The Value and Benefits of Internship Programs

It’s taken awhile, but across the country businesses are jumping on the internship program bandwagon! Increasingly, companies see significant value in taking on talented and enthusiastic interns—and reaping the benefits in terms of greater productivity and a pipeline of prospective new employees down the road.

Here at Baillie Lumber, we offer opportunities for college students to gain experience in the hardwood lumber industry through our Sawmill/Yard Internships, as well as with sales and marketing in our Lumber Trader Internship program. Our focus is not on delegating repetitive and relatively meaningless tasks to interns, but on emphasizing education and participation, so all parties get the most out of the Baillie internship program experience.  DSC6046 Medium

Thinking about starting up an internship program in your company? A few benefits include: 

A valuable recruitment tool 

College students are, in most cases, only a few years away from entering the full-time job market. Considering how tight that market is these days, offering internships presents a valuable opportunity to identify and groom individuals for potential future employment. 

As Motley Fool notes, a job applicant “can fake their personality during an interview, but that’s much harder to do during an internship.” With the internship approach, “you get to know the worker, and the worker gets a chance to get to know you”—leading to a “strong partnership down the road.” 

The relationships you build with interns today could lead to rewarding employment opportunities later on. 

A chance to serve as a mentor 

We’ve written before on the positive results of having a mentorship program within your organization. These include bridging gaps of knowledge and culture between different generations, providing guidance to future leaders, and helping individuals develop the most relevant leadership skills for your business.  

Guiding a young person to find his or her place in the business world can be enormously fulfilling and promote interest in your brand among that intern’s friends and colleagues. Serving as a mentor also contributes significantly to your company becoming an “employer of choice” in today’s job market. 

A source of fresh ideas 

Your internship program could draw the interest of young men and women with new ideas about how to succeed in the business world. They may have a fresh, creative slant on a variety of matters of importance to your busines. Whatever the case, it’s often worthwhile to sit down and talk with interns who have been with your company for a while. They may have fresh insights, or even ideas about how to address operational hurdles that have stymied others within your organization. 

With these and other benefits in mind, here are tips on retaining interns who have demonstrated value to your company: 

· Get to know more about them—their interests, career goals, etc.

· Assign meaningful work to do, such as small projects they can take on by themselves.

· Offer feedback, and plenty of it! Interns want to do something significant with their time, and your constructive feedback will energize them in their contributions.

· Make them feel like part of the team. Invite interns to workplace events as well as staff meetings. The more involved they feel, the more likely they are to contribute. 

Do you have interns working for your company right now? Take the opportunity to meet with them and express your gratitude for their time and efforts. Learn more about what motivates them and invite them to offer a perspective on what’s most appealing about your workplace, and where improvements might boost morale and productivity throughout the organization.

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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