Internship candidates, or current interns looking to transition into full-time roles, build the backbone of a company’s talent pool, says Aldor H. Delp, Division Vice President & General Manager of Resource, ADP, LLC, a company that provides a variety of human resource services.
“Interns enable other entry-level employees to elevate their responsibilities and become leaders in the workplace,” says Delp. “Perhaps, most importantly, they represent an opportunity to train potential future leader’s right from the start of their careers.”
In certain industries and professions, interns bring substantial value, adds Bruce Harpham, founder of ProjectManagementHacks.com, a web site that helps technology enthusiasts improve productivity through the power of stories
“Interns in engineering and technology roles, interns with hustle, skills, and ambition, go far,” says Harpham. “For large firms in the professional services industry – accounting, consulting, law, banking – internships are an excellent way to test out employees prior to offering a full time role.”
Interns can be very beneficial for businesses, especially startups that are growing quickly, says Justworks’ Recruiting Manager, Leilani Lucero.
“Startup companies have much to gain from a team that is well-rounded and can provide fresh ideas, during key stages of growth,” says Lucero. “Interns can bring additional diversity of background and opinion, with modern and innovative ideas that help make sure our business is prepared for future generations.”
At Justworks, a payroll services, benefits and compliance firm, they strive to provide growth opportunities for interns, and invest time in them with hopes they come back as permanent employees at some point.
“We require them to work on real projects so they’re immersed in the company and have responsibilities similar to a full-time Justworks employee,” says Lucero.
An internship works best when a company has a specific need for the intern and enough bandwidth to provide guidance throughout the duration of it, adds Delp.
“It certainly does take a commitment to make the most out of an intern’s time, both for them and for the organization, but it can be a great experience for everybody if managed well,” says Delp.
Here are four ways for employers to help make an internship fulfilling, according to Delp:
- Give them some autonomy: Gen Z interns have a strong desire to be entrepreneurs. Allow them to have a project that they manage on their own to solve a key issue/challenge in your business.
- Provide opportunities to do meaningful work: Help balance the “day-to-day” with work they are passionate about, which can be a specific part of the business that interests them or a company volunteer effort.
- Teach them: Remember that they are there to learn and will value your guidance, expertise and knowledge. Ensure that the work they are doing helps them learn more about your business and the industry you are in.
- Help them see the path forward: Growth opportunities are key so be sure to help them see where an internship can take them in their career path and help them understand the value of the skills they are learning.
“Time is of the essence with internships, so employers should lay out a clear vision for the internship, what they will do, how they should do it and the skills you will provide them,” says Delp. “Doing so quickly will establish their trust, show that you have their best interests in mind and get them on board with your business goals.”