Intern Integration: Have a Structured Plan to Get the Most Out of an Intern
By Jame Geathers, Owner, Jame Geathers Consulting
With summer on the horizon, many students are reaching out to businesses – large and small – for internships. An internship allows students, high school or college level, to gain experience working in their field of study while lending a hand to your business – a win-win so to speak.
As with any new initiative, adding an internship program to your business takes planning and commitment. While having interns is a great way to increase productivity, you and/or your team will be responsible for also making it a valuable learning experience for the student.
In addition to professional experience and pay, many interns also receive credit from their schools. Fortunately, that is one detail that you will not have to sort out because that is typically worked out between the student and their school.
Besides providing the students with valuable experience and pay, internship programs can also greatly benefit your business. Hiring interns can open the door to a larger pool of potential employees and give employers the opportunity to evaluate individuals on the job before offering a full-time position.
Based on a 2014 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, nearly 65 percent of employers made full-time offers to their interns and more than 79 percent of those interns accepted.
Additionally, whether updating your social media presence, working with advanced technical skills or providing valuable input on your business operations, interns give as much as they get. While gaining experience and providing a fresh perspective, they can also provide much needed support with day-to-day operations.
While having an internship program can be a tremendous asset to your business, there are a few things you will want to avoid.
For starters, when you hire an intern you are taking on a mentee. It is extremely important that you and/or the team member that is supervising the intern have the time and the desire to be a mentor. The main reason for the internship is for the student to gain professional experience under the guidance of a seasoned professional. Without the mentoring aspect the experience is simply a summer job.
Which brings me to my next point – you must create a structured program for your intern. Contrary to popular belief, interns aren’t an alternative to hiring a part-time employee or cheap labor. Having a plan and a well thought out position description before launching your program allows applicants for your internship to know if the program will serve their needs and will help you determine the applicants that will be the best fit for your company’s needs.
All in all, if done right, an internship program can be a tremendous asset to your small business. If you need assistance creating and launching your internship program, please contact us!
Jame Geathers is a Human Resources and Operations Professional with more than 12 years of experience in both the corporate and non-profit sectors. Jame has spent her career building and supporting HR infrastructures that have provided her employers and clients with the structure and policies that all start-ups need but owners may not have time to create and implement. For more information please visit the Jame Geathers Consulting website, www.jamegeathers.com or call (706) 496-9691.