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Finding great talent to hire for your organization is an ongoing challenge, and one that you should pursue actively, even if you aren’t ready to add to your full-time staff at the moment. It is important to be continuously on the lookout for people who would be an asset to your team and cultivating these relationships over time.

One of the smartest ways a company can find new talent is by establishing a high-quality internship program. Not only are internships appealing to college students who are interested in gaining knowledge, work experience and mentorship opportunities, they also give your organization the chance to test out potential hires before they enter the full-time work force.

Why Offer an Internship Program?

1. It is a mutually beneficial situation.

Young people are eager to learn and acquire the valuable experience that comes with an internship. By working for your company for a summer or another limited period of time, they are able to get their feet wet in an industry that interests them, while expanding their skills and building professional references. In return, you are able to strengthen your team without taking on the expense and risk of hiring a full-time employee. A well-developed internship program can provide important learning opportunities for the intern and much-needed help for your organization.

2. It is a good long-term investment.

Your star summer intern may turn out to be just the person you need on your staff in a year or two. If you take the time now to mentor college students and take an interest in their education and career goals, you can start to develop genuine relationships that will be beneficial in the future. Find an exceptional intern and you could save yourself a lot of recruitment time and money by hiring him when he graduates.

3. It increases productivity.

Treat your interns with respect and find challenging tasks for them, and they will repay you tenfold by working with enthusiasm and diligence. Don’t make the mistake of giving interns only busywork or the tasks no one else wants to do. If you do, they will most likely become bored or resentful and you will be wasting an opportunity to engage them in meaningful work. Find a balance to the assignments you give them, and be sure to include real responsibilities within the organizationn.

4. It brings fresh ideas and energy to the organization.

While your interns can increase their knowledge by working with experienced professionals, you can also learn from them. Younger employees can often bring a fresh perspective that is helpful in the workplace. Treat interns as part of the team, ask for their opinions and suggestions and demonstrate that you value their contributions. Set specific goals, track their progress and give them regular feedback to make the most of their time in your company.

Do you have an internship program in your organization? What is the most significant benefit you have noticed?

Learn more about EDSI’s coaching resources.

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