There’s no doubt that internships can be hugely valuable both for the employer and employee. But that doesn’t mean your business is really ready to take on an intern right now. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of internships for businesses.
The 3 Pros and Cons of Hiring an Intern
Pro: Eager To Impress
One of the most valuable assets that an intern can bring to any business is their enthusiasm. Someone who is working as an intern is going to be doing everything in their power to earn themselves a full-time job by the end. Most interns are young and fresh out of school or post-secondary training, which means that they have a wide variety of transferable skills that you can put to good use.
Additionally, if you do choose to hire them, they will continue with that energetic work ethic as a part of your business. This is something that you will undoubtedly want from all of your team members, and having a hardworking intern to set the pace can be a great way to encourage it.
Con: You’re Training Someone Full-Time
An internship is a two-way process. While the business will benefit from the skills and working hours put in by the intern, you also need to provide knowledge, training, and guidance to someone on a full-time basis.
If an intern requires specific training, this can take time away from staff members as the intern learns their responsibilities. To get around this and make the most of an intern’s time, it can be a good idea to make use of a shift planner to ensure that the intern doesn’t take away too much time from one specific staff member. An internship usually works out to benefit both the business and the intern, but you should remember that they may not be ready to hit the ground running.
Pro: New Ideas
Another benefit of having an intern in your business is the fresh perspective that they bring. Interns don’t come from your industry and they don’t have experience of the way things work yet. Originally, you might expect inexperience, and perhaps naivety. However, it’s often helpful for someone from the outside to come with new ideas that could potentially be incorporated into the way you work.
In addition, interns are sometimes a different demographic than many of your other employees. So not only are they bringing a different working perspective, they may also be able to provide business insight that yours may be missing.
Con: You Get What You Pay For
Some businesses assume that hiring an intern is a great way to get cheap (or free) work. Aside from the fact that this is the wrong attitude to take on with interns, it’s worth pointing out that things will not necessarily work out like this (and if you were thinking of taking on an unpaid intern, be aware that this is against the law under some circumstances).
When you take on an intern, it’s not the same thing as employing a member of staff. They will not be able to contribute to the business in a consistent way that an experienced full-time employee will. Since they lack this experience, you may need to account for potential misunderstandings or early mistakes in their work. It’s all a part of their learning process.
Pro: Develop a Loyal Employee
As a business owner, there is nothing worse than bringing someone to the team and providing them with expert training and experience only to have them take a job at one of your competitors after six months. Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens all the time. But if you take on an intern and invest your time in them, they are more likely to reward you with their loyalty – sticking around with your business for longer even if they have other opportunities.
Con: Is an Intern Really What You Need?
This one is personal to your business. Only you will know the answer as to whether an intern is what your company needs right now. While taking on interns has serious benefits, hiring an experienced staff member may benefit you more right now.
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