There are many companies and organizations with highly successful internship programs. Is your company one of them? Here are some benefits that interns can bring to your organization, no matter what size it is.
– Energy and Culture
Interns are generally eager to learn and full of youthful energy. If your staff is mostly made up of people who have been in their roles long-term, this might provide a needed infusion of energy to the team. Coming in with little knowledge of your industry, they can provide fresh ideas and a new perspective. They are not stuck in a rut, doing the same process day-to-day that has always been in place for your business. If they have a new idea on how to do things, listen.
The more diverse the team is, the richer the culture will be!
– Find future employees
While you’re not guaranteeing them a position, interns can be a great source of future employees. Over half of interns are offered full time positions.
During an internship, you are providing training that is probably at least similar to the training that you provide new, entry-level employees. You will get to see how the individual works with the team, how they work with your company culture, and what their overall work ethics are. If they perform well, you can invite them to apply for a full time, employee position if one’s available.
– Every size business benefits
Internships are all about learning, so a savvy student will realize that they will probably get more hands on training and one-on-one work in a smaller organization. Just be prepared to have your trained resources spend the time needed to actually teach these students what they need to know in the industry. It’s part of the obligation that you take on with an internship program.
Having interns will, however, allow you the flexibility to handle additional clients and workload without making a permanent hire. The internship term may vary from a couple weeks to a semester, which allows you to adjust your workflow as needed.
The new generation in college and entering the workforce has grown up in an era of technology. They have been using social media for a long time, and are very adept with mobile and web technology. Why not take advantage of that?
One of the problems facing small and medium businesses is that while they know what they should be doing to stay ahead (social media, websites, mobile technology, etc.), it’s not always something that is familiar or comfortable to them. There’s also the time factor – if you’re running your business when do you have time to learn how to make a website, or how to market your business on Facebook?
Leverage the knowledge that interns can bring with them to the workplace, and allow them to learn how to apply it to your business. You will both learn from the experience.
– Paid / unpaid
If you are considering starting an unpaid internship program, it’s important to know the legality of the process. The Department of Labor has 6 criteria that must be met to be considered an unpaid intern vs. an employee who must legally receive at least a minimum wage (learn more here: https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm). Also check with your state to see if there are specific guidelines where your business operates.
Paid internships are inexpensive compared to employees, as college students are generally satisfied with entry-level or minimum wages, with no benefits. Your company will be more appealing to interns if you offer payment, especially since college students are already hurting financially. To attract the best candidates, consider offering a paid internship.
Need more help deciding? Here’s more information on The Case for Paying Interns
– Giving back
Training the next generation is a great way to give back and contribute to the future of your industry, and community. You’re giving them the experience of working in the industry they are training for, and providing them real-world experience in how a company works. You’re also contributing to the local workforce as a whole, which is important to the future of the community.
By offering a paid internship, you enable everyone to participate, including economically disadvantaged young adults. This provides everyone with an experience that will help facilitate a positive future.