Why Interns Deserve More Recognition at Work

While the debate over paid-vs-unpaid internship continues to rage on every now and then, many companies are still sceptical about the benefits of hiring interns (with or without stipend offered).

“Free-labor” is a fallacious concept that’s been, unfortunately, ingrained in many corporations that are on a tight budget. The truth is, internship is a two-way street. If you are looking to hire someone to get things done without having to worry about the recruitment cost, that person will also take up your offer just to fulfil their industrial training requirement.

Due to the fact that interns are (mostly) inexperienced, employers tend to assign them with mundane tasks (think errand running) that add zero values to their resumes. Unless you want to jeopardise your company’s values, don’t exploit interns. In order to achieve mutual growth and benefits of an internship program, you must give interns the jobs they deserve.

In today’s business landscape, no employer can afford to ignore an intern’s contribution. Here are four reasons your intern(s) is also an indispensable employee in the company.

Interns are aspiring individuals with a strong desire to learn

If you have attended college before, chances are you were once an intern.

Do you remember the excitement of your first exposure to the corporate world? Do you remember the anxiety when you picked up a customer call for the first time? And do you remember how all of those first experiences fuelled your eagerness to learn new things every day?

Yes, an intern’s lack of experience, which seems to be their shortcoming, is actually the strength that enables them to learn faster. That’s also what brought you here today as well.

Driven by the desire to learn, interns are capable of handling the substantive work that they are taught in college. As long as you ensure a steep learning curve and provide mentorship for your intern, you will see the rapid growth of both parties in a short period of time.  

Interns are equipped with up-to-date knowledge

College textbooks may be the same as they were a decade ago, but learning materials are unlimited with Google’s assistant. It is to say that today’s students are given more opportunities to think (and learn) outside the box. Which is why offering an internship program can help you gain greater insights into the current state of the industry.

Interns, the majority of whom are Gen Y, are also more tech-savvy than their seniors. That is an advantage that you simply can’t ignore because technological understanding is the only way to move forward.

Interns are willing to do more than their peers

Let’s go back to the main objective of internships for students: to gain professional experience before they officially graduate and apply for jobs. While it seems to be an obligation, internships mean more than that.

Many people approach their internship as an actual career. If you noticed, interns never say “no” to any tasks and even offer help to their coworkers. It’s not because they have absolutely no bargaining power in the workplace, although they should be entitled to, it’s because they want to seize any chance to learn and to grow together with the company.

However, don’t ever take your intern for granted, be the mentor who can empower them to achieve greatness.

Interns are your stellar employee-in-the-making

You probably wouldn’t want to go through the hassles of employee onboarding and offboarding processes too often, even for an intern position. As far as operational cost is involved, it is always a good idea to nurture your company’s talents right from the internship program.

As most interns progress from on-the-job experience, they become more proficient when it comes to keeping up with the industry innovations. By coaching them from day one, you can assess your intern’s potential to work as a permanent staff as well as to ensure their cultural fit in your organisation. In fact, the internship makes even better probationary period than a new hire’s probation itself.      

In case you are still in doubt, here are the true success stories of famous people who started as interns.

To decide whether hiring an intern will be beneficial to your organisation, keep these principles in mind:

  • If you need cost-effective recruitment solutions, look for freelancers instead.
  • If you or the person in charge can’t offer the intern essential coaching and mentoring, hire an experienced employee.
  • An internship program should align with your company’s core values. Translation: an intern position should enjoy the same benefits as other employees.

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