Internships have long been powerful tools that drive recruitment strategies, but in a tight job market, they may be one of your most important weapons in the war on talent.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, full-time employees hired following internships are up to 20 percent more likely to stick with their hiring organization when compared to non-intern hires. The numbers are strongest in Year 1 and continue to show double-digit retention impact in Year 5. These converted interns are new employee gold. Finding and converting more of them is critical to your business success.
For more information on internship conversions, see “Internship Conversion – Understand and Impact Your Score.”
What does a 20 percent retention boost mean in terms of overall employee integration, cultural immersion and corporate well-being? It’s huge.
Today’s interns are tomorrow’s leaders, and they bring new ideas and a fresh vibe to your organization. An intern’s higher-than-average retention benefits your organization financially, and this continuity helps build a more connected and collaborative culture.
Fight Early Employee Attrition with Internships
Early employee attrition – hires who leave an organization in the first few months – can derail projects and sideline a team’s momentum. Beyond the financial impacts of restarting recruitment, onboarding and training, your culture takes a hit. Early onset dissatisfaction with employment ripples through your organization where connections are cut short (or are never made at all).
According to an Equifax survey, employees who leave an organization in the first 90 days often report that their work assignments and responsibilities didn’t match the position described during the interview. Early employee departures can also signal glitches in an organization’s onboarding process where vital new employees fall through the cracks of a disjointed org structure or an over-committed management team.
Elevate Your Talent When Interns Join Full-Time
Interns are known talent. They’ve looked behind the curtain of your siloed and overworked organization to see what real life looks like as an employee. Those who accept your offer of full-time employment hit the ground running.
Growing this supply of known top talent should be job one for savvy HR teams and hiring managers. Here are four ways to cultivate interns, quickly integrate them into your organization and boost retention.
- Harness the power of technology and data analytics.
Add a smart internship and early career software solution and watch engagement skyrocket. These data-powered platforms apply technology to new employee engagement matching skills and interests to available projects. Think of a smart internship and early career management solution as onboarding on steroids.Interns quickly engage with your team members through an app-driven experience that maps and tracks work assignments, connects mentors, provides two-way feedback and allows for quick course-corrections. With this type of rapid onboarding and cultural integration, interns quickly – and smoothly – transition into full-time roles.
- Introduce internal “gigs”
In the spirit of “intrapreneurship,” allow employees the freedom to choose the projects or teams they find most interesting. A smart employee management solution will map your intern’s skills and interests to available gigs. Once converted to full-time employees, you may find that eager new team members share ideas for projects that spark innovation or efficiency. Gigging keeps work fresh and inspiring.
- Encourage two-way feedback and real-time engagement
Everyone thrives on feedback and engagement solutions that power two-way, real-time communication across your team promote the value of employee input. Delivering a great workplace experience begins with communication so harness the power of real-time connectedness to keep the lines of communication open.
- After the full-time offer, keep new employees on the fast track
Even the best-intentioned management teams can drop the ball on regular engagement with new employees. Tracking milestones, connecting mentors, making introductions and taking new hires to lunch are all positive onboarding experiences. Take onboarding to the next level with clear integration roadmaps that span twelve, eighteen and twenty-four months. A steady and tailored cadence of engagement makes for an inspiring and connected workplace experience that puts your people in the spotlight.
Internships Are Your Secret (Retention) Weapon, and Internship Program Management is Your Fuel
Stop wasting time – and money – recruiting early career employees when you can build a ready-supply of talented, passionate and experienced top performers from a well-run internship program. Take another look at the impact interns have over non-interns; 20 percent higher retention is hard to ignore. Take those numbers even higher with an internship program management solution. Let technology and data analytics turn your internship program into a new employee onboarding and engagement program – on steroids.
Stop Losing Great People®
If you’d like more information about what intelligent, tailored internship management and retention solutions can do for you, we’d love to help you. We can walk you through a demo, share customer success stories and case studies, and give you the resources you need to choose the right solution for your organization. We’re ready to help, contact us for more information or connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.