Best Practices Made Better: Supervising a Global Intern…ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD!
These are among the terms highlighted in a June 2019 article titled “What Should We Call People Who Work Remotely?” (Uy, 2019). The discussion about how to describe remote work has not gone away and after an – understatement alert – dramatic expansion during 2020 it is clear that remote work is here to stay (Lund, Madgavkar, Manyika, & Smit, 2020).
As the Global Career Center prepares students for the future world of work, we anticipate continuing to offer internship programming that includes projects and placements in person or online or within a hybrid workplace. Each has its own opportunities and challenges.
This post focuses on the online environment and shares best practices from and for internship supervisors welcoming global interns who may be based on the other side of the world.
MAIN MOTIVATIONS: WHY INCORPORATE A GLOBAL INTERN INTO YOUR TEAM?
Perspective. In an online environment, host organizations are able to broaden their recruitment pool and bring in students from regions, majors, and universities that may not have seemed possible before.
Structure. Working with an intern in a remote setting allows supervisors to improve their ability to manage geographically dispersed teams, including onboarding and collaborating towards a deliverable.
Flexibility. By thinking beyond the day to day, host organizations are able to consider projects that may have stalled or ideas that need exploration or broader questions that could be tackled with energy and input from a global intern.
TOP TIPS: WHAT CAN I DO TO PREPARE FOR A GLOBAL INTERN?
Perspective. Look for connections between your organization and the location where your global intern is based. Ask if the student has traveled to or plans to visit your region. Online engagement now can inspire in person connection in the future.
Structure. Prepare a well-defined project brief with clear deliverables and anticipated outcomes. List potential resources within your organization and your network. Include a plan to implement and share completed work product from your global intern.
Flexibility. Schedule several informal ‘office hours’ into your calendar for your global intern to drop by. Look for the windows of time when traditional workdays overlap. It is navigating time zone – more than navigating technology – that causes the most anxiety for global interns.
LESSONS LEARNED: How might I support my global intern?
Perspective. Encourage happenstance guided by location and vocation. Create opportunity for your global intern to discover webinars, data, peer organizations, industry associations, networking events and other resources that link their location to your organization.
Structure. Create a cadence for your global intern. Perhaps you meet weekly to plan and share written status update daily. Agree upon preferred modes and manner of communications. Provide frequent feedback and ample opportunity to ask questions.
Flexibility. Invite your global intern to connect with a range of colleagues and relevant individuals within your network. Share updates and events from your organization. Ask if the student’s program includes cultural or professional development events you might join.
More motivations, tips or lessons to share? We look forward to continuing the conversation.
Lund, S., Madgavkar, A., Manyika, J., & Smit, S. (2020, November 23). What's Next for Remote Work: An Analysis of 2,000 Tasks, 800 Jobs, and Nine Countries. McKinsey Global Institute.
Uy, M. (2019, June 24). What Should We Call People Who Work Remotely? Telework, Telecommuting, and More. Lifewire.