Internship programs offer more than a coffee runner or a copy maker. This year, more companies than ever before will enjoy the benefits of an internship program. For companies both big and small, internship programs can be extremely beneficial. Let’s start with these internship statistics from the National Association of Colleges and Employers' (NACE) Experiential Education Survey
- 67.7% of interns were offered full-time positions.
- 83.6% of these offers were accepted.
- 35.3% of employers' full-time, entry-level college hires came from their internship programs.
From these stats alone, it is easy to see that starting an internship program is beneficial for any company’s current workload and future workforce. Here are the top benefits of having an internship program:
Find Future Employees:
Internship programs are more than what meets the eye. They also act as 24/7 recruiting tools, an ongoing candidate pipeline, and a set of extra hands. Recruiting and hiring can be a burdensome and expensive process, but internship programs allow you to test candidates, teach them the ropes and feel out a future working relationship. Why hire people who’ve never worked at your company before? Or risk bringing on a toxic employee? Wouldn’t it be ideal to hire employees after already building trust and teaching them how your business runs?
Even if the interns can’t work for you or decide not to, a positive internship experience and a great program will only do your company good. If your organization impresses one class of interns, word will quickly spread like a viral cat video and students will reference the positive experience they had. This keeps your company at the forefront of many other minds when seeking future internships, or full-time employment.
Test-drive the Talent:
You wouldn’t buy a car before taking it for a test drive, and hiring people to be a part of your carefully selected team should be no different. Develop challenges and projects based on your department needs and determine how well your candidates can perform on their own or in a group setting. By having an internship program in place, you allow your company to test drive candidates. That is to say, that the employer saves time, money and resources in their hiring process. Hiring someone as an intern is the most effective way to evaluate their potential as a full-time employee, and ensures fewer staffing errors because employers are able to more accurately assess candidates.
It's Cost Effective:
An internship program obviously means interns. Having interns means saving costs. Interns are an inexpensive yet priceless resource, their salaries (if any) are significantly lower than staff employees, and your company is not obligated to pay unemployment or severance packages. That top-notch intern who is a perfect culture fit and brings new insight into your company already has experience in your industry and can move right into a full-time role in your company without missing a beat. This saves on the financial costs of recruiting and hiring a new employee and keeps your business moving forward.
Furthermore, according to NACE's Experiential Education Survey, almost 40% of employers reported a five-year higher retention rate among employees they'd hired via their internship programs. This could be because internships allow you to test candidates for a cultural fit to which decreases turnover rates.
Having an internship program set up allows you to intelligently utilize the support provided by interns. By having the extra manpower available, your employees are able to be more productive rather than be bogged down by menial tasks. According to Internships.com, interns help employees by
“preventing them from becoming overburdened by side projects, as well as freeing them up to accomplish more creative tasks or those where higher-level, strategic thinking or expertise is required.”
Interns help provide extra manpower that will get goals accomplished and projects finished all the while learning more about the industry, getting constructive feedback and expanding their skill sets.
A New Perspective:
Interns (no matter what age) bring a fresh perspective into the workplace. By bringing in interns who are new to your company, you are bringing in fresh perspectives on your business, strategies, and plans. This influx of “new” can also help improve a company’s culture by filling in gaps and bringing a team closer. According to LinkedIn’s Bill Driscoll,
“A positive corporate culture is attractive to potential future hires, as much as possible, strive to develop a positive work environment where interns make the most of their skills and are exposed to different departments so that they will view the internship as a positive experience.”
New interns bring with them novel perspectives and specialized strengths that your company did not once have augmenting your professional workforce’s skillset. To fully experience the benefits of your internship program, make sure you engage with them via communication and collaboration.
Just like the benefits of an internship program, mentorships are also 2-way streets. Internships allow for natural mentorship opportunities to arise and provide opportunities for your current employees to connect, communicate and ultimately become a mentor. Mentorship is helpful for your business’s culture as well as the intern’s well-being and continued learning.
Mentorships provide an opportunity for hiring managers and department heads to get involved with the evaluation process of a candidate. As they work together with candidates to accomplish certain tasks for the benefit of the company, Mentors provide feedback and guidance to the candidates as well as evaluate for certain skill sets and cultural fit to report to the CHRO and upper management.
This also trains the employees who act as mentors to take on more leadership roles and share their experiences with candidates. Giving them mentoring responsibilities allows them to build confidence in their own abilities and improve their self-sufficiency.
It’s easy to see that internship programs are more than just an easy way to get menial tasks done or get a fresh cup of coffee. A well set up internship program can benefit both the intern and the company by saving time, money, energy all while gaining perspective, productivity, and talent.
If you'd like to see how an internship program could change up your hiring strategy, let one of our specialists give you a free consultation!