At this point, if you have yet to begin thinking about offering a summer internship, you’re probably behind. That’s okay though, we’re here to help. Below are 5 great ways to maximize the value of a summer internship for both you and those you hire.
- Hire someone to be a SOLUTION, not a stop-gap.
This practice can benefit both you and your new intern. Statistics show that interns have a 70% chance of being hired full-time, upon completion of their internship if they choose to pursue that avenue. (Forbes) If interns are potentially “trying-out” for a full-time position, you should be too. When you are deciding which intern to add to your team, think about them in the long-term and not just for the summer. This gives you a chance to test drive the individual in a limited capacity before making a decision about them full time.
- Provide an experience that is authentic and rewarding.
All too often, interns are hired without much forethought. While part-time hires do not share the same contracts as full-time employees, they still can be a valuable resource. In fact, if prepared and coached correctly, they can sometimes perform equitable work for a lot less money.
After you have made a final decision on who to hire, begin implementing a strategy to get the most out of the limited time you have with your interns. Just as a typical hire would want, make sure you provide objectionable goals for them to complete. Construct these objectives to provide real-world experience for your temporary workers and so that you may accomplish some of your goals along the way. Being intentional with your interns’ time provides the experience they are looking for, while also allowing you to leverage relatively inexpensive labor to accomplish important tasks.
- Bring on a team, not an individual.
It may seem daunting to onboard and train more than one new employee, especially if you are a small company, but allowing interns to collaborate and struggle together affords them a solid support system. Feeling that they are part of something bigger will amplify their productivity. Additionally, having more than one intern provides you with more opportunities to find a good long-term fill for one of your openings.
Teaming interns with each other also provides healthy competition. Breeding this element of struggle-for-achievement aids the growth and development of your new team members.
- Remember what this is.
This runs slightly askew from the guidance in number two but is still very important. Although you want to provide a realistic environment for these interns, it’s important to take a step back and realize that this could potentially be their first real-world experience. Do not expect the same results on their first day, that you would from a veteran at your company.
Instead, coach and train these interns with the expectation that they can truly be thriving by the time their internship comes to a close. Through hard work, proper teachings, and tempered expectations, these interns can truly be a boon for your company and become more beneficial than you ever would have expected.
- Use this internship as an excuse to become younger, more diverse, and maintain relevancy.
This summer is an excellent chance to develop the culture you desire at your company, and the internship is a great place to start. Companies that don’t keep up with the times go the way of Circuit City or Borders. Infusing your office with millennials and engaged young adults allows you to gain new perspectives. On top of that, growing your culture through diversity and inclusion fosters a healthier work environment that lends itself to increased productivity. “Checking the boxes,” is one thing, but truly buying into becoming a more inclusive company that promotes equality across the board, can do nothing but bolster your brand.
While well-constructed internships can take a lot of time to develop on the front end, going in with a strategic purpose will afford your extreme dividends. Make sure that you prioritize developing a strong program and implementing your intentions to ensure that you make the most of this summer for both you, and your interns.
For even more effective tips on culture-building and team development, check out this Sandler Blog Post.