There are many benefits of hiring an intern for both the intern and the company that hires them. As someone who took on two internships within two different industries at the end of this past year, I’ve gained some wonderful experiences and knowledge. Here are five benefits of hiring an intern and some things to think about before you move forward.
What Are The Benefits Of Hiring An Intern?
- A trial period for both the company, its current employees, and the intern
- Help with tasks and projects
- New and fresh perspectives
- Low-cost labor
- Enhance leadership skills in the employees you already have
Once we’ve been doing anything for a certain amount of time, we can easily get stuck in a rut and just keep on with the same old boring game plan. Bringing on a new intern can be a great way to shake things up with some much-needed freshness, not just for you as a business owner, but also for your team as a whole. Let’s dig deeper to talk about the advantages.
#1 A Trial Period
This is a trial period for the company, its current employees, and the intern. A trial period is always great as it is It’s a fantastic way to test the skills of new talent while also getting a front-row seat to see how they interact and work with the team you’ve so carefully put together. And it’s just that. It’s a trial period. Nobody needs to commit to anything long-term. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all went into dating this way? I digress.
It’s important to know how people are going to work with each other. This matters for interpersonal relationships as well as for overall productivity. It’s great when people enjoy what they do but there are always the ‘have to’ tasks that nobody in their right mind enjoys. When you have people that like each other and work well together in a team environment, even those not-so-fun checklist items will be less cumbersome. That makes for better and more enjoyable work all around.
#2 Help With Tasks and Projects
When you bring on a new intern, it’s important to not just give them the grunt work. Give them real work. They’ve likely sought out this type of work in order to test-drive the work in addition to the company as a whole.
I don’t know about you but I’ve never test-driven a car without trying to see exactly what it can handle. I want to know what the ride feels like. I want to know how it truly operates. Okay, I haven’t necessarily opened the hood to look underneath; I wouldn’t know what to look for anyway. My point is that I want to know what I’ll be getting myself into should I decide to jump in headfirst in the near future.
As for the company. The importance of handing them real work as opposed to sending them on coffee runs and pointless errands will give them a chance to show you how they can be of service in the long-term. You will see first hand how they handle pressure as well as how they interact with people. Interpersonal skills can only be tested in real-life scenarios.
#3 New and Fresh Perspectives
An intern will likely bring in new perspectives and will potentially carry in skills that your organization lacks; specifically in the area of social media. This can be wonderfully beneficial for a company looking to grow in any number of areas. This will be especially true when it comes to younger interns.
My own experience is a little bit different. I have many years of hospitality and special events experience. My techy and social media experience is lacking, however, years of work dealing with many different personalities and family dynamics gives me a leg up on my competition in many ways. After many years of management, I heard something I never forgot. Hire character, train skill. Skills can be learned.
Character can be difficult to find these days. I think we can all agree that good character takes years to form and build. Once properly formed it’s difficult to break. You want to fill your team with people that can offer fresh ideas and bring new perspectives, but even more important is to have your team composed of those with good solid character.
#4 Low-Cost Labor
Hiring an intern is a great way to take advantage of low-cost labor while testing the skills of new talent. However, this shouldn’t be the reason you ‘onboard’ an intern. It’s nice to save money but there should be a very clear purpose for both your company wanting an intern and for the intern to want to be at your company.
It should be a win/win so that everyone walks away feeling like they’ve accomplished something. By the end of the internship, it’s important for the intern to feel as though they’ve gained skills they otherwise would not have and for the company to feel they’re ahead of where they would have been otherwise.
#5 Enhance Leadership Skills In The Employees You Already Have
Many times young talent will come straight out of university with their hard-earned degree in hand while they sport that sometimes obnoxious prideful smile. It doesn’t take very long to figure out they lack the soft skills that can only come from the cold hard reality of real-life experience. Soft skills can include basic communication, listening, non-verbal communication, presentation, writing skills, and negotiation.
There are many others but let’s be honest here by mentioning that while some of these seem incredibly basic, they can be hard to find in younger talent these days. My first response is not great. I usually want to blame someone. The kid, the parents, the school. But, really some skills just need a little push once operations in the real world have commenced.
This brings me to my next point. I think it’s imperative that you, as the head of your company (or the person making the decision to bring on an intern), communicate your expectations for your current leadership with regard to handling interns. They are the ones who will be leading and guiding the intern during their experience with your company.
Of course, you want anyone that walks through your doors to have a positive experience. For an intern, this will start with the people acting as their trail guides. You’ll want your guides to know what is expected of them. Be sure to make time for regular updates from both your leadership as well as the intern. This will help keep the lines of communication open on all sides.
Remember, the interns are there because they want to learn something, but the company may learn some things along the way too.
A couple more things to think about before you move forward with the implementation of an internship program. Take the time to think about the following:
- Have clear goals and direction for the program in addition to knowing the time-frame. Is it 90 days or longer?
- Is it a paid internship or non-paid? Remember that knowledge and the development of skills are sometimes more valuable than monetary compensation. Be sure that your decision is known and clear to any internship applicant so that they can make the most informed decision for themselves.
- Be sure to be ready to ask your applicants what their expectations are. What do they want to learn? What do they want to walk away with having gained once the internship concludes?
- How will your current team be introduced and how should they expect to be involved? What are some things that they will want to gain from this experience? Who is the point person and what is the hierarchy? It’s important to be respectful of the people in charge and the intern will need to know in order to avoid any messy situations.
Now that you’ve read about what we think are some of the benefits of hiring an intern. Take some time to think about how your company and team can specifically benefit. You’ll be thankful you did!
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