Using interns in your business is an excellent way to leverage managerial reach in a manner that is both fresh and cost-effective. Interns bring new ideas to your operation at the same time that they offer real skills that can be used right now. This is a truly effective, but wastefully or under-used technique for generating fresh insight, for assessing potential new hires, and for beginning the solid long-term development of organizational management talent.
Entrepreneur Magazine will have an article quoting me on this topic in their April issue, so I will defer further comment until then. However, BusinessWeek.com recently posted an article summarizing how Diageo uses its intern program, and I strongly recommend that you view it to begin to provoke some ideas for use, yourself.
Bear in mind, you don’t have to be a huge organization – you can even be a one-person shop and still offer a productive and rewarding learning and practical experience for an intern, not to mention for yourself. Don’t rush thoughtlessly into it, though; give this vastly under-rated mutually beneficial approach careful consideration. Establish a relationship with the business education programs in your local colleges and universities, and start building a program.
Again, it doesn’t have to be huge, and it doesn’t have to be burdensome. It can involve a single intern and require only minimal administrative maintenance. It can be established by an independent contractor, or by a department or business unit, as well as by a firm as a whole. Check the linked article and get started on building your own system. You will find it an excellent investment.