As a former Coughlin Porter Lundeen intern, Ana understands what it’s like to be in the interns’ shoes. Her passionate and charismatic nature make her the perfect mentor, especially to some of our younger employees. When asked what she hopes this group will take away from their summer intern experience, she says:
“First and foremost, I hope they are proud of their work. I want them to be challenged and feel like they have contributed to meaningful work. There’s a certain “feel- good” component to our job when you’ve helped create a new school, hospital, or office space, and you know that other members of the community are benefiting from the hard work you’ve put in. Most of all, I want to share that feeling with them, and let it carry them forward as engineers!” — Ana Perarnau, Structural Engineer
While the new curriculum soared, we know that it’s a result of our HR and leadership team’s approach to the revamp. A few tips from them:
1. Charge employees with tasks they’re Passionate about.
Spearheading the effort were team members who were already invested in making the internship program great. Letting employees “create their own destiny” in this way fosters a culture of participation and yields better final results. As a leadership team, consider it your responsibility to encourage creativity, support interests and celebrate achievements.
2. Empower and support young staff.
Charge your team with roles and responsibilities that matter. Eager-to-contribute, young employees will especially rise to the challenge and enjoy taking ownership. Harness their fresh ideas and energy. Failing to do so is not only a missed opportunity for your organization, but may result in early burnout!
3. Treat your internship program (or current undertaking) like a client project.
Often, our internal initiatives get bumped to the back burner. It’s natural, especially in busy organizations supporting lots of client work.We encourage you to prioritize your effort – Assemble a dedicated team, set goals, create a timeline, and schedule regular check-ins. Sometimes, just adding the framework that would accompany a client project helps move it along. Also, once implemented, don’t forget to evaluate your progress regularly. It will undoubtedly need to be adjusted, and missing those early, obvious changes is mistake that undermines all the upfront work done by your team. Check in, make changes!