Successful Internships for Businesses

Successful Internships for Businesses

As a business owner, who do you identify as having the most to gain from an internship? Does hosting an intern seem like a noble act, but with the potential to cost you in time spent on training? As it turns out, interns have much more to offer than you might think. Here’s how to maximize your investments AND your returns.

Pay it Forward

What do you remember about your first workplace experience? For an intern, the first chance to experience a field they’re passionate about can be extremely exciting, but it also has the potential to intimidate them. Be conscious that many things you take for granted, like simple tasks or workplace appropriateness, may be new information to them. An excellent way to minimize those new-kid-in-class jitters is to have conversations in a casual setting rather than your office (when appropriate). Choosing a less intimidating environment can help ease an intern’s nerves, making it much easier to retain information and make the most of a learning experience.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that the skills and experiences you introduce to an intern can benefit them far beyond your office walls and even on different career paths. While an intern desires to work in your field and specifically in your office, you can introduce broad life skills in addition to teaching career-specific abilities. This could include modeling good multitasking, task prioritization, punctuality, professionalism, and even navigating workplace conflict. When you bring on an intern, recognizing every moment as a learning opportunity enables you to provide an experience that will set them up for success wherever they go.

Reaping the Rewards

Your intern isn’t the only one who will maximize their returns by being eager to learn! Bringing someone new into the office provides a fresh perspective, new ideas, and energy, whether they’re young or simply new to your field. It can be easy to get complacent in processes and systems, and sometimes all it takes is a fresh set of eyes to find opportunities for improvement and innovation. Interns have the ability to “mentor up,” providing you with a valuable chance to learn from their technological know-how, generational perspective, and learning style.

Not only does an excitement to learn spread to others in your workplace, but hosting an intern also maximizes your team’s productivity by providing an extra set of hands to take on some of the tasks that require less professional experience. Delegation makes everyone’s environment more efficient and enjoyable.

Bringing an intern into your office promotes growth for your current employees, and provides the possibility of an expanded workforce in the future. By encouraging your employees to train and delegate tasks to an intern, you can equip them to train future new hires and encourage a work atmosphere of collaboration and peer mentoring. Additionally, when your company is ready to
expand, you have the opportunity to reach out to prior interns who were a good fit for your company. They have baseline experience, decreasing your training time, and you both know how to work together and what to expect. Win-win!

Finally, providing internship opportunities is a great way to give back to your community and industry. We all started somewhere, and, as they say, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Hosting an intern provides a give-and-take connection, opening the door to further exposure and networking opportunities for your business while allowing them to gain valuable experience and referrals. Giving a hand up to hopefuls within your profession is just another way to give back– and that’s never a bad idea.

The Best of Both Worlds

Providing the chance for someone to intern with your business is a no-brainer when tallying up the benefits, but teachability all around is the key. When everyone shows up ready and excited to learn, we all walk away with a wealth of knowledge. What could be better than that?

Any opinions are those of Traci Meakem Richmond, JD, CDFA™, RICP® and not necessarily those of Raymond James.  Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice.  The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete.  Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors.