Archive for the ‘jke Marketing & Communications’ Category

Getting the Most From An Internship

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Summer is prime time for internships. You’re really busy and you think having an intern may be a good idea. To get the biggest bang for your bucks and/or time, here are several important questions you need to answer before you take the plunge and get into the swim!

Before an internship

Who will supervise the intern and for whom will the intern work?

Be certain you have the time to work with an intern. He or she will not come “fully grown,” so you’ll need to allot time for training, introductions, questions, paperwork, etc. Remember, the experience will be so much more beneficial for everyone if you make the intern feel part of the team, not just a frustrated lackey.

Be clear about supervisory roles from the beginning and make sure everyone knows. Many staffers view an intern as fair game and will commandeer that individual. If you are willing to share from time to time, let your colleagues know the procedures for requesting help.

What are the specifics of the internship and the work and projects for which you need help?

Know what your minimum criteria for an intern are – grade point average, major, extra-curricular activities, work history, time commitment, transportation, etc. Any preferences? Do you need someone who is a good communicator, skilled in math, highly motivated, works well on her own with little supervision, well organized, is a team player, can handle several projects simultaneously, speaks French, can handle confidential information, etc.? Is this paid or unpaid? If paid, is it based on an hourly rate or a stipend? How often will the intern be paid?

If at all possible, have a general job description or a list of projects/duties to share, so that the intern knows what he/she is getting into. Also share samples of the types/quality of work you expect, plus work hours, dress code, travel requirements, time off (yours and hers, if any), policies, etc. If future permanent employment is a possibility, let her know. All parties will be much happier if they know what to expect from the beginning.

What are the college or university requirements?

Be sure you understand what is expected of you, as well as the intern. Who is your contact and when is that person available? If there is paperwork, meet the deadlines. Ensure you make time to do this well.

The Interviews

How do I prepare?

No one wants to spend three or four months (average length of an intersnhip) with the wrong person. Have a short list of standard questions. Be sure to include a question related to how the individual would handle a certain situation. For instance, a good question might be . . . . you’re collecting data from staff for a special report. Both deadlines have passed and you have not received info from two key sources. What would you do? Or, I’m out sick and you’ve completed all your assignments. What would you do? The answers to these types of questions can tell you a lot! Additionally, ask for writing samples.

How do we look?

Is your dress and appearance, as well as the potential intern’s appropriate, i.e. clean, neat, not stinky, no jeans (even if they’re ok to wear at your place of work)? Has he turned off the cell phone? Does he seem interested and enthusiastic? What’s his body language like? Will he fit into your culture? Give the applicant a brief tour and introduce him to others on staff, asking for their input and impressions as well.

Has he done his homework?

Does the applicant know the basics about your organization? If not, why not? He should have done his homework. Does he have questions? If not, that’s another possible indicator that he may not really care.

Give the applicants the timeline for a decision – and stick to it. Also, notify each individual promptly. Even bad news is better than no news.

Intern On Board

Be sure to welcome your intern and give her orientation/training, if necessary. Have assignments with instructions and deadlines ready, but don’t (immediately) overwhelm her. If you see she is doing a good job and can handle the load, you can give her more. Review the first several assignments right away to make sure she is doing them correctly and well. Encourage her to ask questions rather than go off in the wrong direction. Use your judgment, and don’t be afraid to delegate and allow her to use hers.

Although she is not a “regular” staff member, do not baby her – or turn her into a drudge. This is supposed to be a real world work experience. However, “thank you” and “good job” are always appreciated. Include her in staff meetings and other organizational functions. Meet regularly to get her feedback and vice versa. If things aren’t working well after two weeks, you should politely but firmly end it.

Contrary to popular belief (and today’s tighter budgets), interns are not just “free” or “cheap” labor. They are our future workers and leaders and deserve to have decent, meaningful work experiences. If you take the time to plan for the results you want, interns can make the next three months (or more) a win-win situation.

Employees Need Tune Ups , Too!

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Before you take your new car off the lot, you make sure it’s covered by insurance, right? Then you park it carefully (at least for a while), avoiding areas where it could be easily damaged or stolen. You’ve made a significant investment and you want to protect it.

