There are many reasons why hiring an intern might be a good move for you, while others might point you in the opposite direction. We think it’s probably wise to take an honest look at the ups, and downs, the realities and the laws involved in bringing an intern into your office.
You should realise that hiring an intern is a commitment, not just from you as the business owner, but on the part of your entire staff. They will be affected as they lend a hand, answer questions and help to train this new person in their midst.
Let’s proceed with some of the advantages, for both you and your intern, to give you a better perspective of the obligations and expectations when looking hiring an intern.
Benefits For The Employer After Hiring An Intern
First off, if the intern gets as much out of their duties as you do, you’re on the right track. Give them real tasks that matter to you – they can tell the difference – and teach them more about your industry. Let them handle a project from beginning to end. Assign a supervisor they can report to and learn from; someone who can chart their progress and evaluate their performance once a month.
It is probable that when your intern graduates, they will more likely return to the firm that gave them the internship. Because that person already has an understanding of your company and possibly the job, little to no training would be required – a major cost saving for you (from the regular hiring process through the first few months of orientation).
And, you will already know what they are capable of – their strengths and weaknesses and how their abilities might best be used for the company’s growth. Internships are very hands-on situations, in which the intern is closely observed, and their progress usually charted. With a brand new hire, it could take months for you to gain this kind of insight from their performance.
Benefits For The Intern
Though this section describes the advantages an intern might gain from their placement, it’s worthwhile for you (as the employer) to understand what they are hoping to achieve as well.
- Work experience – Any learned skills and expertise gained in the intern’s field of study can be extremely attractive to a potential employer – definitely a plus on their CV.
- Future career opportunities – Not only does the intern have a 33pc better chance of finding employment after they graduate, but their exposure to various positions and paths within the industry is invaluable.
- Contacts and networks – Connecting with your talented employees and providers allow the intern to bond with others in their field (relationships it might take years to develop on their own).
Do The Right Thing After Hiring An Intern
Though it’s common knowledge there are companies that continue to use interns as unpaid workers, it is also true that many are demanding back pay – up to six years after their placement is completed. It’s not a line you want to cross, even unintentionally. Definitely, have any intern agreement or contract reviewed by a lawyer well-versed in business and company law.
Paid internships result in stronger loyalties and commitment, especially if you hire them as a regular employee when their placement is completed. Not everyone can work for free, and if you only seek unpaid interns you will be – perhaps unknowingly – excluding social classes.
When you hold your company to a higher standard, not only does it positively affect your company’s culture, but it can make an imprint on someone for their entire life. Students are adjusting their already busy class schedules for the chance to learn much more about their fields. Consider them as enthusiastic diamonds in the rough, and your time with them a chance to make a difference in the world.
Terms and Regulations
Following is a list of several descriptive terms, linking to their respective laws, which will come into play if you choose to hire an intern.
Intern (The Individual) – Generally speaking, an intern is a person attending university, or has recently graduated but has not yet worked in the field. The emphasis for an intern is on training, rather than working, and in most cases, they will earn module credits at their university.
Internship (The Opportunity) – Placement is offered for a specific period of time (from a few weeks to a year), as practical experience in an industry relevant to the student’s field of study. The intent is to show the student how their education could be applied in the real world.
The UK has very specific regulations for the three primary classes of interns, which you would do well to research prior to hiring an intern.
Worker – This intern will have a verbal or written contract to do work for money or benefit in kind, and is eligible for certain employment rights.
Volunteer – Volunteer placements must be treated fairly and consistently. These interns are not paid, but you should reimburse them for genuine out-of-pocket expenses (reasonable lunch and travel). Their duties should be phrased as expectations rather than obligations.
If you give them money or benefit in kind (including a promise of paid work in the future) they must be classed as an employee or worker.
Employee – This is an intern who performs regular paid work, and they also may be eligible for employee rights. The difference between this placement and a regular employee is that the internship agreement has a defined beginning and end (along with specific parameters).
“When employees feel safe and secure, they are more apt to give their personal best.”
– Robert Levering, Co-founder, Director at Great Place to Work Institute
Final Words: Hiring An Intern
Hiring an intern can be a great decision for your business and also for the intern. Make sure you understand your legal obligations and responsibilities before hiring an intern. If you’re an intern then make sure you understand your legal rights as an intern.
Finally, always weigh up the pros and cons of hiring an intern first before committing.
Are you a startup looking to hire an intern? Make sure you understand your legal duties before hiring an intern and avoid any potential legal issues in the future.
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