The decision to bring on summer interns for a small business can yield many positive benefits, career experts say.
"Internship programs allow small businesses to expand their workforce and interns to learn by doing. Interns support current employees by completing meaningful work," said Jill Chapman, director of early talent programs at Insperity.
What work can interns do for businesses?
When assigning tasks, it is also important to consider the timeframe of an internship.
"Because a summer internship has a distinct timeline, most of an intern’s projects may be short-term," Chapman told FOX Business. "To maximize the educational value for the intern and the benefit to their teams, organizations may wish to assign the intern a summer-long ‘capstone’ project or proposal. Interns can present this project to their manager or their entire team and receive feedback. The business may even implement the project after the end of the summer."
How can businesses support the learning objective of their interns?
Chapman said interns develop their skills through feedback since their work will require review from more senior colleagues.
"For the business, interns can take on projects and routine tasks," Chapman told FOX Business. "New ideas abound when interns work on these assignments, but it also clears the plate of employees so they can focus their energy on more complex projects." Additionally, interns will gain skills from completing their work and can learn from their more experienced full-time coworkers for a "win/win" dynamic, she continued.
Chapman added internship programs expose both current employees and interns to new perspectives.
"Because internship programs bring together people of different generations and backgrounds, they promote the exchange of perspectives and ideas, which is a ‘win/win’ for everyone involved," she said. "Current employees can benefit by seeing the business and their work through the fresh eyes of interns, while interns can experience office culture for the first time."
How do internship programs create a talent pipeline for businesses?
Chapman explained how internship programs develop a talent pipeline for small businesses and can lead to future employment for interns.
"Perhaps the biggest ‘win/win’ of internship programs is that small businesses expand their talent pool and interns gain an advantage in recruitment," she said. Many businesses extend offers to interns who meet performance standards or give former interns an advantage when hiring for full-time roles, Chapman shared. "Even if interns do not go on to work for the company they intern for, they gain valuable experience to list on their resume and discuss during interviews," she added.
How can summer interns infuse your business with creativity?
Derek Ellington, head of small business banking for Wells Fargo, told FOX Business how interns can walk in the door and infuse a business with enthusiasm and energy, see things through fresh eyes and a different perspective, and introduce new ideas and points of view.
"Because summer interns want to make an impression, earn a recommendation, and bolster that resume, they have skin in the game in terms of fostering the success of the business," said Ellington. "That typically means bringing a can-do, creative attitude to the job, which in turn can revitalize and motivate employees."
Another benefit, according to Ellington, is summer interns can reduce your employees’ typical workload and alleviate potential summer burn out, train potential full-time employees and promote your business among potential job seekers and schools that sponsor internship programs.
"When an intern comes on board, a current employee often has the opportunity to manage the intern, boosting leadership skills, and that’s good for business," he said.
How can companies find interns?
Michelle Reisdorf, district president for Robert Half, said networking and being active in the community, specifically partnering with local universities, is a great way to find candidates looking for internships.
"Also attending career fairs are another good way to discover interns," Reisdorf told FOX Business. "You want to be marketing yourself to employees of all ages and really focusing on your brand."