Hi, my name is Maria and I was Karen’s intern last summer. I’ve known Karen for a few years and I was given the opportunity to work as her administrative and personal assistant.
I prepared for this opportunity by researching other administrative and personal assistants’ experiences. Many recommended having good calendar software, strong communication skills, and most importantly, flexibility. Since I was in the area for a limited amount of time during the summer, I had to coordinate my other commitments to make sure I had the flexibility needed for this sort of job. I also made sure to be in communication with Karen constantly before I started so that we were very clear on the timeline, the pay, the responsibilities, and other small details. That way on my first day in the office we could start head-on and not have to go through any of those formalities.
It was a productive summer and a very informative summer. I’ve definitely learned a lot about the position and what it’s like to work in this area of business.
(Click here for Part 1, Why You Should Hire An Intern.)
So, Part 2 of Hiring An Intern! What should you do before your intern even arrives?
Well, it’s pretty simple: agree on when they’re going to start and finish, and on their work hours. Tell them your location. And of course, agree on their rate of pay. All these things seem pretty clear.
In addition, tell them your dress code and your expectations. Here’s the part that people forget about: make sure they have a computer and a working email address, make sure they have a place to sit, and have access to your building. All these things go a long way in saying, “Hey, I’m excited about you! I welcome you.”
Have a great time with your intern! It will be so wonderful for both of you.
My husband Bill and I decided that we needed a Roomba robotic vacuum. We ordered one, hooked it up, and let it roll. The Roomba did a nice job on the hardwood floors and transitioned easily to and from the carpet. It took a rambling path and when it encountered debris, it cleaned well, but sometimes it scooted right past a pile of dirt.
I figured the Roomba would get better over time, learning our house, its pathways, and the clogged arteries (sofas). I assumed each day it would get wiser and in a week or so, my house would be a vacuumed castle, groomed in the manicured ways I see football and baseball fields being cut. Lovely and symmetrical lines, and precision cleaned floors. I was excited and hopeful.
I figured wrong!
The Roomba did not get smarter. Each day was a new exercise, but it vacuumed without learning anything from the previous day. Upon reading the instruction manual, I learned that our model was mid-level and it did not store “information” (artificial intelligence) from previous vacuuming jaunts. Ugh!
This failure to learn from the past and make corrections for the future reminded me of organizations that do not use 360 degree feedback. Employees work hard, sometimes they complete their assignments well and other times their work just doesn’t hit the mark.
Unfortunately, they receive little feedback from their managers and no direct feedback at all from their colleagues, clients, and vendors. They work in a vacuum — pun intended!
360 degree feedback is a formal way for employees to:
- Receive constructive feedback from their peers, managers, direct reports, and team members
- Benefit from a coach who helps them integrate the information and develop an action plan
- Improve their performance, regardless of whether they are an underperforming employee who needs to improve significantly or a star performer who would benefit from one or two keen and targeted tips.
In organizations where 360 feedback has become a part of the culture, employees welcome the feedback and their performance improves significantly.
I regularly conduct 360 feedback programs in organizations. I am certified in administering four distinct 360 feedback systems and experienced in coaching. If your employees are performing in a vacuum, give me a call.