6 Benefits of Running a Company Internship Program
Did you know that about 40% of full-time employees come from a company’s internship program? Interns provide companies with an array of perspectives and benefits they’ve likely never realized. One of the biggest perks is discovering quality talent without sifting through hundreds of resumes and holding tons of interviews for candidates that may or may not be qualified.
Moreover, current employees can also learn from a newly implemented internship program. Fresh ideas often spark inspiration and motivation, improving current processes and surpassing goals. Implementing an internship program can be very inexpensive and much more beneficial than not having one.
If you’re on the fence about implementing an internship program, consider the many benefits your company will receive. Here’s a list of just a few:
#1 Discover New (And Hidden) Talent
An internship can open possibilities to the new and unique talent that you probably wouldn’t have found through traditional hiring methods. Roughly, about 65% of paid internships become full-time job offers, while 39% of unpaid internships become full-time employment.
This is because interns already have an idea of the inner workings of your company. Moreover, they’re familiar with the business’s trends, goals, and structure. Having an intern already familiar with your company processes, and performing a good job as they progress, makes them a good candidate to hire.
Biggest Benefit: Many of these interns will choose to stay with a company long term, instead of bailing at the first chance. Having an internship program to find new talent is a great way to try out talent before bringing them on full time.
#2 Reduce Overall Employee Workload
Project or task overload happens when the workload is stretched over too few people. Even though there are steps you can take to alleviate this challenge in the short-term -- such as cross-training staff members and bringing on temps now and again -- this doesn’t always solve the issue and can sometimes make it worse.
Using your internship program is a great opportunity to get a few extra pairs of hands on the job. Transfer some of the simpler, short-term tasks and projects to interns who are eager to understand the process and learn something new. You can also give them opportunities to work in place of employees who are out on vacation or medical leave.
Biggest Benefit: Minimize workflow interruption by easing the workload of your current employees, reducing tensions, or conflicts. Just remember not to dump everything on your interns—they’re still learning, after all.
#3 Management Practice for Senior Employees
A good way to ensure your newly hired managers or employees slated for promotion get practice with management skills, is to give them an intern to mentor. If the individual is new to management, they may need guidance along the way. However, beginning with an intern is often less stressful than managing established employees and gives new managers or managers-to-be an opportunity learn new management skills and to practice them.
Things you should look for in your management employees is the ability to mentor and manage interns. They should also be able to provide constructive, useful feedback, as well as encourage interns to learn or practice other areas within the job scope.
Biggest Benefit: Your management personnel will learn personal skill development. They’ll also discover how they can become leaders to current employees by mentoring interns.
#4 Social Media Management & Latest Trends
Most often, younger interns will have a unique perspective and insight to the current and best social media trends. Because of this insight, they’re better equipped to handle your social media channels, if social media is a key part of your company. Plus, young interns already know social media, having grown up with it and use it in their daily lives.
Interns can provide your company with a new way to solve problems, and often see recurring issues that you have become blind to. Think of it as a fresh pair of eyes reviewing your processes and finding and fixing the kinks.
Biggest Benefit: Gain a fresh perspective for solving issues and enhance your online presence with tech-savvy, social media smart interns.
#5 Minimal Costs for Internship Programs
Internships can be very cost effective for any business, large or small. Internships can be unpaid, as some employers are not obligated to offer a monetary wage for interns, giving the employer the benefit of free labor.
However, there are legalities involved with unpaid internships. For instance, the working environment for interns should be like training or provide a complete educational experience. The employer must also designate a current employee (manager or supervisor) that will provide supervision for the intern. You cannot replace employees with unpaid interns. Even if an intern is not paid, they should receive a full educational experience that provides them the ability to pick up new skills or learn a new trade.
Paid internships are most common in the for-profit business world. In fact, most for-profit businesses have to pay at least the minimum wage and any accrued overtime to interns. Moreover, paid internships are more likely to attract better candidates and reliable potential employees. For both unpaid and paid interns, employers are not obligated to hire them at the end of their internship.
Biggest Benefit: Interns provide low-cost options for reducing employee workload, improving unseen processes, and finding great talent.
#6 Increase Productivity and Retention
Did you know that higher productivity and retention can be achieved through internships? The 2015 NACE Internship & Co-op Survey found that more than half of employers had a higher five-year retention rate from employees that were hired through internship programs.
Aside from having extra people to help with projects, interns often come with tons of energy. They’re eager to learn, ready to work, and most want the chance to prove their value with the hopes of being hired by their potentially new employer.
This type of energy can rub off on other employees, often adding to the company culture and improving the overall work environment. Try to encourage any new ideas and positive behavior from your interns to your current employees.
Biggest Benefit: Your company will see better production levels and much happier employees, while also retaining them for the long-term.
If you feel an internship will work for your company, work with your HR department to find out whether you have the tools necessary to start an internship program. Get your company ahead of other businesses by starting your internship program today.