Preparing Fall interns for their new corporate cultures

August 26, 2010 at 11:18 am | Posted in Advising interns, corporate culture, Preparing interns | Leave a comment

To help your Fall interns understand the corporate culture at their upcoming internships, suggest a few research assignments, helping them assess the values, standards, and behaviors of the corporate leadership.

A good starting point is with values and goals. Ask your prospective interns to read the history of the company and the biographies of the corporate leaders. Annual reports are also an excellent source of information on the company’s achievements, challenges, or changing values. The corporate mission statement and the slogan also reveal the values in a company. And Google is helpful in tracking any information about the company that might reveal more about its values.

Next, your student interns can evaluate the company standards. One way to evaluate its position in the community is to find out if it sponsors charitable events or champions local sports teams. Reading past employee newsletters will also reveal company standards in terms of how employees are treated. Students should look for articles on employee award, bonus, or incentive programs as well as company holiday events and number of vacation days.

Finally, your interns will benefit greatly by exploring the company behaviors, including dress and language. The company Web site, brochures, and annual reports usually have images of employees at work, revealing dress codes and helping your intern know how to dress. The age of employees is also another guidepost to behavior. If most of the employees look young, the environment at work may revolve around social media and contemporary topics, ensuring that your student intern will “fit” in very quickly.

If possible, connect your prospective intern with a former intern from that company, so they can share information on corporate culture. The former intern could serve as a mentor to his/her replacement.  You could establish an intern alumni network to help all your new interns.

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