Many may have fond memories of their internships, such as learning about the industry and building their own networks at a time when these experiences were most formative in their careers. But bad experiences drove many candidates away from a particular area. Click here to see Recruitment Agency in Lahore.
After all, internships are investments, not quick fixes. For employers, an internship program can be a successful long-term recruiting strategy, but it can backfire as a short-term recruiting solution. To be clear, internships can be mutually beneficial for the trainee and employer, but they must be done correctly.
Here’s how to develop an effective internship program in your organization, including compliance issues to consider.
Pros and Cons of Starting an Internship Program
Before we move on to how to develop an internship program, let’s consider why you should, or perhaps not consider, starting an internship program depending on your organization’s needs.
Benefits of the Internship Program:
First, let’s address the positive aspects, especially regarding your long-term hiring strategy.
Improves Your Recruitment Line
An effective program should nurture inexperienced but hardworking interns and turn them into responsible and capable professionals. An effective program should also attract other potential career seekers. This means that an internship program can be an important part of your recruiting pipeline.
Similarly, an effective program can shorten your recruiting time, as the interns you’re developing are already vetted and integrated into your company culture.
Creates a Support Cohort
It can also lead to a cohort of new hires. Because many programs are coordinated with college calendars, a group of interns usually complete the program at the same time.
If you determine that several people in the group will be the best candidates for open positions, they can form a supportive and collaborative group within your organization.
Helps Your Organization Invest in University Relations
Internships also help your organization invest in relationships with universities, which can be another part of a successful long-term recruiting strategy.
Strengthening these relationships can also give you a positive brand impression.
Lowers Labor Costs
While many employers may be concerned about cost, interns can often provide relatively inexpensive labor as you don’t have to provide benefits. To be clear, for-profit employers are generally required to pay interns at least the minimum wage to comply with federal and state laws. But about that later.
Similarly, hiring interns can help control costs, as the temporary nature of the deal often makes their employment less risky.
Helps Aspiring Professionals
Ultimately, however, the best reason to start an internship program is to assist aspiring early professionals who need support early in their careers. Interns can gain valuable experience while building their networks.
Because internships immerse individuals in an industry, they can also help career seekers rule out a bad fit early and avoid time-consuming “false starts.”
Internship Program Costs:
By now, you may be wondering why not every small business hires interns. Well, there are a few minuses to consider.
Initial Entry Still Costs Time and Resources
While an internship program is a cost-effective and relatively low-risk hiring strategy, hiring any new employee still costs time and resources, and remember, interns are often short-term. Because of this, employers spend a similar amount of time and resources joining a temporary intern as a permanent employee.
Requires You to Pay Fees (In Most Cases)
As mentioned earlier, most interns at nonprofits qualify as employees, which means they must be paid. Therefore, you need to consider this cost as well. Again, we’ll cover this in more depth in a moment.
Includes Time and Commitment to Training and Performance Management
It is also important to remember that internships are actually educational programs. They require careful attention from HR and direct auditors, and the necessary record keeping and performance management is time consuming.
May Cause Undeserved Leave Requests
Finally, if you’ve never had experience with an internship program before, it’s easy to forget that most interns are college students and most internships are scheduled during the semester or summer. In other words, the trail from temporary workers who think they are entitled to a break without qualifying.
Get Engagement from Leadership
Getting not only the leadership’s approval, but their involvement is crucial—especially if you’re trying to start an internship program at an organization that has never had one before. Focus on the aforementioned pros – and address the cons – show you’ve thought about the benefits, costs, and details.
Leadership support can also help reluctant managers and other employees get involved in the program.
Configure the Program and Set Expectations
HR should write a policy that clearly outlines the process and sets expectations for both trainees and supervisors. Explain how managers can request interns, how to involve interns, how to check interns and supervisors with each other and with HR, and how to fire interns.
It is also important to clarify which company policies, such as PTO, apply to interns (such as data privacy and protection against harassment) and which do not.
Balance the Interests of Your Organization and Your Interns
You should also be careful to balance the interests of your organization and your interns, as HR is in the best position to oversee how the program works. For example, giving an intern a lot of responsibilities may seem like an easy way to give them a lot of experience while helping the employer increase productivity.
But burning an intern with responsibility will probably only hurt both parties and undermine your efforts. Remember, this is a learning experience.
Coordinate Recruitment and Exit with Supervisors
HR should structure the hiring and firing processes more generally and coordinate with specific supervisors on how to apply them in the most appropriate way to the department and position.
Make sure the placement includes introductions to the institution and the team the trainee will be working with. Also, be sure to include a debriefing and, if necessary, a progress report to the participating university.
Perform Regular Checks and Update Policy As Necessary
You shouldn’t limit check-ins to check-in and check-out. Instead, establish a regular, recurring informal check-in schedule with documented progress reports required by your organization or participating university.
Of course, you should use this feedback to update your policy as needed. However, you may also find that interns can provide valuable insight into the day-to-day operations of your organization. Interns have different incentives that can provide different perspectives than full-time employees.
While employers have a lot of discretion in how they structure and implement internship programs. There are a few important compliance considerations to keep in mind.
Legal Considerations of the Internship Program
Most interns at nonprofits are required by law to be paid as employees. Nonprofits and public sector employers often have much more flexibility in whether or not to pay interns.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs various areas of employment law, including wages and overtime. The FLSA does not recognize the term “intern”; This means that for federal compliance purposes, interns must be classified as volunteers, interns, or employees.
It’s hard for private businesses to advocate classifying interns as “volunteers,” so to avoid legally paying interns, a nonprofit should file a lawsuit to classify interns as “interns.”
The Department of Labor notes that courts typically use a seven-factor “primary beneficiary” test to determine whether a private employer should pay interns. The courts took into account the following factors:
The trainee and employer clearly understand that they do not expect any compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, indicates that the trainee is an employee – and vice versa.
The degree to which the internship provides training similar to that to be delivered in an educational setting, including clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions.
The extent to which the internship is linked to the trainee’s formal education program. Either through integrated coursework or acquiring academic credit. See also: HR consultancy services in Dubai.