11/16/2018 publications
Interns Can Help Build Brand Loyalty

When business owners and hiring managers think of interns, they’re likely to envision needing extra time and resources to create a suitable job description and conduct training. Not certain about the costs and benefits, many companies, especially smaller ones, decide not to hire interns.

Internships, however, should be anything but the picture described above. Rather than being time-consuming with negligible benefits, with a little planning, they can and should be exciting opportunities seized by employers and students alike.

Brand Ambassadors
One of the most important points to remember is that bringing an intern (or two) into your company enables you to positively guide a young adult’s career. In return, you get to work directly with - and therefore influence - a brand ambassador with unique knowledge of your in-house principles.

Imagine for a moment if you could wield such influence over the public at large. In an age when information is just fingertips away, a company’s every action can impact its reputation. Giving a great internship experience is an unequivocal way to create a positive image of your company.

Steps to Take
Before you onboard an intern, or brand ambassador, you need a plan of action that will provide a rewarding experience for both of you. Start with this question: what does your business hope to gain from an internship program? Then determine if you need help with a specific project, or if an intern will perform routine tasks.

Ask yourself what kind of intern you want. Does he or she need a specific academic background? Should they have previous experience? From there, identify the tools an intern will need to succeed in your workplace: phone, computer, tablet, access to documents and/or files, etc.

Once you have found an intern, meet with him or her and create a list of learning goals that are mutually beneficial. This list then becomes a roadmap that clearly identifies what the intern will be doing during his or her time with you. It also helps you decide who from your company should serve as a mentor/manager to the intern.

Discuss workplace policies, hours, dress code, and safety regulations. Giving an intern this knowledge will help him or her perform duties in a responsible manner. Plan to have the intern attend meetings and networking events for additional exposure, and encourage him or her to speak during these times.

Finally, meet with the intern on a regular basis to assess his or her experience and provide performance feedback.  At the end of your time together, have an in-depth conversation about the intern’s thoughts. Ask for suggestions as to how his or her time could have been improved. Offer to write a recommendation - if appropriate - and express your gratitude for the help.

Use Social Media
While your intern is in the office, ask him or her to share their work experiences on social media. Encourage them to do this on multiple platforms and to even discuss the projects they’re working on. This is how you cement the brand ambassador concept, and how you tell the world you’re a socially conscious business involved with helping students grow professionally.

Follow Up
In the days after your intern leaves, stay in touch with him or her via email and social media. Ask them to write about their internship for a blog piece, to be posted later on your website. Keep the lines of communication open so the intern feels he or she was a part of your team. The saying is that companies who care about their interns care about their clients, and that’s the best reputation possible.

Need Our Help?
Amy Cell Talent has a well-established internship program called MI Intern Matchmaker, offered in collaboration with local business and Ann Arbor SPARK. By joining this program, you can grow your business, access a large pool of talented internship candidates and even gain insight into best practices for internships. Our 2019 kickoff for MI Internship Matchmaker is NOW, and we invite you to learn more by going here.