Innovate With An Intern

You want to grow your business, but in a time of uncertainty, taking on new staff can seem impossible. Have you considered that an intern could be a cost-effective way to grow and diversify your organisation?

Despite the high level of ambiguity in the current business climate, innovation is necessary to survive and thrive. Without dedicating time and manpower, how can you achieve this? Hiring an intern could offer the solution.

Benefits To Your Business

An intern may bring a new perspective. While people within the business may be too close to an issue, an intern could bring a ‘fresh pair of eyes’. An intern is also likely to have access to the latest technology and research through their university course. 

One concern may be that hiring an intern means spending money. An intern does not have to be costly, as financial support is available to assist with their wages.  Another concern may be the worry of having to hold someone’s hand, which is not ideal if you’re trying to save time – but you will not have to supervise the intern personally.

A key benefit of taking on an intern, is using the opportunity to develop your employees’ leadership and management skills.  It also enables you to scrutinise whether someone is the correct fit for your business, before giving them a permanent contract.  The intern will be keen to impress, as they will want to receive a positive reference at the end of the process, or to be offered a longer-term position. 

Having an extra pair of hands could also result in a reduction in overall employee workload – in turn supporting the mental health and wellbeing of your staff. 

A common complaint from business leaders is that those entering the workforce are not equipped with the necessary skills for their workplace.  By taking on an intern, you will have the opportunity to shape the future of your company.  Closing the skills gap for those who are entering your industry will not only benefit you, but the sector as a whole.

Advertising your internship opportunities within a university will raise the visibility of your company, both with those soon to be entering the workforce, and also with academics who can make recommendations of good-quality employers.  This will widen the talent pool that you can appoint from, enabling you to be far more selective about who will be the right fit for your organisation.

Planning Is Key

Choosing the right project for an intern to work on is essential. The last thing that you or a member of your team need, is to micro-manage every step the intern makes. That is why it is important to be clear about the project from the get-go, and to make sure that the application process for the internship is as thorough as possible. This will help you find the correct intern for your business.

Internships can be designed in all shapes and sizes, and one-size most definitely does not fit all! It is worth bearing in mind that allowing for a longer placement within your business will give the intern more time to achieve goals that add substance. Support from the university is available to help you design the project, and to find the right intern.

In the current climate, it is likely that an intern will be working remotely.  Establishing the parameters of the project that they will be working on is therefore crucial in their orientation. Setting up boundaries and establishing a sense of independence from the outset will ensure that the student feels confident enough to work on the project. Also, including ‘check-in points’ so that the student feels supported, will prove pivotal to optimising their efforts and achieving your aims.

Any business leader wanting to innovate should consider hiring an intern. It could be a cost-effective way to expand your business.

Thinking of innovating your business with an intern?
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Written By: University Of Plymouth

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