If you have never had an intern before, you might not know why others do, and the benefits to having one and what to expect. The idea of having an intern is to give someone an opportunity to learn the particulars of the job in exchange for gaining the labor from that job. Interns either work for free in exchange for the knowledge that they receive working in their chosen industry, or they may be paid a stipend that is less than what an employee taking home an hourly wage for that role will cost the company as well as require the knowledge and insight of training. Other than the cost benefit, many people do not automatically see what other benefits they would gain by taking on an intern in their company. This article seeks to explain some of the benefits of using interns and will give the reader a solid understanding of why the area of interning is growing.
What Exactly is an Intern?
Likely the most important thing to remember about an intern is what they aren’t, and that would be free labor. Interns sign up for reduced wages or even for free in exchange for the information that they know is valuable and which will see them into their career role. The only way the intern can get this knowledge is through the mentoring that is the primary aspect of the agreement an employer undertakes when they take on an intern. By mentoring the intern, they win and so does your company; it will not take the entire time that the intern is completing job duties at the company but will be included ongoing. The intern will require directions to do different tasks but also an explanation of the rationale behind the need to do them. In this way they learn all about the different aspects of the various functions of the role and it is a win-win situation.
What is different between the intern and an employee that I hired for the same job?
An intern is agreed to be taken on by a company for a set amount of time and is often found through third level institutions, though interns also apply for their desired positions with different companies that they feel they can learn from. The company agrees to employ the intern during the set length of time and agrees to exchange knowledge and mentoring within the role that the intern fills. This would be different from an employee, who is only told what their duties are and expected to complete them. The intern will be interested in more than just their job duties, and insight from within the company is highly valuable for them.
Why should I consider an intern?
There are many reasons why you should consider taking on an intern. If you are behind on paperwork or projects and need and hand catching up by someone that is keen to learn with an understanding over the topic but not necessarily the functions of the role (which can be explained easily once they are on board). You might also need a hand using technology and taking your business to the next level by integrating contemporary aspects of social media into your business. Interns will have the knowledge of technology that will be needed to do all of those things, and you might just learn some things from the intern in exchange.
You will gain free advertising for your business by virtue of the fact that the intern will tell people about the role that she has and what the company does, what products or services they provide. In this way you cannot ask for a better brand ambassador, and you gain it simply by exchanging your industry insight with an intern who is keen to absorb what you have to teach while helping you in whatever way they can best help the business.
Main benefits of Hiring Interns
The 5 main benefits of hiring an intern are:
- Bringing a new paradigm in to your company. If you do not already have an intern, your business will benefit by adding one to the structure. That brings another layer of help to the business that you previously did not have, and which falls between gaps that you never thought to fill.
- Bringing in the next generation to your business. An intern is a representative of the next generation, and by inviting them to be a part of your business you are ensuring that you have a chance to cement your place within that generation. What better way to get the word out about your company to the next generation then by having one of that generation extolling its virtues?
- Help keeping your company strong and robust. By bring an intern in to your company you are bringing in new energy, which will sustain the business through stressful and busy times.
- Help to encourage a strong culture of inclusion and openness within your company. Intern straddles two worlds between that of being quasi employed by your business and also being a representative of the public. You have the opportunity to gain insight from the intern as well and share your knowledge with them. By opening your business to a person that is not exactly an employee, it shows that your company is open to the public and to being involved in the community.
- Encourages mentorship at your company. By getting into the habit of mentoring an intern you will begin to see the sharing of information and skills between other employees increase as a result, bringing a culture of learning to your business. This will build on the team that you have created and can only benefit the company.
The benefits that an intern can bring to your business are clearly multi-fold; no matter how you look at it, there is something that will be improved by the addition of an intern in the office. By exchange, the mentoring that you can offer the intern will be considered invaluable to them and one of the major ways you will be paid back for the mentoring will be in the free advertising you gain when the mentor talks your business up in a positive light to everyone they know. There are benefits for both parties when you open your business up to taking on an intern, and both can take away long term positives from the experience.
You might already have had an intern apply to your business whom you can consider, but if you have not, there are plenty of places that you can find one. The best places to check would be through a local recruitment company who specializes in your field of business, or in a university that offers degrees which are useful to employees in your field. Once you choose an intern you can make a list of duties and help that the intern can bring to you, and they will have a list of knowledge which they would like to gain from the mentoring that you will offer. Overall it is a good experience that is short term in nature so there is nothing to lose.
If you are interested in learning more about Internships, please check out the recent internship webinar we hosted. In this webinar you will find the following:
- Actively engage your interns without overburdening managers
- Tips and tricks to start and build an intern program
- Easily onboard and pay your interns
- Manage the influx of summer interns
- Ensuring your interns have a worthwhile experience that builds your brand and gives develops them professionally
You can watch the webinar here.