HR 13 August 2015

Should you be thinking about getting an intern?

Don't just give interns menial tasks ? responsibility with a project gives them a chance to prove their worth and increases productivity
Don’t just give interns menial tasks ? responsibility with a project gives them a chance to prove their worth and increases productivity
As a startup, or a micro?company, chances are that you have a tight budget. You want to achieve a lot but have limited resources, so it’s worth considering an intern as an option, as well as more experienced staff.

Generation Y or “The Millennial” is ready to engage with you. They are living in a digital world, they are tech savvy and they are all about transparent social immediacy. They are also very clear in the direction in which they are headed, which makes for a perfect intern candidate.

Internships are a highly successful way to recruit and grow your team, along with recruitment of more experienced and knowledgeable staff. To put it into perspective, on average 67 per cent of interns are offered a full-time position at the end of their internship.

In addition to that, a 2009 survey found that 40 per cent of employers said?their five years retention rate was higher among employees that had been hired through an internship ? saving both time and cost when it comes to the recruitment process.

Think of it as a trial period that could lead to full-time employment. You will need to provide training and mentoring for your intern ? it isn?t free labour. It?s not a decision to be taken lightly, but?can be?a great opportunity for other members of your team to take on coaching and development responsibilities. It is essential that you have clear goals in mind for your intern though, you need to ensure that they leave the role having gained essential skills and experience. It?s a valuable HR exercise ? you have a specific time frame to identify how the individual gels with the existing team members and to evaluate how your intern performs in the role and accurately assess their skills.

Maybe the latest technology or social media trend isn?t your thing; you don?t fully understand it and you don?t have the time to look into it further, particularly with the numerous other daily tasks that trump it in urgency?and importance. The social media movement was founded by Generation Y, and they are practically hardwired to their smartphones. They understand the importance of?implementing a great social media strategy into your business as well as increasing your company?s digital outreach.

Internships can create a pipeline of future employees. Good news travels fast and if you can gain a reputation for providing educational and valuable intern placements, students will be queuing up to work for you. Building this established trust could also see you in the prime position to hand-pick?the best candidates, gaining valuable brand advocates. As mentioned previously, your potential interns are all over social media ? they could be saying great things about your business to both students and potential experienced employees.

Give your intern the responsibility of managing and completing a project that you are struggling with. This is hands-on support with an individual that needs to prove their worth and increases productivity. By allocating specific projects to an intern, it not only means that it will be looked at with fresh creative eyes and new ideas, but it means that the rest of your team can focus their attention where it is really needed within the business. It’s a win-win situation ? adding mini projects to your business portfolio whilst enhancing the current business performance.

The benefits of providing internships far exceed what goes on between nine and five. You are facilitating a positive future for those that you choose to take on and in turn, the business will be held in high regard for this. Community support for small businesses and startups is vital business reputation, supports students and gives back to the community.

Image: Shutterstock

Nicola Mewse is the operational director of recruitment company Hales Group.

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