An intern is described as a Non Salaried Temporary Human Resource.
The three underlined words in the definition are three different ways in which a company looks at interns and structures its internship program. Depending on the approach and outlook you choose, here is why hiring an intern makes perfect sense to an organization and startups in particular.
Non Salaried: You may not have to pay an intern a monthly salary, but it does not mean that the intern is a ‘free’ resource. A company invests time and effort in developing or upgrading the skills in an intern and so it is but reasonable that they ask for something in return. If guided properly interns can prove to be great return on investment for a company. Companies expect interns to work as much as a regular employee (if not more) and for the interns this can also be a good opportunity to understand working of an organization at all levels. The startup gets the cost effective dedicated resource it requires and the intern gets exposure in his field. Overall a win-win situation.
Temporary: Organizations that hire interns to help them with extra non skilled work should remember that they could be your future employees. You have already invested in training them in the trade and know how they get along with others in the team; so if they join you full time later on, you do not need to reinvest in their induction. Even if you do not plan to hire them later on, they will be representing your brand name in the market and would definitely tell their friends and colleagues about their experience working in your organization. So make sure you make a lasting positive impression as any startup needs all the free publicity it can get.
Human Resource: Paid or unpaid, temporary or permanent, each resource is a resource and that really counts. If this is your way of looking at interns then you are on the right track. A startup must remember that the initial days of operation is the time that the culture and values of the organization is forged. How you treat your employees and how they treat each other is very important as this lays the foundation of the company’s DNA and determines its future organization behavior. It is ok if you adopt a policy of not hiring interns but if you do, make sure that they are as much a part of the team as any other employee because once the professionalism and healthy work culture is adopted by all, you will find that the employees instinctively gel together and work as a coherent force.
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