The majority of business leaders believe that there is a significant gap between the skills and competences students are equipped with at university, and the ones they would need in their first job. Internships are a great way to bridge this gap, but a lot of business leaders battle with the thought if it is truly beneficial or cost efficient to have interns. Training and developing an intern takes a lot of time, and by the time they are actually starting to bring results, it might already be the end of their internship, so they might not provide immediate return on investment. However, by properly taking care of your interns, they can actually be seen as a long term investment for a company. Here are five reasons why it is important to take care of your interns.
1. New innovative ideas
When you put time and effort into training your interns and making them feel at home, the fact that they feel comfortable will also show in the quality of their work. If interns feel like their opinions are valued, they can bring a wide range of new ideas to your business, be it related to the products or the way of working. The interns have the ability to look at what’s being done from an outsider’s perspective as well as bring their fresh ideas. These can be game-changers in the long run.
2. Talent pipeline
Internships are a great channel for recruitment. Many companies use internships to test possible future employees before making the hiring decision. On the other hand, interns usually lack experience from the business world, so they are like a blank canvas. It is very easy to shape them to fit your corporate culture.
3. Special skills
Many times an intern comes from a totally different generation, with a totally different set of skills than the majority of the company employees. This might be the chance to bring sought-after skills to your company. The younger generation can bring insights into how youth of today use technology, and even teach tech skills to senior employees. On the other hand, hiring an intern from abroad will give you not only a direct contact in a new potential market, but unique market knowledge and language skills that might be hard to find in the country of your residence.
4. Employer branding
In the era of social media, words travel faster than ever before. Young people today share everything with their peers, so your intern’s experience will also be shared with their social networks. Whether the intern spends their internship making coffee or developing themselves professionally, makes a difference. Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool and providing a challenging experience for your intern might just make the difference of having recent graduates line up at your door.
5. Higher retention
Internships can have a significant influence in a student’s life. It might help them find out what they want to do with their careers and even consider industries they had not before. The more you invest in your interns, the more they will get out of it and the more satisfied they will be with their experience. Satisfied interns are more likely to become your future employees after their graduation. After all, the more you invest in an intern, the more they will invest in their job, and ultimately your business.
At AIESEC, we work with our partner organizations to provide our interns with experiences where both the intern and our partner get the most out of the internship. By providing them with a challenging environment and supporting them in their development, our partners are contributing to the development of youth leadership. If you are wondering how you could invest better in your interns, contact us today and we can discuss how to make leadership development part of your interns’ day-to-day.6