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More than fetching the coffee: the benefits of taking on an intern

By Fiona Shaw
May 18 2017

Posted in Blog
Summer of Tech intern panelists at the Summer of Biz launch

Summer of Tech intern panelists at the Summer of Biz launch

There are tons of reasons to take on an intern. Interns bring new ideas, provide valuable help on a variety of tasks, and help protect the future of your business. What’s more, investing in an intern increases your productivity and the reputation of your industry. Not convinced? Read on to find out just six of the many reasons why taking on an intern can benefit your business.

Succession planning. Sadly, no one stays with your business forever. Interns give you a new crowd of employees to train up who can then move through the ranks in your company, giving you a talented pool of people to draw from when staff leave or retire.

Interns learn your company from the ground up and as a result can provide well thought out insights and help in all areas. Learning from the ground up also instills a real passion for a particular industry or business. You know your employees want to be with your company, because they know everything at each level.

You’ll also help your industry as whole by constantly bringing in and growing new talent. Talented, well-trained staff improve the perception of the industry as a whole and the quality of work across the board. Seeing those you trained succeed can also be a source of pride.

An increase in productivity. These statistics come from the apprenticeship world, but apprenticeships aren’t too different to internships. According to research by the Building and Construction ITO, a carpentry firm that invests in industry training and apprenticeships will:

Sounds good, right? Research by the Hair and Beauty ITO showed 2/3 businesses who took on an apprentice showed a return on investment within 12 months – perhaps a good incentive to keep that intern around a little longer?

You free up your senior staff. It’s not to say that work isn’t valuable, but there are a lot of operational tasks your senior staff are currently doing that an intern could easily take on. Think daily posting to social media, for example. This is an important task, and a fun one for an intern too, but it does take up a lot of time. But if you have a junior staff member to perform this task, your senior staff are free to, just as an example, fully review and set the social media strategy for your company, or grow your social media presence by researching new channels. Daily posting to social media is also a great way for your intern to learn a lot about your business, including your brand voice, your target markets, and how your stakeholders respond to you.

Try before you buy. When else are you going to get the chance to meet top graduates and see how they perform in your business before you even hire them? Taking on an intern gives you the chance to trial a new employee, test out their skills and see how they fit in, without offering them a permanent contract. If they meet your standards, you’ll get first go at offering them a job in the future.

You know the level of skill in your business. If you bring someone in at the intern level and start training them from day one, you know exactly what they can do and where their strengths lie. Because you’ve laid that groundwork while they were still a intern, they can go straight into more advanced tasks if you decide to take them on as an employee, without the initial period of uncertainty you can go through with regular employees when they first start.

They bring in new ideas. New staff always come with new ideas, and young interns are usually up with the latest trends. They’re connected to the latest ideas online, and they’ve got access to the latest research at university.

They might not know the basics of your business, but teaching someone else helps refresh your skills and helps you review the basics too. Going back to basics can be just the solution you need sometimes.

Those are just six of the many reasons to take on an intern. Interns bring fresh ideas, increase business productivity, and help you make your industry a more highly-skilled place to work. And yes, they can probably make a good cup of coffee, but they’ll also add a lot of value beyond this.
Want to know more? Come along to our Summer of Biz employer launch on May 22 (Contact us to RSVP) or visit https://summerofbiz.co.nz/employers/internships/ to find out more.

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