Internships offer employers a huge pipeline into tomorrow’s talent in a way that’s also beneficial for interns. Young interns are getting a chance to apply academic, classroom knowledge to a real-world setting and potentially test drive unexplored career directions.
Internships can be structured in such a way that’s both fun and productive. You have the chance to hone interns’ work skills and potentially shape them into a future employee. At the same time, you’re giving them the freedom to explore a few different avenues within the field they’re interested in. It’s a nice mixture of hands-on experience, skill development, open-ended exploration, and benefit to your organization.
Planning and conducting an internship program also gives employers a chance to mold tomorrow’s talent from the beginning. Research out of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) shows that, among over 15,000 upperclassmen who embarked in paid internships, well over half received full-time job offers. Takeaway: clearly internships are working for most employers!
Internships are Gateways to Great Careers
Other findings from the National Association of Colleges and Employers are also enlightening. The association looked at the kinds of things that made interns rate their experience as very or extremely satisfying versus partially or completely unsatisfying. It turns out that when you have interns spend more time on administrative, routine or inessential tasks they’re more apt to find the experience unsatisfying. No big surprises there!
The more time spent on problem-solving tasks that students’ felt had a positive impact on the organizations, the more satisfied were the interns. Interns also looked for more structure in internships since they ended up more deeply appreciating internships that placed a heavy emphasis on project management. Creating specific goals for your internship and facilitating a sense of teamwork, therefore, are hugely beneficial steps every internship program should incorporate today.
Fostering more internship satisfaction through more structured environments, a greater emphasis on problem solving tasks, and fostering a sense of teamwork is important for another reason. Doing so increases the chances that the interns that create the most favorable impression – i.e., the best interns – will actually accept the full-time job offers that they’re extended. In the NACE study mentioned above, interns were above seven times more likely to accept a job offer depending on their satisfaction levels with the internship experience.
You Get What You Put In With Interns
Many employers are hesitant to take on interns. They feel they won’t be beneficial or that they will be too much work. But nurturing your intern is worthwhile. Given the right structure and project management, interns can do everything from lending a few fresh perspectives to supplementing a short-handed staff with more input. Almost any corporate culture, given enough time, can develop routine ways of going about problems and silo mentalities in which departments aren’t communicating or sharing as well as they could be.
Interns can come in and really shake things up: In a good way! You’d be surprised how often simply explaining to someone how you complete a task or approach a problem can lead you to think, “maybe there’s a more efficient way to go about this.” Moreover, interns are frequently the ones making the suggestions themselves, which is why it’s important that interns are matched up with mentors who can provide a sense of structure and trust.
Hiring interns also gives you unique advantages like potentially increasing your brand exposure and social media presence. Interns are going to be chatting among themselves and their friends when it comes to spreading the news about their recent situation; if it’s truly positive, then there’s also a great chance that they’ll be brand advocates for your company on social media and in real life.