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If your organization does not have an internship program, you might be missing out on some great talent for a low cost.
It is estimated that 20-25% of newly hired employees come from internship programs.
Organizations use internship programs as part of a recruitment strategy that is aimed at achieving business objectives.
This young talent is hungry for experience and willing to work hard to get it.
Interns are generally looking for a real-life experience that will utilize their skills and offer challenging work. They want to put everything they learned at school to the test.
Internship programs were designed by colleges and universities to give students real-life work experience as part of their degree curriculum.
Schools partner with businesses to place students within work environments to gain valuable experience.
Businesses today are using internship programs to identify talent and recruit for employment.
This can be a cost-effective way to recruit employees and identify talent as part of a succession plan.
Employers use interns to complete projects that might have fallen on the back burner and would have otherwise been difficult to achieve.
The internship process can test the student’s socialization to the workplace, aptitude, and skill set.
For an internship program to be successful, it requires designated resources, a formal structure, and a management process for recruiting prospective interns and managing current interns.
8 Components Of An Effective Internship Program
1. Internship Program Goals
Internship programs should be part of your business strategy. Create a program with specific criteria and actionable goals for the program.
For example, the internship program might have a goal of recruiting at least ten candidates with very specific qualifications for each position.
This goal allows for a good selection of qualified candidates for the position.
2. Application Process
Internship programs often have the same or similar application process as used for new employees.
The organization might require interns to apply to the program, meet internship criteria, interview for the job, and be placed into the appropriate role.
A structured application process is a crucial step in assuring a good match for the needs of the internship program.
3. Compensation Package
Most internship programs offer paid positions. Formalize the pay structure so there are no questions about wages paid.
In addition to a salary, internships can offer other benefits as well.
Relocation costs, housing supplements, and paid holidays are a few benefits that can be included in an internship compensation package.
Create a competitive compensation package that meets the required skills of the position and determine if a noncompete agreement is necessary.
4. Job Description
Interns should be treated like all other employees and be held accountable for the job they are being paid to do.
Spend time orienting the new intern to ensure they have an understanding of the organization, job responsibilities, and who to go to with questions about their role.
5. Orientation Process
Like new employees, interns can greatly benefit from a formal employee orientation process.
A formal orientation process can help prepare interns for the office culture, job requirements, and expectations of the job.
Every intern should have someone to manage their work.
Someone should be responsible for making sure the intern has the tools they need to do their job and to manage the performance of the intern.
It is the manager’s responsibility to ensure that the intern understands how the organization communicates expectations, holds employees accountable for job responsibilities, and clarifies their role in helping to achieve business goals.
7. Performance Appraisal
Like employees, interns should go through a formal performance appraisal process.
To be effective, the manager helps the intern understand expectations for the job and holds them accountable for meeting those job requirements.
A performance appraisal process is done to assess the intern’s progress toward stated goals that are communicated at the beginning of the internship.
8. Exit Interview
Exit interviews are an important step to help gain the intern’s perspective on the program.
Honest feedback can provide valuable information that can be incorporated into improvements to the program.
For instance, an exit interview might identify inconsistencies in how the intern was managed – an important aspect of the program.
And you will never know unless you ask!
Internship programs can be a win-win for all parties. Schools are able to offer students valuable on-the-job experiences.
Students gain valuable real-life experiences and the opportunity to sell themselves as a prospective employee.
Businesses are provided with great services at a low cost and often find a gem of an employee in the process.
Has your business thought of starting an internship program?