Work is constantly evolving. That means the way we attract talent should also adapt. For many prominent organizations, internships are a key strategy. Their purpose is to recruit and identify future leaders early in their careers. The traditional internship takes place in an office. And the program is usually during the summertime. But, the traditional internship is now transforming. In fact, recent trends have shown that internships are becoming remote, more accessible, and offered year-round. The traditional internship model is ready for change, and there are a multitude of reasons you should consider hosting interns year-round.
It can be difficult for organizations to stay top-of-mind for the intern post-program. But don’t forget that all-star talent is constantly recruited. Your team is already invested in developing your interns. You don’t want to lose that potential to your competitor. Hosting interns throughout the academic year can ensure time and resources are continually dedicated to that early talent. This safeguards their connection with your organization. And you want to keep them engaged. It increases the probability they will join your company. Some of the companies who do a great job at having interns year round and running multiple cohorts include Robinhood and CBS Interactive.
Hosting an internship program year-round presents an exceptional opportunity to continue working with the best interns. Although attracting great talent early is important, retaining that talent is key! Candidates finish summer internship programs and return to school. That can often create a major gap before the company is able to recruit that intern for full-time work. For example, within expert roles in science, some candidates might need to complete their PhD. That means there could be a six-year gap before the intern seeks a full-time opportunity.
By hosting interns year-round, your organization can demonstrate your commitment to embracing innovation and change. Your team has the opportunity to redesign your internship program. It needs fit your company’s needs today. Typical internship program semesters throughout the year include Summer, Fall, Spring, and Winter semesters to reflect the student’s academic calendar. However, that does not mean your organization must design your program accordingly. If you need interns to work on various projects within peak season at your company, that’s a great opportunity to tap into internship talent! There is no “right way” of running an internship program. And it’s time to redefine a successful internship program that serves your team and company goals.
If you run multiple internship cohorts throughout the year, you may have the capacity to hire-on more talent and increase the talent pool your organization recruits from. By growing your internship program, you can help your company improve recruitment strategy, demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion efforts, and create more opportunities for students to succeed in their careers. It is important to note that internships are a great branding mechanism for many organizations.
Lastly, internships are a great way for your managers to gain leadership skills and become mentors at your company. Mentorship is an important component to an internship. And it is often the defining characteristic of why an intern returns to an employer. By keeping your intern during the academic year, you can maximize the intern’s academic experience. Enable your interns to apply their learnings to drive your business. Furthermore, many hiring managers feel a great sense of accomplishment by investing in the success of their interns’ work and career. In fact, supervising interns is a great way to start an employee’s track to becoming a manager or leader at your company.
There are clear benefits to hosting interns year-round. Now is the time for us to reinvent the typical Summer internship. Work does not happen just over the summer. So, why should internships only take place during the summer? Leading organizations are redesigning their programs. The results are a refreshing experience for both the interns and employers. If you haven’t already, it’s time to reflect on how to improve your internship program. Consider hosting interns year-round!
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