Work for free? In turn for what?
There is a new trend in town. Every company needs one. Interns have become the latest fad in Irish business as companies cut costs in these challenging times.
In theory it seems like a super idea to take on a qualified graduate or student and offer them real life work experience. They gain valuable experience to put on their cv and bolster their chances of securing paid employment. Companies gain a skilled additional staff member at little or no cost. Seems like a real win win experience, but is it really?
I am meeting many disgruntled interns who feel that they are being exploited by companies. They believe they are been given the “horrid” jobs that no one else wants to do. The other main complaint is the lack of support and training that they are receiving during their internship.
I am also talking to many companies who are hiring interns as a substitute to permanent staff as they do not have the money to take on a new staff member…
Many of these businesses are short staffed and under financial strain and do not have the time or resources to train, nurture and develop their intern. This is a recipe for disaster and discontentment. I would suggest that if you are a company that is too busy to add value and training to your intern then you should not consider taking one on.
Very often the expectations of the company are very different to that of the intern. Many companies take on interns without ever knowing what the intern’s expectations or objectives are.
Prior to hiring an intern I would suggest the following:
- Clear objectives and expectations for the company and intern are addressed.
- Ensure that you are prepared to invest ample time to train and develop your intern’s skills.
- Make sure you give them work that will challenge them and not just the work that no one else wants.
- Include your staff members in the decision to take on an intern. They need to be on board too. Often staff members are left to train interns and this can cause friction.
- Make sure that you have the time to meet your intern at the end of every week to celebrate the highs and identify any areas that require special attention the following week. Interns will excel with praise and structure.
What are your thoughts or experiences with Internships? Do you think they are a good idea for companies to consider in this economic climate?
What value could you offer an intern “in turn” for their work?