Infuse New Ideas + Energy into Your Workplace with an Internship Program
Far too many businesses see interns as a solution to a growing to-do list — an easy, inexpensive way to get a few things off their plate. But the modern-day intern can bring a wide range of benefits to the table. And if your company has a truly mutually beneficial internship program, your interns can serve as a valuable pipeline of talent for your organization.
From fresh perspectives and a contagious zest for work to experience with the latest technology and trends, your interns can infuse new ideas and energy into your workplace.
Interns Give a Fresh Perspective
Emerging professionals bring new insights and challenge the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mindset. They have a unique outside perspective and are educated on the latest business trends, which often makes them good at questioning processes and identifying a better way of doing things that your team may have overlooked. But don’t just hope your intern speaks up, be sure to include them in department meetings and encourage them to participate and ask questions.
But that’s not the only advantageous perspective they can offer. If your organization is looking to target college students or emerging professionals, interns make great focus groups. For example, you could run a new product design or video advertising campaign by them to see if it resonates with their demographic.
Interns Possess a Contagious Zest for Work
Interns have spent the last several years preparing for entry into the “real world,” and they’re ready to make their mark! More importantly, this energy and enthusiasm can be contagious — inspiring those around them to look at the workplace with a new sense of purpose. Higher morale and motivated employees lead to more innovation and better productivity.
This passion also tends to make interns eager and fast learners. And since they’re typically new to the professional scene, you can educate them on your industry through an impactful onboarding experience that not only prepares them but excites them.
Interns Are “In the Know” With Technology and Trends
College students are learning the basics of your industry alongside the latest, most innovative techniques in your field. They have always had technology at their fingertips and are often naturally good at learning how to use new tools and applications.
Additionally, they can offer insights on technology and data that your team hasn’t even considered yet. Plus, being an early adopter of certain technologies can save you money in the long-run and give you an edge over your competition. Similarly, they are often up-to-date on all the latest social trends, making them a great resource for content creation and social strategies, especially when it comes to new platforms.
The Need for Mutually Beneficial Programs
Now that I’ve told you all the great ways interns can help you, I need you to know that it’s not all about you. An internship program isn’t something to venture into lightly — you need a sound strategy in place. In order to have a successful internship program that creates a valuable pipeline of talent, you need to establish clear goals for your interns, provide mentorship and training and give them meaningful work that helps them hone their professional skills.
Luckily, my workplace, EMC Insurance Companies, shares this mindset and understands the importance of a strong internship program. When it became clear COVID-19 was staying for the summer of 2020, many companies pulled back or eliminated their internship programs. But EMC made it a priority and adapted our program, Experience EMC, which includes networking functions, volunteer opportunities, training sessions and professional workshops, to work within a virtual setting.
At the end of the day, your interns are truly part of your team, and your program should benefit them as much as it benefits you. A mutually beneficial program will result in both the emerging professional and your organization learning something new.
Job opportunities and career resources are abundant in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Whether you're looking to find an internship, a job, develop professionally or grow as a student, we have the resources to help you thrive.
Teresa Miller currently serves as vice president - team member lifecycle for EMC Insurance Companies. Her passion for talent recruitment and retention has driven her professional life and resulted in more than 30 years of experience in human resources. Teresa is also a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP).