Internship programmes are smart recruiting methods for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Interns are often self-motivated, thus contributing to increased workplace productivity. They are a great asset in achieving immediate objectives and can be trained to become future employees with exactly the kind of skill sets required by your company for a particular job. In fact, it is quite common for promising interns to become full-time staff members upon graduation.
Despite these advantages, companies often do not have interns joining them regularly, largely because they do not have proper internship programmes in place. Here are a few easy steps that an SMB can follow to set up an internship programme.
- Setting up an internship programme
Internship programmes have to be mutually beneficial – these young adults should not only get more from their placement, the company’s investment should also pay off. Firms should create a list of tasks and responsibilities, as well as structure a training programme, orientation and materials, explaining what’s expected of them and where to find the resources to complete the job.
When setting up an internship programme, appoint a project lead to ensure consistency and fluidity in the process. Mentorship is another important factor that should not be forgotten, as it is an element actively sought after by interns.
Find out whether an applicant is seeking an internship due to personal motivation or as a means of completing university credits. This will play a role in how you design your internship programme and determine what the intern should gain from the work experience.
Once selected, it is essential to inform interns about their daily responsibilities and the short- and long-term projects they will be working on. It is also necessary to introduce them to their supervisor and brief them about evaluation procedures, policies and expectations.
- Recruiting suitable candidates
Getting the right people for the internship is as important as setting your objectives. If your internship programme is suited for college students and fresh graduates, recruitment fairs at colleges and universities might be the best place to find them. This also gives you the chance to meet several potential applicants at the same time, making it easier to hunt for good talent.
Recruitment websites and job boards play an important role in the recruitment process too. Spend some time to draft a description that provides all the necessary information about the job duties, but also include the takeaways that a potential intern can expect from the programme. This will attract those who are seeking the same desired outcomes.
- Think through compensation
While designing an intern programme, take into consideration compensation and its effects on your company’s budget. Interns typically cost less than full-time employees, but that does not mean you can get away with offering very low stipends. Firstly, this might not attract quality candidates. Secondly, it could demotivate those who do accept and find that the workload is highly disproportionate to the salary.
To avoid this, conduct due research to understand the industry standards for the type of work you expect your intern to do and decide on the pay accordingly.
Interns can inject fresh ideas in an SMB, but a well-rounded and mutually beneficial internship programme requires proper planning on the part of the company.