Today’s post is by Brooke Howell, a business editor at SmartBrief.
The high season for interns is here, and it’s a good time for a reminder that no matter how talented and mature your interns are, they are still just starting out in life and may need a little extra help and protection in the workplace.
Case in point: Slate’s Dear Prudence’s recent video advice segment about a college-aged intern who was sexually harassed by the “office lech” last summer and was wondering if she had handled the situation properly. Of course the young woman could have done better, but I’m not sure how because she was scared, embarrassed and generally not sure what to do.
No matter the size of your company, you don’t want this to happen to your interns — or any of your employees for that matter. That’s why you need to take the few minutes necessary to explain your company’s sexual harassment policy upfront and let your interns know who they can talk to if they have a problem. Don’t just expect them to read the information in a long and boring manual of company policies. They need to hear it and know that you are genuinely concerned with their well-being at work.
Never forget that these young people are just starting out in the working world and are trying to do their best — not just at performing their duties, but also at being mature and professional. They may be afraid to ask the necessary questions when a tough situation presents itself, so give them a hand by providing them with the answers in advance.
Image credit, bradwieland, via iStock