LHP’s expert recruiters weigh in on the importance of internships in shaping the future of a company’s workforce
How do we provide incoming generations of young professionals with the hands-on experience that companies so badly desire? The answer is short and sweet: internships. Internships are great opportunities for younger generations to gain the experience they need so badly and the real-world exposure required to function professionally.
There are many factors to consider when hiring interns. Will the internship be paid or unpaid? Will your intern be behind the scenes of the business, or client-facing and taking charge? What kind of culture do you expect interns to bring to your company? Do you have the mentors to train and support an intern?.
Of course, it’s important to address questions like these and to understand the challenges you will face before bringing interns into your organization. But bringing on interns helps drive your company forward. Not only can interns fuel innovation both in your company and in your industry at large, but the mentorship opportunities that arise during an internship can afford you the indispensable chance to mold the next generation of professionals in your industry and to and help your company internally along the way.
A huge factor to consider with interns is the difference in the generational perspective between incoming interns and their supervisors and colleagues in the company. The incoming interns will likely be part of the millennial generation. While this generation is tech-savvy, with unlimited information at their fingertips, they often can rely too heavily on this technology instead of their intuition and knowledge. Millennials tend to hold strong opinions, and often seek or highly value accolades for doing what generations before them did with very little recognition.
The leading generations of businesses today would fall into either baby boomers or Generation Xers. Baby boomers were the first generation to really see the starting point of much of technological innovation that shapes today’s professional environment. They were the first to have a TV, for example, and countless other technologies. and They were also the generation who saw opportunities in those technologies and explored so much of what those technologies made possible.
Generation X was mixed between technology and the old-school. They were the generation who started questioning traditions and institutions. They grew up with self-interest as their guide which broke the longstanding “be loyal to one company” idea. These generations built businesses into what they are now, being financially cautious yet selectively risky, relying on their prior knowledge or “gut feelings” to make choices when moving companies or making decisions for a company. While many of the people in these generations have adapted to modern technologies, they are not solely reliant on them. With this in mind, it’s important to prepare for the dynamic between what certain interns might expect and what the current workforce is the will or ability to provide. By tackling this head-on, we can help shape interns into productive future members of the workforce, while also providing people already in the industry a chance to stretch themselves and reach across generational divides through mentorship.
A company’s culture is important for interns. It will drive the intern into their future, shaping how they fit into their professional roles down the line. The ideal culture for an intern is one of learning, not just one of the tasks. Interns are not just to be used for busy work, they need to learn how to make the “tough decisions” and how the company operates. Remember: you won’t just be training an intern, you could possibly be training a full-time employee since internships often turn into actual positions.
It’s always important to remember, too, that whether the internship is paid or unpaid, the intern is an employee. They are part of your corporation. Treating interns fairly and respectfully should be the goal of every company and of every employee.
Blending generations and company cultures can be difficult. Generations do not always see eye to eye on how things are done, and even single companies can have varying cultures throughout the organization. To blend cultures, it’s important to understand the other points of view while being able to constructively articulate your own. Blending cultures entails being open to new ways of thinking or problem-solving.
While working to blend generational cultures, it’s important to remember there are many ways to do things, not just one way. Sometimes it’s easy to use the same old method because it’s what we know, even when there might be another, more efficient, approach out there., Of course, not all established techniques will have to be thrown out. It’s all about finding what works best for the individual and the company.
Internships are what blend our incoming workforce with our already active workforce. Companies need to be open to internships and to allowing upcoming generations access to the experience they need to become productive, full-time employees in the future. Internships can provide companies with a competitive edge in maintaining and growing their business, while also giving real-world exposure to the interns themselves. Executed correctly, a good internship can truly be a powerful win-win for both the employer and the intern.
LHP Engineering Solutions has technical recruiters on staff to help place candidates in the automotive industry. For more information, contact us at www.lhpes.com/contact-us
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