4 Reasons to Have an Internship Program
In today’s knowledge-based economy, businesses with the best talent win.
When talent precedes growth, having the right people in the right jobs becomes essential. There’s no room for hiring mistakes. More and more companies are discovering that internship programs are more than just an altruistic way to support the youth of tomorrow. From corporate giants to small startups, it’s proving to be the ultimate way to vet talent and build a sustainable recruitment pipeline.
That’s not to mention a slew of other advantages that make it worthwhile. How can your organization benefit from hiring interns? Here are the top perks to consider:
1. Bring in fresh perspectives.
The most immediate effect of any good internship program is that it creates a flexible, cost-effective workforce without a long-term commitment on your part. Make your program as long or as short as you need — whether that’s just a few months every summer or a year-long rotation.
This continual cycle of incomers is a tremendous asset to finding new solutions for old problems. Those fresh eyes are better at identifying process gaps and solving problems you might not know exist. As millennials and the first of Gen Z, today’s interns bring a unique skill set that you can leverage – specifically, their tech savviness as digital natives and access to the most up-to-date education taught by today’s universities and colleges. Everyone knows that companies primarily teach interns through real work experience, but interns can teach their employers about emerging industry trends, theories, and best practices.
What’s more, interns bring an infectious energy and optimism into your workplace. These recruits are eager to learn and are ready to prove themselves in the hopes of getting a job offer or a positive recommendation. That vigor can become contagious.
2. Create a trial run for both sides.
As consumers, we’re used to testing products and services before we buy. Why not use an internship program as a test drive for future employees?
The key is to interview interns as if they’re applying for full-time positions. You can then see how they get along with the current team and workplace culture before extending them an official job offer. With each round of recruits, your HR department can also disaster-proof the hiring and onboarding process by gathering feedback from your interns’ experience.
Plus, the interns themselves can get a sense of whether or not your company fits with their career and development goals. This ultimately minimizes the flight risk of interns that convert into full-time employees.
According to RJ Lewis, CEO of eHealthcare Solutions, internships can be “a great mutual extended interview.”
3. Give your employees management practice.
Interns can often feel lost as newcomers in the working world. It then becomes the organization’s job to provide guidance and keep them engaged throughout the experience. This creates the perfect opportunity to test those in line for management roles at your company. Your full-time employees can develop their interpersonal skills by overseeing a team of interns and leading them through small projects.
Beyond direct managers, other full-time employees can contribute by serving as a mentor. As a result, these pairings will motivate your full-time employees to improve their own personal skill development.
4. It’s the most cost-effective recruiting channel.
Hiring interns will spread the word about your company. Especially for small-to-midsized businesses with limited resources, this can be the best source for word-of-mouth recruiting. Tech giants and Fortune 500 companies have a leg up on attracting new recruits, but internships are centered around learning experiences. A business of any size can create an engaging, worthwhile experience for their interns and beat out those that only use them to fetch coffee.
And if your interns have a positive experience, they’ll share the news with other college students. They essentially become ambassadors for your business.
Even if you don’t have an immediate needs to hire, an internship program will create a reliable talent pipeline for months and years ahead. Start cultivating now!