Internships offer potential and opportunity to both students and businesses. These programs don’t only give interns valuable new experiences, but they also bring fresh ideas and energy to the company.
Here are five advantages a great internship program can bring to your organization:
1. New Energy
Students are young and eager — and they can bring a lot of new energy to the workplace.
Interns are excited to soak up all the knowledge they can during their short time at the company. No doubt there is a lot of information to take in — especially if this is their first internship — but many interns will come to the company with an energetic, positive vibe that really makes an impact on your culture and environment. An intern’s vibe can be contagious, revitalizing engagement among even the most seasoned veterans on your team.
2. Fresh Ideas
The workforce currently contains a wide spread of generations, including baby boomers, Gen. X-ers, millennials, and Gen. Z-ers. Interns are most likely to come from these youngest generations, bringing with them the love of tech and entrepreneurial spirit that characterizes millennials and Gen. Z-ers. This tech savvy and entrepreneurialism can rub off on your current staff, leading to positive changes around the organization. Coming in with an outsider’s perspective, interns can also be fonts of innovative ideas that inspire your team members.
3. Increased Productivity
There is always another task to be done, some reason your team could really use an extra set of hands. What better way to solve this problem than with an intern?
An internship program is an inexpensive way to get another mind wrapped around a project, bringing new insights and freeing up some of your employees’ time for other priority tasks. When employees have extra help and feel less pressured, their productivity may even jump.
Don’t underestimate interns just because they are students. These individuals are there to work, learn, and experience real-world projects. Don’t be afraid to let them get their hands dirty on actual projects.
4. Valuable Feedback
Interns are outsiders looking in, which puts them in a prime position to spot flaws and opportunities for improvement that long-term employees may miss. Interns can give feedback to you, your team, and the company in general. It’s important to listen to what they have to say, because an intern’s insights could launch you miles ahead of your competition.
Team members are often stuck in a “why fix it?” mindset as they race from task to task, but the perspective of a brand new intern can be just the thing to shake your team out of their status-quo funk.
5. A Prime Talent Pool
Would you rather hire someone who’s never worked for your company or a young professional who started as an intern and already knows the ins and outs of the organization?
Many Fortune 500 companies retain more than 80 percent of their interns as entry-level hires. An internship offers a test run for both the employer and the intern. Both parties get a sense of fit before any official offers are made or accepted, which leads to more informed hiring decisions. Plus, hiring from your internship program saves on recruiting costs by cutting out the need for any lengthy searches.
Internship programs bring undeniable benefits to a business. Whether you have a small class of interns each summer or do a large rotation each season, it’s important to strategically manage your program to achieve all of these benefits — and more.
A version of this article originally appeared on the Oleeo blog.
Jeanette Maister is managing director of the Americas for Oleeo.