Recruiting & Retention
Conducting a Successful Internship Program
in Greater St. Cloud
Internships are rapidly-growing programs within many modern companies – whether large or small. Today’s college student is recommended to take on at least one internship before they graduate in order to gain an advantage over the competition and take on some real-world experience before entering the job market. Internship programs have likewise improved from cliche office assistant positions of the past. There are a few things you can do to run a successful internship program within your company.
Ensure That All Parties Benefit From An Internship
Internships are not just an opportunity for your company to gain a free assistant or coffee gopher for a few months. Both your company and the intern should benefit from a successful internship program. After all, people enter into an internship with the expectation of gaining real-world experience.
An important factor to keep in mind is that different students in different majors have vastly different talents – even students in the same major have different talents. For example, if you are looking for a Mass Communications major to help out with design and advertising, it would be unrealistic to expect that person to cover all areas – videographer, designer, writer, etc. Interns are both providing services to and learning from your company during an internship.
Check out this article from WJON here, detailing the benefits of internships and why employers should consider them. The article highlights how internships help expose students to opportunities right here in the Greater St. Cloud area.
Structure is Important
Plan your company’s internship strategy ahead of time. It is important to give the interns a detailed plan of the tasks they will be expected to complete in the very beginning of an internship. Make sure they are comfortable in one area of instruction before moving on to something new. Interns and new recruits will be much more efficient and will learn faster if they understand what they are doing and what they are looking for in their roles.
Adjustments are usually needed when an internship program is first starting out. Ask the interns about their experience at the end of their program and give them the opportunity to answer honestly regarding areas of success and needed improvement. Ask them especially about the workload – how well they felt they completed tasks, whether or not they felt the workload was too large, or if they felt they could have taken on more duties.
Compensation and Credits
There are two main ways in which an intern is compensated: through money or experience.
Whichever your company chooses, the internship program should focus on education.
In most cases, it is possible to work with professors and university departments so that an internship can replace a class or a certain number of credits for the student. This is where a strong relationship with university personnel becomes especially important.
Offering your interns a stipend is another option. The amount can depend on the workload and possibility of credits and often vary from company to company. Whatever you company’s dollar amount, be sure to give your interns real-life experiences they can take with them. Oftentimes, it really is the most important compensation to a student.
Students who are involved to have a good time during their internship tend to be the most successful. If a student finds they get what they are looking for from an internship, they’ll tell their friends and your company’s program will grow organically. In the end, an internship program should be about the intern, not the company.
It all takes time. Internship programs are certainly not a quick way to earn some cheap labor for your company. Successful programs are run by companies that know they need to (and are will to) put in some hard work.