Internships are not meant to be free help. They are not meant to replace an employee. And they shouldn't be used for busy work.
Internships are a great way for students to get real-world experience in a particular career and for employers to scope out potential new hires upon graduation. But when they are not well planned, they won't be successful for the interns or the employer, said Sharon Beaudry, a former HR director and currently an assistant professor of management and program director at Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls.
Beaudry advised HR professionals at the Society for Human Resource Management's 2017 Talent Management Conference & Exposition to think long-term when designing an internship program.
[SHRM members-only toolkit: Employing Interns]
"It's a 'try before you buy' approach," she said. "You'll be able to reap the benefits later on."
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 72 percent of interns are offered a job, and 85 percent accept. Historically, the retention rate of hired interns is higher than other entry-level employees, Beaudry said. "Even though I think that stat is more likely for larger employers. It's probably 30-40 percent for smaller employers because they don't have as many entry-level jobs to offer."
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