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How to Support Holistic Development of Interns & Leverage Group Accountability

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Once an optional stop on the career path, internships are increasingly becoming a critical stepping stone for young professionals. Interns are usually eager to make the most of their internship experience and seek to achieve results that will elevate their desirability in the job market. 

Internship programs are inherently intended to nurture a certain set of goals: 

  • Network with people in a particular industry or role.
  • Develop technical & soft skills.
  • Add value to the company in a meaningful way.

But interns are multidimensional beings, and as young adults, they are also developing their identity outside of the workplace. For interns to function at their best and feel truly seen & supported, managers should consider how they might be able to emphasize personal goals & holistic wellness.  

Most companies promote professional development and goal setting in the workplace, but often don’t take personal goals into account. There are networking opportunities and webinars galore, but how often do they encourage people to develop in well-rounded ways? When interns are encouraged to improve in areas of their lives outside of work, they’ll actually feel more connected to their work and supported by their team. This means happier, more productive interns who will likely want to come back to the company that helped them flourish and thrive. 

The power of our social ties in the workplace also make it an ideal environment for accountability. Since colleagues interact with each other often, regular check-ins can build consistency with habits and help us stay on top of goals. We can harness group accountability for personal growth & development, while simultaneously forming strong bonds across the team. 

Here are some ways to emphasize holistic wellness and group accountability on your team:

Incorporate goal-oriented events into your programming

Many companies host workshops, speakers, and networking events for their employees and interns. Goal-setting workshops are great opportunities for individuals to share their goals with colleagues and potentially connect over mutual interests. Consider setting up regular events where people can come together, contemplate on their goals, and collaborate to achieve them. Our partner Goalden Hour offers workshops on goal-setting and trains young adults in soft-skills for self-mastery. 

Engage in conversations about goals and encourage group accountability

Give interns a space to communicate their goals with you and create a community where goal setting & support are encouraged. As a manager, understanding the intern’s goals can help you support them better at work and add depth to your relationship. Sharing goals across the team can boost connection, promote commitment, and enable collaboration between colleagues. See more about how to facilitate effective partnerships on your team.

Keep track of goal progress

Encourage interns to track the progress of their goals towards the internship as well as those that relate to self-improvement & professional development. Ensure that goals are being defined by actionable steps & routines that can be measured & tracked. Establish a practice of setting goals and reviewing progress regularly to benefit interns, managers, and everyone in between. For more information on the importance of tracking goals, see Way Up’s guide on How to Set Great Internship or Job Goals.

An internship is a concentrated dose of learning and growth for a young professional. A shift to the ‘whole-person’ focus helps create a company culture that prioritizes employee health & well-being and builds trust & connection across the team.

About the Author

goalden hour logo

Goalden Hour helps people achieve success & wellness in their lives. They offer a productivity tool that combines calendar, tasks, and habit tracking to help people manage their whole lives in one place. This article was co-authored by Karthy Chandra, founder and CEO of Goalden Hour, and Victoria DeStefano, their business development intern.

Goalden Hour partners with organizations to offer workshops on goal setting & self-mastery. Their productivity tool is available as a free resource for anyone who’s interested in tracking goals and breaking them down into actionable steps. They’re also excited to announce the launch of a companion app where managers can track progress on select goals shared by interns & teammates. To learn more about Goalden Hour, visit their website.

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