Internships are more than a way for young people entering the workforce to gain valuable experience. Businesses that offer tech internships benefit from these arrangements at least as much as the interns. After all, there is a reason that top players in the tech industry, like Google and Apple, maintain active tech internship programs. The fresh-faced up-and-coming generation can help tech companies stay up-to-date with novel outlooks and ideas.
Of course, internships can also serve to attract and test talented individuals you might want to hire. The internship can serve as a trial period where your company gets to know a potential future employee without much risk.
If you’re still on the fence about whether to start seeking interns, here are several reasons to begin accepting resumes.
1. Tech Internships Can Serve as a Trial Period
Getting to know how a person works in a company and how their personality meshes with other employees takes time. Unfortunately, the interview process rarely allows anyone to make more than a first impression of a potential hire — this is also when someone might be either on their best behavior or too nervous to show their true self.
Hiring a tech intern means that current employees will have an opportunity to see how they work and fit into the company culture. If you are not happy with the intern's work, ending the relationship is far less complicated than if you hired that person as a full-time employee. Summer tech internships ensure that the program has a fixed end date. Once the internship is over, the company can decide whether the intern might be a good person to bring in as an employee at some point in the future. Your company should start thinking now about starting a tech internship for the summer of 2021.
2. New Ideas and Perspectives
As a tech company, the goal is to keep moving forward. Interns can provide new ideas and fresh takes on your business's endeavors, policies, and practices. For this to work, the company and employees must encourage the intern to participate and speak up when they have thoughts. An open discourse could bring up ideas that you have not previously considered.
Students and recent graduates in tech-related fields will often learn the most recent updates in those areas. You and your company can benefit from having an intern trained in technology with which you and your employees are not yet familiar. Businesses that use social media to connect to clients will also find that many young people are experts on these platforms. Your intern might teach you a thing or two about how to maximize your return from campaigns on sites such as Facebook and Instagram.
Given the opportunity to flourish and feel confident in their surroundings, an intern can prove that the educational benefits from internships are a two-way street. Employees can help foster an environment where tech interns are included and encouraged to contribute.
3. Employees Benefit from Mentoring
Employees often enjoy mentoring younger workers. Asking an employee to act as a mentor is a compliment for that person that can improve their work experience. The relationships that mentors and mentees develop can be an asset. The relationships can lead to better workplace satisfaction and loyalty at the company.
Younger employees can develop vital leadership skills and confidence by serving as mentors for the interns. In this way, the program can train mentors and help them better their work performance. Supervising an intern is less awkward than taking on the leadership role of other established workers in a company, so internship programs are a perfect opportunity for testing leadership capabilities.
4. Happier and Less Stressed Employees
Interns in tech companies can and should take on real and useful projects. The intern is at the company to learn how to work in a tech company, not to figure out the espresso machine. Providing interns with useful projects will help them learn from their experience and create a positive view of your company. If they do a good job, you may want to ensure that they enjoy their time interning and want to continue as full-time employees.
The benefits will also extend to other employees who can shift some tasks to the intern. If your employees are under stress and busy, proper use of the intern's time can alleviate some of that pressure. This dynamic can create a healthier workplace environment for everyone.
5. Grow Talent Acquisition Funnel
A talent acquisition funnel allows you to strategically focus on attracting, engaging, hiring, and retaining talent for your company. Having a wider pool of candidates to choose from can increase the likelihood that you will not rush the hiring process. Instead, you will hire someone who is a good fit for your team on every level.
By developing a tech internship program, companies can nurture prospective talent at all stages of the funnel: Awareness, Education, Consideration, and Decision-Making. Taking a proactive approach will widen your hiring pool, especially for highly competitive skills.
Developing a Successful Tech Internship Program
Choosing to start an internship program is an excellent move for a tech company. However, the program is only an asset if you take the time to make it work. Employees and the intern should be clear on what the intern will be doing. If some employees think that the intern is there to fetch coffee, the intern may feel that the company does not respect them. Also, the intern might be in school while carrying out their work at the business. Expectations that the intern stay late to help a project meet deadlines might put a strain on that intern's studies.
The intern should also stay busy. If the intern shows up each day and has to search the office to find any tasks, just to end up putting stamps on envelopes, then neither the company nor the intern is getting the program's full benefits. Employees can create a list of projects for the intern, including ones that they can work on when they do not have more time-sensitive work to complete. If the intern ends up bored and on their phone, the internship program is not working.
Interns will also fare better in environments where the company invites them to participate in social gatherings, encourages them to ask questions, and expresses gratitude for their work. If the intern is not receiving pay, they should be getting valuable experience from the position, and the employees who benefit from their work should show appreciation.
The Paid Intern Debate and Questions of Fairness
Businesses seeking the top talent might want to pay their interns. Companies like Google might search for tech interns out of a pool of the best students at the most exclusive universities. Top companies may want to offer incentives to help get the right candidates. However, it is possible to hire interns who do not receive financial compensation for their work. Given the possibility that an employer could abuse this arrangement, there are laws in place that are designed to protect unpaid interns.
Firstly, the intern has to understand that there is no payment for the internship work. Unpaid interns should receive training that is educational and similar to that which a school would provide. Offering college credit can help with compliance. The internship duration should be limited and not extend past the point when it is offering real educational benefits to the intern. The Department of Labor also wants to ensure that the intern is not replacing employees but rather complementing their work.
Although it might seem strange, there should never be a job guarantee at the end of the internship. This is because the Department of Labor will view such an internship as an orientation, for which employers must pay employees.
Employers may even want to consider whether not paying an intern is worthwhile. Paid interns may be more enthusiastic about performing their tasks, and that alone may justify paying interns. The average pay for college-educated interns is around eighteen dollars an hour. There are also ethical considerations. For instance, unpaid internships can favor financially advantaged students. The student who had to work at a burger shop to make ends meet might not compete with people who could afford to take an unpaid position.
For further guidance on the paid intern debate, it is strongly encouraged to review Internship Programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Internship Benefits for a Business
When it comes to tech internship programs, the company seeking interns should think about exactly what they hope to achieve by hiring an intern. The way that the business decides to organize that internship will depend heavily on the end goals.
Interns offer various benefits to companies, but it is up to the business to create an environment in which those interns will thrive. With the start of the new year, it is time to think about 2021 tech internship programs for your business.
Learn more about hiring top tech interns. Global Internships by Intrax can help your business create a sustaining tech internship program.