Someone needs to tell the new supervisor that repetitive copying can break a talented intern’s will! Need coffee? The kitchen is that way. The days of having interns perform menial tasks are long gone.
Anyone who still associates the word “intern” with a gopher, as in “go-for” this or that, are themselves unprofessional and misguided. Tasked properly, interns are highly motivated, highly capable and highly valuable.
The mutual benefits of internships do happen one-on-one. However, success begins with employers that cultivate an effective internship program as a marketable asset and an investment in the company’s future. Need more convincing?
Here are three ways student talent can help your bottom line:
- Internship programs facilitate entry-level hiring.
An internship program allows you to take students for a “test drive” for relatively little cost and minimal risk. This includes not having to pay benefits or make a long-term commitment to a graduate of unknown quality, eliminating costly recruiting mistakes. Considering that various studies have put the actual cost of entry-level hiring at 15 to 21 percent of the employee’s
salary — with actual costs running much higher — this can represent a significant financial incentive.
- Student talent can increase productivity.
Gaining productivity through an internship program can be a challenge at first. Many managers feel they don’t have the time in today’s fast-paced work environment to manage interns and, based on past experience, may feel that doing so is not a productive pursuit.
However, just about every business manager can think of numerous tasks they do in any given week that college students are capable of doing instead. Imagine if we simply shift the “time paradigm” for those professionals to mentor and supervise student interns — and give them the tools to do it more effectively. Five hours is enough to manage up to 60 hours of student time.
Based on a five-year productivity study by the Internship Institute, a single intern supervisor can gain up to 225 full work days in a calendar year by reprioritizing his time to manage students. The study revealed that utilizing students year-round with a baseline of 36 weeks and a combined 60 hours of project work among interns yielded 1800 hours beyond the time it took to manage the program overall — and that didn’t include the additional gains by program supervisors who were able to boost their own productivity performing higher level tasks as a result of relying on interns.
The bottom line: Managers don’t have the time not to train and task interns.
- An effective internship program can ignite the front burner.
Today’s college students have worked hard to get where they are, and many of them are graduating with unprecedented college debt. They are eager to work and to strengthen their resumes with meaningful and marketable work experiences.
Employers who harness this enthusiasm and marry it with effective time and task management will find opportunities to accomplish project work that would otherwise remain on the proverbial back burner.
Interns can perform a variety of tasks such as research, writing, making phone calls, brainstorming and more. They often possess knowledge and skills that other employees may not, including technology expertise, research methodologies and career-specific talents that apply the latest classroom learning.
There are hundreds of student projects that can support general business interests. Some examples include: conducting surveys, doing competitive intelligence research, uncovering and pursuing marketing opportunities, managing website content, writing and editing articles for publication, planning events, contacting organizations of interest, preparing presentations and finding online resources.
Taking the next step
To reap these benefits, employers must assume responsibility and take action by developing the infrastructure to create successful internship programs and put students to work. Unfortunately, the reality is that many employers may not understand how to develop and use student talents successfully. Moreover, they generally don’t have the tools to do it right or, in many cases, may not even realize the opportunities they’re missing.
That’s where the Internship Institute comes in. Our unique industry-driven, productivity-focused approach to Internship Seeding, development and certification is aimed at closing the gap between education and employment for both student and employer. We provide easy-to-use systems and tools with hands-on guidance to help employers fully utilize and develop students’ talents and skills, while preparing them for career success. Our internship resources are designed to increase productivity, reduce ‘brain drain,’ improve workforce readiness, and ‘home grow’ future employees to be more loyal and valuable.
Still not sure it’s worth the effort? Consider this: According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ 2016 Internship and Co-op Study, the overall conversion rate from intern to employee is 61.9 percent — a 13-year high. Today’s intern is very likely your next dedicated employee and increasing talent asset.