Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Employer Report: Part Three in Our Series on Virtual Internships - Managing a Virtual Intern

In this issue of the Urban Interns Employer Report - a free resource to help you grow your business by leveraging part-time staff and interns - we will address the third and final topic in our series on virtual internships, "How to Effectively Manage a Virtual Intern."

A Brief Recap on Virtual Internships
  • Hiring virtual interns is a growing trend, especially among small- to mid-size businesses.
  • The benefits of virtual interns include low overhead, flexible scheduling and extended talent pool.
  • When selecting a virtual intern, remember the three P's: Professionalism, Performance and Presence.
So now that you've hired your virtual intern, what's next?

Goals, Guidance and Good Communication.

  • Goals: Begin your work by clearly defining what you expect from your virtual intern. When is the project due? What format are you expecting? Are there certain milestones that need to be hit by certain dates? Things that may be intuitive to you or otherwise may be picked up "on the job" need to explicitly stated when you're working with someone remotely.
  • Guidance: When bringing on an intern, or any new staff member for that matter, upfront training is needed. This is no different with someone who is working for you virtually. The more effort you put in to getting someone up to speed, the more you can expect in terms of performance.
  • Good Communication: First, get your method of communication in order and on a regular basis. Do you prefer phone, email or Skype? Or perhaps a combination of the above? Second, establish a routine for communication and check-ins. Whether daily, weekly, or regularly with as-needed updates, both you and your virtual intern will come to appreciate this ability to touch base, catch up, and regroup. The earlier you establish the routine, the quicker you can find your most productive pattern.
Virtual Interns are a great resource for cost-effectively growing your business. Check back with us for more tips on selecting wisely and managing well.
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