Hiring Interns : How Interns Allow You to Grow Your Business.
Gone are the days where interns are there to make cups of tea and do the office admin. Students are no longer accepting experience as payment and rightly so, as they have the ability, enthusiasm and motivation to become integrated, valued members of the team. However, many are struggling to get that opportunity, so with 2.5 million students in the UK, here is why you should be looking at hiring interns and accessing this untapped workforce.
Benefits of hiring an Intern
Fresh perspective can strengthen your company strategies
Drawing a new perspective from those outside of your day-to-day operations can be surprisingly inspiring, opening up an opportunity for new viewpoints on your business, strategies and plans. Taking the time to promote your organisation’s mission and goals, further develop training programs, and map out leadership tasks is healthy for your current staff and company culture.
Bringing in a new skillset that you’re missing
With a huge array of degrees in the UK, you are able to find interns offering unique skills that your company may be missing within your existing team. Interns are skilled, highly motivated individuals who can help to fill skill gaps, strengthen your team and improve productivity. Interns have the fresh perspective needed to elevate your project and take it to the next level; they just need the opportunity to show it.
Decreasing workloads of full-time staff
A problem shared is a problem halved, so by bringing in a new skill set, it can decrease overstretched workloads, allowing you to focus on your strengths and growing the business. Additionally, an intern can provide an extra set of hands to help to achieve shared goals. Offering an intern real, meaningful work not only grants them with something impressive to showcase within their CV but it can also help your organisation run smoother and be more accomplished.
It is no secret that many students have limited experience within a work environment, so they may need slightly more guidance on processes and encouragement to confidently interact with the wider team. However, this is a great opportunity for your current employees to become better managers and develop their leadership skills by teaching and mentoring the interns in your workplace. Mentoring is a great opportunity to mould your company culture, transfer knowledge and build team unity.
Try before you buy
According to MarkInStyle, 50% of internships result in full-time job offers, meaning by hiring an intern you are not only supporting early talent but potentially investing in your companies future leaders. Hiring an intern is the perfect way to see how much potential a student or recent graduate has as you are able to gain insight into their skills and work-ethic first-hand. This gives you the opportunity to test employees before hiring them as full-time staff, allowing you to determine whether or not the individual would be a good fit in your business. In the long run, it is a more cost effective way of completing projects and scaling your team compared to full time employee hires.
Why Businesses should hire an Intern
At some point in everyone’s careers, someone has taken a chance on them and now you are in a position to take a chance, support early talent and inspire the future leaders. Through hiring an intern, it shouldn’t be underestimated the impact you are having on a student at the start of their career. It presents them with an opportunity to get their foot in the door, allowing them to implement their skills gained at university within a professional workplace. Early experience can help develop key hard and soft skills whilst providing the student with a valuable insight into the industry requirements.
With 2.5 million students in the UK, 800,000 of which graduate each year; students are become increasingly aware of the employment struggles post-university with 17% of students seeking work experience opportunities whilst studying (theboar.org). However, the job market is tough and in the current climate, young people in particular have been badly hit by the pandemic, with the number of under-25s on company payrolls falling by 289,000 in the past year (BBC). Additionally, the BBC’s study also found that 13.3% of 16-24 year olds are currently unemployed, hence by hiring a student intern; you are helping a struggling generation.
Why you should hire a student
Students are entering the professional environment with a clean perspective, not clouded by past experiences, or influenced by previous company cultures and processes. They are wise to the importance of gaining work experience, motivated by personal development and value the opportunity to be able to show their skillset and put their academic knowledge into practice.
Students have already been gathering and developing a large number of transferable skills throughout their degree. They can combine different activities and keep a healthy work-life balance, efficiently managing multiple projects and deadlines whilst working to maintain a high standard of work.
With universities being a young person’s first time away from home, they have had to quickly find their independence, develop their social skills, and regularly overcome challenges with assignments, University workload and general life such as budgeting and paying bills. Collectively building the foundations for the social interaction, problem solving and communication skills required to succeed in the workplace.
There is a misconception that students are under skilled and underqualified which is not the case, however, it is important to remember that they may require some extra guidance due to a lack of real-world industry knowledge. However, in the fast-paced, continually evolving digital climate, they may possess a natural understanding and knowledge on areas that may not come naturally to your team.
So treat it as a learning experience for both the intern and your company – it’s important to trust your interns with projects and responsibilities but keep in mind that they are learning and it’s your responsibility to guide them.
Why you should pay an intern.
Securing an internship in a fantastic opportunity and should definitely be something to get excited about, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that interns must accept being paid nothing for their efforts and contribution.
“If you can’t afford to pay your workers, you don’t deserve their work.”
– Dan Price – CEO Gravity Payments
The Cibyl Graduate Survey of 2020 revealed that 43% of students who undertook an internship were not paid for it. So although you are providing a young professional a great opportunity, have you considered the larger impact you are having on that student?
Unpaid internships can put a lot of stress and financial pressures on students. With UK student living costs averaging £795pm (national student money survey) raising to over £1,000 in London (Sutton Trust), and maintenance loans often not enough to cover these expenses, students are taking up additional jobs to fill the finical gap. A recent survey by Student Beans revealed 36% of surveyed students had one part time job, 21% had two jobs whilst studying to make ends meet and 25% of respondents considered dropping out of university due to financial stress.
“University is meant to be a time to learn, make friends and have fun, not to be bogged down by financial concerns”.
– Michael Eder – Student Beans Founder
Taking this into account, if a student cannot be compensated for their work, it limits the student’s ability to undertake the position as they may struggle to continue with or even take on an internship in the first place. It also limits the potential candidates that you may receive as you will be eliminating those who have to prioritise finical income over an unpaid work experience opportunity.
How does this impact your business?
Additionally, unpaid internships can have a negative effect on your business production, company morale and development. Not paying a student for their work can make them feel under-appreciated and can decrease their self-esteem, which could end up having a detrimental effect on their productivity within your workplace. By not paying a student for their work sends the message that you do not value what they have to offer or the education they have received.
Alternatively, paying a student an appropriate living wage for their efforts increases employee recognition, in turn, promoting motivation and overall employee satisfaction. Being known as a company offering a fair opportunity has the potential to boost your company’s reputation and can attract the best candidates for any future roles.
To summaries, by providing a meaningful paid internships you are creating an opportunity for a student to continue their studies, gain vital work experience and still enjoy their university experience which is a considerable milestone in a young person’s life and important for personal development. It can increase their self-worth and confidence, whilst also financially supporting their lifestyle and well-being.
Internships not only provides benefits to the individual, but it can also assist you as a business. It’s an affordable way to scale your team, you are contributing to the students’ education and potentially investing in a valuable, future employee… doesn’t that feel amazing?!