Do Interns Really Contribute Growth To Your Business?
Interns are young, fresh, and eager to learn. However, some employers are hesitant to put their trust in interns. They worry: are interns really effective? Can they help grow your business to some extent? When the situation is approached correctly, the answer is yes.
Principally, because they are excited to be part of a team and they are willing to work to impress.
Below, here’s our advice on how interns can contribute to your business, and some tips for smooth intern onboarding and management.
1. Interns want to expand their horizons.
Interns tend to be motivated and driven. They are a self-selected group who has gone beyond the responsibility of full-time student to look for more learning opportunities. What’s more, they recognize that the skills they learn with you can help them build their future careers.
Many interns enter the office with an “I can do it all” attitude. However, there are benefits to defining an intern’s sphere of influence in the office. Principally, doing so allows for less heavy-handed management, which saves time on your end.
At Appfluence, where I was hired as an intern via MindSumo, each intern handles one, specific initiative. This allows for less time spent onboarding, development of a specific skillset, and more time spent on the actual work.
2. If interns have a positive experience working with your business, they will be happy to tell others about it.
We always want our company or product to shed a good image in the limelight. When people spread good words, our business has the potential to grow. According to this article from Enterprise Nation:
“[Interns] can also become a walking recommendation for your business. If you’ve provided an interesting and valuable internship, then when the intern moves on they’ll be happy to tell people how great it was working for your business. Word-of-mouth recommendation is extremely powerful and it’s worth investing the time in making an internship genuinely worthwhile for this reason alone.”
Give your intern a happy experience, and they will make sure to spread the word.
Make sure to have a final conversation with your interns at the end of their stay with your company to smooth over any final details, and make sure everybody leaves the experience on a good note.
3. Interns are relatively inexpensive.
Interns are usually college students, who are happy to work for reasonable pay. The benefits on your part are that your intern will not be an employee (rather, they will most likely be an independent contractor), so you will not have to provide them benefits, insurance, etc.
Just take Barbara Weltman’s advice, and “keep in mind that even though you are offering training, you still must adhere to the Fair Labor Standards Act with respect to minimum wage and overtime rules (even for interns).”
4. Interns can lighten your tedious workload, so you can focus on more impactful work.
President Eisenhower designed the Eisenhower Method of prioritization pictured below. Based on this methodology, he divided his workload into two categories: Critical and Urgent.
The third quadrant in the box, Not Critical, but Urgent, contains tasks that should be delegated to others. Think pesky paperwork and rescheduling meetings. While it is essential that the task gets done, it is not essential that you be the one to do it. These tasks do not demand your expertise, and should ideally be delegated to someone else on your staff.
Interns enjoy the responsibility of acting as the right-hand man (or woman) to a full-time employee, and this allows you to accomplish even more with the time that this saves you.
For interns working remotely, try a delegation tool like Priority Matrix to facilitate communication and keep visibility of what your interns are working on.
5. With proper training and stellar mentors, interns can rise to the top.
Take time with your intern, be clear about your expectations, answer questions, and give specific directions. While this might take some time out of your routine at the beginning, it will be beneficial in the long run because your intern will learn how things are done correctly.
If your internships have the potential to last more than a couple of months, the more you invest on the front end, the more you will gain in the long run.
Rather than simply assigning tasks, make sure to explain the logic behind the workflow, so that interns can grow into more independent employees that require less coaching. With this goal in mind, they are primed to become full-time employees after graduation.
6. You are making a difference in their lives.
Yes, that might sound cheesy, but you are.
It’s fair to say that along the way, each of us has learned from somebody who helped us become a better professional. When taking on interns, you help a young person acquire the skills that are necessary in the workplace and for their future jobs.
Along with training in your specific industry and role, consider offering tips into best practices such as a new resume layout or insight into how to write better follow-up emails to other potential employers.
7. You may find your next great employee!
Your intern may become an asset to your business as soon as they are fully trained on the job. Who is a better person to hire than somebody who has learned your company inside and out?
Some employers are skeptical to hire interns because they believe they are inexperienced; however, how does one get experience if nobody will give them a chance?
When hiring interns, remember: clearly define the initiatives that each intern will take on, invest in training each intern rather than simply delegating busy-work, and offer mentorship outside daily responsibilities.
In the long run, interns can help your company achieve success.
About the Author:
Danielle Levine is a content marketing assistant for Appfluence. Appfluence is the creator of Priority Matrix, a collaboration tool that allows teams to work together more efficiently. When Danielle isn’t reading up on the latest about productivity, she’s writing about it on the Appfluence, Productivity 101.