Now that the weather is nice, our family likes to go for bike rides. We have two children, a girl who is 11 and a boy who is 7. Both are good bike riders, but they have to be managed very differently. With my older daughter, if we're going somewhere she's been before, we just have to give her the destination. She can go ahead and we can trust her to ride safely and arrive in one piece. If it's someplace new, my husband goes first and she can simply follow. It's easy.
Now, the 7-year-old is a different story. I like to ride behind him, rather than in front. It's easier for me to shout instructions from behind. Things like "Stay to the side" and "Don't forget to stop at the stop sign."
Managing my daughter's bike rides is like managing an experienced employee. Instructions, a little guidance, and the job is pretty much done. My son? That's like managing an intern.
Interns aren't just young employees. Many are completely new to the world of work, and those who do have working experience tend to have experience in retail and restaurants, which are fine places to work, but a different atmosphere than your startup. Keep these things in mind when managing your interns.
1. Explain at the first.
Things like a dress code may seem screamingly obvious to you, but they aren't to everyone. If you don't have a formal dress code written, write one before your interns start and give it to them. Explain that they aren't to use their phones during meetings, that talking about their weekends should involve only things they wouldn't mind their mothers overhearing, and that you can't skip out on a meeting like you would on a lecture.
2. Give constant feedback.
Students are used to getting grades on pop quizzes, homework assignments, and tests. It's how they know how they are doing. If you figure you'll just fill out the end of internship evaluation sheet, you won't be helping your intern. Give feedback all the time--positive and negative. When they are on the right track, say so. When they are swerving into traffic, say that too.
3. Don't expect perfection.
Remember, your interns are interns because they are just learning how to function in business. You have to expend a bit more energy to instruct and guide them to the right tasks. If you go into that expecting it, it makes it a lot easier.
4. Give real assignments.
If you want the best out of your interns, give them meaningful tasks. (Of course, anything meaningful means that you have to pay them.) Interns are hoping to learn a lot, and if they are doing things they are already capable of doing well, they won't learn anything.