ERC Senior Training Consultant Chris Powers will explore in-depth during his upcoming workshop at this year’s BizConCLE. Ahead of this session, Powers took time to preview some of the themes he plans to address and what attendees will walk away with following his talk.

    Stay positive

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    At the end of the day, Powers said no one on the team wants to fail. Everyone wants to do their best work and add value. So, with that in mind, he said it’s important that leaders provide a healthy amount of positive feedback to team members.

    This is important because employees who feel appreciated and valued will want to work harder and they will be motivated to get more of that good feeling they experienced.

    Diversity and fresh ideas

    Diversity is also an important element in high-performing organizational teams. Studies have found that diverse teams are nearly twice as likely to be innovative than those that are homogenous.

    Powers said it’s crucial for companies to prioritize diversity in their workforces and on their teams. Otherwise, he cautioned, it’s easy to fall into group think.

    Putting these different personalities and backgrounds together on one team can be a struggle, however. So, how does Powers suggest that companies overcome this dilemma? During his workshop at BizConCLE on Nov. 1, Powers will outline strategies companies can use to ensure everyone on the team is working as one happy, cohesive unit.

    Don’t miss out on this workshop! Register today for BizConCLE by clicking here. And learn more about why this is a can’t miss event by clicking here.

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    Next up: COSE WebEd Series: Building A Better Workplace with Policies & Procedures
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  • COSE WebEd Series: Building A Better Workplace with Policies & Procedures

    Learn how to build a better workplace in this webinar presented by Elizabeth A. Crosby from Buckley King.


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