Benefits of Hiring Interns for Your Small Business

As a small business owner, deciding to grow your workforce takes careful consideration. If your business is growing, your current employees may find they need help with the increase in demands, but before you decide to hire a full-time employee, we want you to consider the use of an internship program.

An internship program is an opportunity offered to current university/college students or recent grads that allows them to get hands-on training by working for a business. Normally these programs last up to four months and run during all times of the year. Those who look for winter internships tend to begin their search in November. If your company can offer the right training and time to an internship program, we suggest you do so. It will not only benefit students who want to learn, but it will also benefit your company in ways you could not have imagined.

Benefit #1: Opportunity to Grow Employees Leadership Skills

A common goal for most interns is they want to gain valuable hands-on work experience that they wouldn't be able to get in school. This translates into a lack of work experience, which means the interns will need to have a strong leader/mentor to guide them throughout their time with your company.

The people who will be mentoring these interns will be you and your employees. But what if your employees have never held a leadership position before? Not a problem, this will be a great time for your employees to grow and develop their leadership skills as they will need to lead and teach the interns new skills.

Benefit #2: Potential to Discover New Employees

Internship programs can run all year long. Sometimes you may have summer interns working 9-5 and other times you may have interns during the school year that work 1-2 days a week. Being exposed to many different interns is a great recruitment tool, as you will get to see who you feel could be a perfect fit for your company. You can assess this by looking at their skill development, work ethic and how they fit in at your company.

But, how do you hire an intern that still has to complete their degree? If this situation occurs, we suggest that you hire the intern as a part-time employee 1-2 days a week with a promise to hire them full time once they are done. Remember that hiring an intern as an employee saves your company time and money in training costs that you would have had to invest in another employee.

What happens if the intern rejects your job offer? Don't worry, just because one intern rejects your offer doesn't mean that there isn't another talented intern coming your way. Use this opportunity to benefit from the rejection. Ask the intern for honest feedback on your company as to why they don't want to work for you. Make sure to apply this constructive criticism to improve your business culture or practices.

Benefit #3 Access to Fresh Ideas

A great thing about interns is that they are still in the midst of their studies, or have recently completed their studies, therefore they will have up-to-date knowledge and an understanding of modern trends. When they join your company for their internship program, this is something that they will bring to the table. We suggest you take advantage of this by inviting interns to brainstorm sessions and encouraging them to share their ideas - the knowledge they hold could lead to a major improvement in the areas they are working in your business.

Benefit #4: Helping Complete Projects

Whether your company is successfully growing or simply needs help completing tasks, interns are an asset to add to your team. Something great about interns is that they are eager to learn and get results because they want to progress their career. Therefore, it is important to give interns the work that was on the job description they applied for - don't expect interns of 2019 to be going on regular coffee runs.

Properly utilizing interns will benefit interns and your business. Think about it, there aren't that many hours in a workday and sometimes projects fall to the side as you need to focus on more pressing matters. Interns will be able to focus on these projects and other short-term projects you need help with, while learning the career skills they need.

Another way you may decide to utilize your interns is to help with ongoing long-term projects. You may find their fresh ideas can help in areas you were having trouble with. Keep in mind that employee leadership skills will need to come into play. Since interns are not heavily skilled and still developing, your employees will need to ensure that they check the interns work - so we suggest they meet with them at least once a week to keep up to date with their accomplishments.

Benefit #5: Social Media Savvy

While you may have a social media team in place, don't shy away from getting your interns' opinions on your social strategy. The reason behind this is that university and college students are frequent users of social media platforms and many have grown their own social following. Therefore, it is likely that they will have beneficial insights into new and popular platforms and different ways to leverage them to better engage your audience.

Benefit #6: Help Your Business Increase Brand Presence

Providing an internship program is a great opportunity to increase the brand presence of your company. If you offer a positive interning experience, chances are high that interns will speak about this with their friends, fellow students and family. They are also more likely to become supporters of your company and share your success with their social media network. In turn, this great word of mouth marketing will increase your brand presence. You will likely get more students who want to work with you in internship positions, and even people who want to work with you full time.

What You Will Need To Keep In Mind

When you decide to hire an intern for your small business, keep in mind that interns are still in school, so unless they are on summer holiday or school breaks, they will not also be able to work regular 9-5 hours. This can benefit you as you may not need the intern full time, so it will help keep your costs down. On an additional note, it is important to keep in mind that most of the time you will need to pay your interns, although this could vary depending on the province and its rules.

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