As an employer, have you ever considered offering internship placements to university students and graduates? If you work for a larger company, internships may already be a part of your company’s recruitment strategy and you might already be fully aware of the various advantages of internships for employers.
If you are a small or medium enterprise, perhaps creating an internship programme is something you have mulled over a few times but you have never actually sat down to do it. Or, it might be something you have never even considered. Offering internship programmes to students and postgraduates can actually throw up many benefits for employers as well as for the intern. It’s a win win scenario and a scenario in which your company can really grow.
So, if the idea of offering internships to students and graduates is something you have had on the backburner for a while, here’s a list of possible benefits that might just persuade you to make offering internships a priority.
Internships benefit employers because you can offer your intern a full time position if you have one available
As well as offering students and graduates the chance to experience the world of work, you should also look at internships as a recruiting tool. You are no doubt aware that recruiting new staff can take a great deal of time and money but by offering internships, you can choose from the best without having to go through a whole recruitment process from scratch.
Create a quality internship programme where you can teach your interns about the ins and outs of your industry and, as the programme progresses, you can assess how and where your best young students and graduates could fit into that as full time members of staff.
Internships benefit employers because of the knock on effect of word of mouth
An effective internship programme is one where there is a win win situation for your interns and your company. If your interns feel valued and feel that they have really learned a lot by spending time at your company, they are highly likely to tell their peers about how great their experience was. Eventually, you will have students and postgraduates knocking on your door to do an internship programme with you.
A further benefit of this is that your interns also become your brand advocate. Your company will improve its reputation, not just amongst young people but amongst their parents and the local community, too. This means your customer base will grow, too, as a result.
Of course, word of mouth could also work against you if your internship programme is not effective. Make sure you create a placement that has clear goals set for the intern. Is there a measurable outcome that the intern can show on their CV? Something that they have achieved that has benefited your company and where they have developed particular skills? You want good word of mouth, not bad word of mouth.
Internships benefit employers because they are easier on your company finances
This is not about creating an internship programme just so you can benefit from taking on some cheap labour. As I said above, you want good word of mouth, not a reputation for using young people to do a few jobs around the place for little financial reward.
Having said that, if your budget is tight because you are a startup or an SME, taking on an intern can help you get jobs done. Give your interns genuine company projects to work on and you can get all those other jobs done that you have been meaning to get around to for some time. Having a student or graduate around the place means they can offer a whole new perspective on how to complete certain projects – they can introduce a different way of looking at things and bring innovation to your company.
Hiring a professional to do the same job could prove costly for you but interns don’t need to be paid as much. They are getting real experience of working in your industry, opportunities to network and make contacts and some financial reward decided by you. Some interns are also provided with accommodation and travel costs, depending on the nature of the role and location of the company.
Internships benefit employers because students and graduates are tech savvy
We all know how fast technology moves on, these days and it can be difficult to keep up with developments when there is always so much else to do. Young university students and graduates are often right up to date with latest innovations and when they come to do an internship with your company, they bring this knowledge with them.
Interns can offer some valuable ideas such as time saving techniques, different ways of using software to push your business forward or they can be effective for your social media presence, too. A lot of older staff – and perhaps even yourself – have had to learn social media but young people have grown up with it and they could set up useful social media campaigns for you.
Internships benefit employers because a young intern about the place can benefit the rest of your staff
Having a highly motivated young intern in your workplace can rub off on the rest of your team and boost both morale and productivity. Your staff can also benefit from taking on board any new ideas introduced by your intern.
Appointing a member of your staff to mentor interns can also make them feel more valued in their position of responsibility.
Internships benefit employers because they are good for your staff retention
It doesn’t have to necessarily be the case that you have vacancies available for all interns but if you do decide to employ one after the internship is finished, they know you and you know them.
When recruiting staff, you might have gone through the interview and application process and on paper, your candidate really fits the bill so you offer them the job. When they start the job, they might not gel with your current team or they don’t really get along well with the way your company does business. If this is the case, they are more likely to leave in a matter of months and you are back to square one.
Lots of candidates are very good at interview questions but that doesn’t necessarily translate to them sticking around in their job with your company. Interns already know you and your company. They have done the test drive and if they apply for a role, you know it’s because they want to work for your company and so they are more likely to stick around.
Internships are a good recruiting tool for you but they are also good for job seeking for students. Job satisfaction is increasingly important to students, these days. When they are looking for graduate jobs, they want to to know they are applying for jobs with the right type of company for them and they already know this if they have done an internship with you.
Internships benefit employers because interns are highly motivated
Students and postgraduates apply for your internships because they want to learn about the industry you work in. They have the academic experience and now they want to get experience of the world of work, apply their knowledge and develop new skills. They will be like a sponge and keen to impress so projects are likely to be completed to a high standard. Interns can introduce some new energy and flare into your workforce.
Internships benefit employers by creating a sense of ‘giving back’
By offering internship placements at your company, you are giving the local workforce a boost by enhancing the skills of its young people. You are also helping students and graduates develop their professional skills. You are a part of improving the skills of Britain’s workforce and therefore, contributing to the future of the UK economy.
Internships benefit employers because they are great way to attract young talent
We’ve talked about how to attract the best young talent to apply for your vacancies in the past. It can be difficult to attract the top graduates to your vacant positions especially if you are an SME or a young company. Graduates might not even know you exist and they often concentrate on chasing jobs with top firms.
Offering quality internships mean you have a gateway into attracting that top talent and, as a smaller company, you are in a better position to build more personal relationships where interns feel a sense of loyalty to you and your team. You have a better chance of encouraging them to take on full time positions with you at a later date.
Internships benefit employers because you can tailor the programme to benefit your company as well as the intern
Internships can be short programmes that last one week or a few weeks. You can even create internships that last for a whole year. This depends on factors such as the type of company you are, the size of your company, what you want to get from your intern and what you want the intern to get from their placement.
You might want to offer numerous short term placements throughout the year and in that way, you get access to more student talent. Fewer long term internship programmes means not as much access to talent in terms of numbers but the flip side of this is you can really get to know the interns you have taken on.
If you are an employer with internships on offer at your company, why not place your ad with E4S?