Funding and time – two things that all start-ups are strapped for. In fact, we’ll go on to claim that any business that isn’t short on these two variables shouldn’t even be considered as a start-up. Such a business has already moved into its growth phase. Regardless of which phase your business is in, though, an internship programme can turn out to be quite beneficial for it.
Typically, people think that start-ups will benefit from interns the most. This is because they view interns as free resources. However, an internship programme has benefits for businesses, irrespective of which stage they’re in their life cycle. What we’re trying to say is that the answer to if you should start an internship programme at your business is a definite yes. In this post, we’ll explain why this is so.
Internship Programme Benefit #1: Short Term and Long Term Time and Cost Savings
This is the obvious one. This benefit is why most businesses choose to initiate an internship programme. There’s a catch here though. If this is the only reason why you’re interested in instituting an internship programme in your organisation, then the chances of it failing will be very high.
The major challenge with interns is that they’re usually untrained. This lack of expertise is the reason why short-term time and cost savings are questionable with an internship programme. For instance, without any professional training, contributions made by interns are almost always below par. Similarly, any time savings that an extra pair of hands may create will be countered by the time taken to review their work.
However, in the long term, an internship programme does indeed offer significant cost and time savings. For instance, if the intern is trained for a few weeks or months, his output can become acceptable for the organisation. In fact, the longer the intern is trained, the better his output gets. The same applies to time savings wherein the longer an intern is trained, the more time he ends up saving.
In a nutshell, an internship programme is beneficial if it involves proper training and supervision by experienced professionals.
Internship Programme Benefit #2: Unearthing the Superstar
The biggest time and cost savings come when one of the interns you hire turns out to be a superstar. Most youngsters have inherent talents that need to be brought out during their professional careers. However, some of them excel in everything they touch in a specific field. Such youngsters grow up to be reliable, dependable, creative, innovative, and highly valued contributors in the industry.
If you find such an individual amongst your interns, then you have the chance to help him reach his potential from the very beginning. This proves to be beneficial for the business in the long term because it engenders loyalty and gratefulness in the individual. Because such individuals become emotionally invested in the organisation, they try their hardest to make it succeed. Therefore, through their careers, these individuals end up saving the organisation tangible elements (financial) as well intangible elements (time and reputation).
Internship Programme Benefit #3: Newer Perspectives on Organisational Policies and Systems
This benefit of an internship programme is less for a start-up than for an ageing organisation. Older organisations have a tendency to get stuck in their existing methods and systems. They also tend to look inwards than outwards. The reason why interns are good for such an organisation is that they always bring fresh and newer perspectives to organisations.
Even if the interning youngsters are professionally green, they still possess unconditioned creativity and innovation. In fact, it is their absence of experience with existing systems and methodologies that make them so useful for such organisations. Having interns almost always forces organisations into rethinking their strategies.
Internship Programme Benefit #4: Technological Leaps in Workforce
Regardless of how new-age your start-up is or how much focus you give to the technological advancement of your flourishing business, you can never be ahead of the curve. Most businesses adopt technological advancement only after it has entered the mainstream. This happens because businesses need a new technology to be reliable before they can adopt it. Taking a risk is generally not feasible for businesses.
However, youngsters live on the edge of new technological developments. They know exactly which new apps, websites, software programmes, and technologies are about to become big. They also remain very current on what is trending locally and globally. This knowledge can be very useful. If used in the right way, this know-how of what’s new can help a business gain an edge over its competitors.
Internship Programme Benefit #5: Starting New Laterally Relevant Projects
Most managers will dither from introducing interns to already running projects and teams. Because interns are untrained and raw, their introduction to already functioning teams and projects can derail the progress. This is, in fact, one of the reasons why so many businesses shy away from installing internship programmes.
However, there is a way around this little conundrum. Starting new products with interns is one of the easiest ways of seeing what they’re made of and how committed they are to their respective careers. The composition of the team can be anything depending upon the requirement of the specific project. This team could be led by a seasoned professional who will also be tasked with not only guiding the interns but also evaluating them.
This new project doesn’t even have to be a key component of your operations. Instead, you can make it something laterally relevant. In many scenarios, these alternate projects can end up being as profitable as the business’s core income streams.
Internship Programme Benefit #6: Free Marketing through Brand Advocates
There are two additional or supplemental benefits of instituting an internship programme in your organisation too. The first of these combines well with your existing marketing campaign. When interns join your organisation and are successful in their daily routines, they share this success with their friends and families. Essentially, these interns become brand advocates for your business.
This is a form of free and unintended marketing that seasoned marketing strategists look for. Brand advocates are so desirable in the world of marketing because it creates word of mouth marketing. People find word of mouth endorsements far more reliable and trustworthy because they realise that no one has paid for it and that it is completely organic.