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Is an Intern Program Worth Your Time?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could add some new talent to your company without paying through the nose to get them onboard? Wouldn’t it be great if they had a shiny new college degree and were super eager to get their foot in the door along with some much-needed experience? Wouldn’t the icing on the cake be if you could take that new person and train them into the employee HR dreams are made of?

Well, turns out you can – if you’re willing to host an internship program. A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) can help you lay out the facts and see if it’s something that could work for your business.

As our intro would suggest, one of the biggest benefits of creating an internship program is creating a pipeline of new talent into your company. More than 67 percent of interns were given a job offer stemming from their internships and just over three-quarters accepted them, according to 2017 statistics from internship.com. At the one-year mark, the retention rate for these interns turned employees was 65.5 percent, versus 46.2 percent for those without internship experience. In effect, what you’re establishing when you launch such a program is a steady pipeline of fresh talent for your company.

A second key aspect of the internship program is the prospect of “try before you buy.” With an internship program, you get to try out an employee for a summer – or even just a semester – and if they aren’t a good fit for your company, you simply cut them loose. No harm, no foul.

An additional benefit of this temporary workforce is that you can parse them out to areas of your business that need an extra set of hands or that are temporarily overwhelmed ramping up for a new product launch or other organizational change.

Another perk? This workforce is young, and technology is their love language, so if said project involves making your company more tech-savvy or social media friendly, this is just the cohort to do it!

If the budget in your office is tight, an internship program could be right for you. While most require you to pay them for their time, you would still be paying them significantly less than your full-time staff, plus you don’t have to offer them benefits, vacation time, or other paid time off, making them, even more, cost-effective than your run of the mill employee. Further, if you hire a veteran or sign up to host an internship program that is open to those with disabilities, you may be eligible for some tax credits that can also help offset the cost of having interns on board.

But the perks don’t just stop there – having interns on board provides your employees who have never had experience leading projects or managing other people the opportunity to do just that. This, in turn, can help you provide these promising employees the opportunity for stretch roles, while also grooming them to become the next generation of managers in your company.

When it comes to identifying cons in this scenario, most focus on the fact that starting up an internship program of your own is quite an undertaking. There are of course some upfront costs, and it’s certainly a time commitment getting the program off the ground. However, the greatest con may just be the strain on resources – from teaching them about your company to the culture to the job itself, to even how to behave in the workplace, there’s simply no denying that an internship program is a great deal of work. However, only you can decide whether these trade-offs are worth it for your business.

The human resource experts at a PEO can help even the most seasoned human resource professional develop a meaningful, enriching intern program that benefits your employees and interns alike.

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