Your employees should be considered in the same vein. Hiring employees, especially in today’s market, can take inordinate amounts of time and effort. You invest a ton of time to hire a good fit. It only makes sense to take the extra steps to ensure the fit is mutually beneficial. You shouldn’t throw new hires into an unknown environment without the proper support and “protection.”

Taking the time to carefully and positively train and mentor your employees not only produces immediate ROI, but also builds loyalty. Plus, there’s no better way to emphasize and reinforce your organization’s mission, vision, values, priorities, and culture.

It’s important to remember, however, that training is not a once and done phenomenon. You wouldn’t wash and wax your car a single time and forget it, would you? Or take it in for one tune up? To ensure it performs well, you make sure it receives regular checkups and maintenance. Your employees are just like that car. They are an expensive investment and deserve ongoing care.

25 Reasons from 25 People Who are Voting Obama:

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

1. “The Affordable Care Act is saving my daughter’s life.”
Stacey, Arizona

2. “Obama is for the vets. He helped us wind down in Iraq, he’s improved mental health policy with VA benefits.”
Joel, Minnesota

3. “Obama stuck his neck out for us, the auto industry. He wasn’t going to let it just die, and I’m driving in this morning because of that, because of him.”
Brian, Ohio

4. “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.”
Joe Biden, Delaware

5. “Supreme Court Supreme Court Supreme Court.”
Andrew, California

6. “Arithmetic.”
Bill Clinton, New York

7. “He cares for the 100 percent.”
Shana, Texas

8. “When Obama came into office, he successfully renewed our country’s place in the community of nations, making cooperation in tackling the world’s challenges possible.”
Willis, North Carolina

9. “The actions he has taken with respect to protecting us from terrorism have been very, very solid.”
Colin Powell, Virginia

10. “I was really very grateful to him for standing up for those kids who are having a really rough time out there because of their orientation.”
Jane Lynch, California

11. “For me, President Obama is our best choice because he has a vision of the United States as a place where we are all in this together.”
Bruce Springsteen, New Jersey

12. “He has a real plan for rescuing the economy that passes the ‘math’ test.”
Teresa, Virginia

13. “Having someone in office who understands how powerful our voice can be is very important.”
Jay Z, New York

14. “I am voting for Barack Obama and Joe Biden because I can trust them to care for the middle class and restore the American dream.”
Steven, Florida

15. “The first measure he signed into law after becoming president was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — so a female high school counselor or physical education teacher can fight for equal pay for equal work.”
Connie Britton, California

16. “I believe in the America he wants for my grandchildren.”
Nancy, Michigan

17. “We need four more years of repair, of helping the middle class achieve a sustainable economy.”
James Taylor, North Carolina

18. “I’ve watched him fight for our country, stand by the middle class, the working class, the military, the education of our children, universal health care, women, the environment, and matters of national and domestic security.”
Susan, Virginia

19. “The gifted 12-year-old I taught, whose parents were deported and left her here with her grandmother, will be allowed to stay and finish her education. She’s been in the U.S. since age one.”
Jamie, North Carolina

20. “I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.”
Michael Bloomberg, New York

21. “I have four children who are under 26 and able to stay on my health care plan. That’s been huge.”
Amy, Pennsylvania

22. “He’s fighting to defend and better Social Security and Medicare — because millions of Latino seniors rely on them.”
Cristina Saralegui, Florida

23. “Thanks to the President’s efforts to keep student loan rates low, I can expect to save nearly $1000 as I work to repay my student loans. And I don’t have too many of those, thanks to the Federal Pell Grant program.”
Sam, Minnesota

24. “It’s been wonderful to have President Obama as a champion for access to health care for all women in this country.”
Cecile Richards, New York

25. “Re-electing Barack Obama would lead to a stronger economic recovery than would be the case were Mitt Romney to win on November 6th.”
Jared Bernstein, Washington, D.C.

The Power’s In The Proofing!

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Today it happened again! I received three separate business emails with glaring typos, omitted words and grammatical errors.

I’m fairly laid back, but when I see obvious mistakes like these, I get upset. If this is what a company’s external emails look like, what’s happening internally? Does anybody care?
For your professional credibility – at any age and any position level – use the spell and grammar check features and proofread items before you hit send. If it’s an especially important piece of correspondence, have someone else proof it as well. Another point – active voice conveys your points in a much more effective way.

Remember, the power’s in the proofing!