In today’s competitive job market, more and more students rely on internships to gain valuable work experience and boost their chances for landing a job after graduating. However, not all internships are created equal. The best internship programs provide true growth opportunities for students, while also allowing organizations to accomplish larger goals and to foster the new generation of talent for future recruiting.

To make sure your internship program is productive for both your company and your interns, make sure you pay attention to the following aspects:

Identify the talent.

Great interns can not only create additional value for the organization, but also become real assets to your business as future employees. That’s why you should look for candidates that have the basic skills and talent needed to be successful not only as temporary interns, but also as long-term members of your team.

Provide a positive and supportive environment.

Whether you work in a small office or have hundreds of employees, it is important to make sure that your interns feel a part of your team. Introduce your new interns to staff and share with them the essential roles each team member plays within their new environment.

Establish good communication.

Regular communication is key to productive internships. Make sure you establish a point of contact with your interns by holding daily huddles and weekly meetings discussing new tasks, ongoing progress, and listening to any feedback they might have.

Treat your interns as equal team members.

You will do your interns a huge favor if you treat them as equal members of the team. Show them that you value their opinions and whatever input they can offer. Doing so empowers interns to think as professionals and become proactive in their work efforts, instead of just checking the boxes on their assignments.

Assign real meaningful tasks.

Don’t simply assign your interns office tasks – make sure they have the opportunity to contribute real work and create real value to the organization. Task your interns with meaningful challenging activities that will test their skills, creativity and critical thinking. They came to you to learn what they can’t learn in class, so make sure you give them that opportunity.

Offer mentorship.

Above all, internships are meant to offer unique educational experiences that prepare young adults for their professional careers. Don’t forget to share with your interns some of the valuable lessons you’ve learned as a young professional.

Remember, a bit of personal mentorship can make a good internship program into a really great one.