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Back in June, we offered our best advice to recent graduates. In this post, we’re looking at the many benefits of an internship program – provided it’s thoughtfully planned and managed. Here are a few recommendations for creating a successful experience, for both your organization and your intern, and why it’s well worth the effort.

Pay your intern as required.

This fact sheet provides general information to help determine whether interns and students working for “for-profit” employers are entitled to minimum wages and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Set goals and learning objectives for your intern.

A common mistake many organizations make is hiring an intern without planning the scope of work they will be taking on, who will be responsible for supervising them, how their time will be structured, and what skills they will gain by joining your organization. As with any project, your internship program should have clear goals, learning objectives, and open communication channels.

Five reasons it’s worth the effort.

If this sounds like a lot of work, it is! Still, there are so many benefits to building an internship program. Here are our top five reasons why you should consider one.

  1. An internship program creates a pipeline of talent that you may want to tap into in the future. It can also amplify your employer brand among your intern’s connections, another potentially fruitful recruiting pool for you.
  2. The arrangement offers both the intern and the organization the chance to evaluate one another to determine if it’s a good match, in terms of skillset, level of maturity, compatibility, employee development and advancement opportunities, company culture, etc. And if the internship does lead to an ongoing position, both parties know what to expect from the arrangement.
  3. You’re offering someone a start in their career, helping them build their skills, work experience, and professional network. An internship can provide exposure to the various departments and roles within an organization – helping the intern envision various potential career paths, and identify which would be well-suited to their strengths and interests.
  4. An intern can bring a fresh perspective to how your business functions. Ideally, your intern has the chance to ask lots of questions, and in the process, may uncover better ways to manage workflows. Many young professionals these days are tech savvy and able to navigate complex software – figuring things out on their own, as necessary.
  5. Having an extra employee to share some of the workload can offer your permanent employees a break. This is especially helpful during the summer months when people tend to plan their vacations.

With the right amount of advance planning and built-in structure for guidance, direction and feedback, an intern can quickly become a highly valued team member, whose learning and professional development is supported and nurtured in the process.

Contact the experts at KMA for additional guidance on developing an internship program, including proper payment of interns under Department of Labor guidelines.