There’s good news for the small business economy: The market is on the rise. With more customer demand, however, often comes the need for additional help with everything from fulfilling customer needs to expanding your marketing efforts. As a business owner, you want access to the latest talent without breaking the bank. Interns can help you get more done, build your pipeline for future employees and give back to the next generation along the way. Here’s how to decide if interns are the right hires for you.
Energetic and Eager to Learn
A clear benefit of working with interns is that they’re often energetic and eager to learn. Working with you is a chance to expand their skills and gain experience to grow their careers. As a result, many employers find that interns are an enthusiastic addition to the team. Their spirit and desire to learn can be funneled into completing tasks, launching new initiatives and experimenting with ways to grow your business.
New Ideas and the Latest Skills
Often, interns are still in academic programs or have recently graduated. They’ve often learned the latest software programs and can navigate social media platforms with ease. They also bring a different perspective and understand how to service millennial and Gen Z customers in a hands-on way. As a business owner, access to fresh talent with the latest skills can help you develop innovative ideas and implement customer initiatives you wouldn’t have otherwise considered.
Make Sure You’re Prepared for an Intern
Today’s best interns expect to get real professional experience in their field. That means the chance to interact with colleagues and work on real projects is crucial, in addition to administrative tasks and errands. Make sure you’re envisioning a position that will help them grow. In addition, an employee should be available to oversee the intern’s work, provide training and answer questions. Finally, an intern should be compensated in terms of hourly wages, college credits or some combination thereof. Be sure your plans for compensating interns align with federal, state and local requirements.
Training and Oversight
As a business owner, getting the most out of an intern requires oversight and training. Be prepared to clearly define their role and provide guidance along the way. In many cases, an intern will require more management than a more experienced employee. Evaluate the trade-offs in time and productivity to ensure that the ROI of the internship is aligned with your business goals. If properly onboarded, interns will typically become increasingly self-sufficient and generate significant value.
You Get What You Pay For
It’s important to make sure that what you really need is an intern — a resource with some knowledge who is eager to learn and get things done, but may require a lot of supervision. If you’re seeking help exclusively with administrative work, an experienced administrative professional might be a better investment. When you’re dealing with a limited budget but need specialized help, a contractor might be the right choice. However, if you’re seeking an engaged temporary employee who could turn into a long-term valued asset, an intern is the right choice.
In a thriving small business economy, acquiring top talent is critical. Interns are an affordable way to add more talent to your team while keeping costs down. Make sure that you weigh the pros and the cons first, however, before you determine whether an intern fits with your long-term business needs.
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