The era of unpaid internships is coming to an end – and despite a little grousing from the corners of some industries, that’s not a bad thing at all. It’s actually great news. The truth is that everyone benefits when businesses pay interns.

For those hiring professionals and managers who are checking their expenses and wondering if the kid walking in the door is worth the price, here are four reasons why you absolutely must have your interns on the payroll:

1. It Pays Dividends in the Work You Get Back

If you walked into work one morning and you were told that you would be working for free, would you work as hard as you would otherwise, even if you completely loved the space in which you were working? The fact is, people like to feel appreciate and be rewarded. If you pay your interns, you are telling them that they’re valued parts of the company and that the work they are doing matters. If they know they matter to you, they’ll put in the extra effort.

Let’s also be honest about the costs. Though saving a little cash upfront might look good on a spreadsheet, paying an intern isn’t going to break the bank for you. Investing the relatively small amount of money it takes to get a good intern is a tiny price with a big potential payoff.

2. It Lets Interns Concentrate on the Work They Do for You

It has become so commonplace for interns to work for free that we’ve managed to convince ourselves that it’s alright to make interns work second – or even third – jobs to make ends meet while they’re putting in hours at our enterprises (and that’s on top of the classes they’re taking if they’re students).

Well, it’s not alright. If interns are worrying about not being able to make rent, then they’re not able to focus as much on the work you need them to do. The same goes for interns who are so fatigued from working other jobs that they can barely keep their eyes open when they show up in the office.

Putting your interns in this position doesn’t just make life hard for them – you are robbing yourself and your business of the benefits that come from an intern who isn’t constantly racked with worry over personal finances.

FogMoreover, if you don’t pay your interns, you are needlessly limiting your talent pool. Those interns who can’t afford to work for free won’t be able to work for your company – and that means you could be missing out on some stellar talent for no good reason.

3. It Lets Interns Focus on Their Futures – and Your Future

Giving interns a financial incentive to do a good job pays off in more than just the work they do for you during the course of their internship. With interns, you should be making an investment in your field by showing new talent the ropes. If you pay interns, not only will they be more willing to learn, but they’ll also be happier to stay in the space you’re working in – and they’ll be happier to come back to your organization.

The truly talented interns could be your loyal colleagues – or even your C-suite – a few decades down the road, but only if you start them off on the right foot – with a paycheck. Paying interns is a way to cultivate both the future of your profession and the future of your company.

4. It Makes the World a Better Place

One business paying its interns is a good thing; every business paying its interns is a great thing. Purely on a practical level, it means less instability, more capital circulating throughout communities, and happier people. While we don’t always talk about these “soft” factors, they go a long way in helping all businesses do better.

Legal Matters Matter, But Some Things Are More Important

There is legislation appearing nowadays on various levels that makes not paying interns illegal in some instances – but it shouldn’t even get to the point where you’re worried about having to skirt the law. As we’ve demonstrated, it’s in your business’s best interests to pay its interns, regardless of the law.

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