There’s a lot of talk about what internships can provide for students — valuable experience, possible college credit, new contacts in a hard-to-break-into field. But what about the link between internship programs and employer brand? Turns out, internship programs can impact your employer brand in big ways too. Here’s how:
Reveals Your Company’s True Values: As the saying goes, if you want to know a man’s true character, don’t watch how he treats his superiors — watch how he treats his inferiors. Same goes for employers; since interns are low on the totem pole, how they’re treated by their employer says a lot about that employer’s true values. If you treat your interns well, that bolsters your employer brand as a trustworthy company (but if you treat your interns not so great, then your employer brand may become more aligned with words like “opportunistic”).
Combats Turnover: Studies have shown that employees who start with a company in their internship program tend to be more loyal to that company, staying longer than employees who didn’t start out as interns. A company with a revolving door for employees doesn’t sit well with many customers, so establishing a solid internship program as a pipeline for permanent employment can ease turnover woes.
Helps Your Employer Brand Reach a New Audience: Nobody tweets and shares like a millennial, so you can be sure your interns are talking about your company on social media. Encouraging your interns to share about their experiences through social is a great way to reach younger consumers in an organic way.
Revitalizes Your Company: Ah, there’s nothing quite like the optimism and energy of college students. If your company needs an injection of youthful optimism, then establishing an internship program is a great way to give yourself a youthful face-lift. A bevy of interns around the office can certainly help de-stodge-ify your employer brand.
Provides More “Behind-the-Scenes” Fodder: Customers love to see what goes on behind the scenes at their favorite companies. Utilize intern testimonials — whether it be through short quotes that you tweet or longer video testimonials that you post on your company website — to show your customers what it’s like to be a bright young thing at your company. Again, since interns are usually especially enthusiastic and eager to please, these testimonials should come off as pretty glowing reviews (of course, this all hinges on whether you treat your interns well!).
Keeps You Top of Mind with The Best and Brightest: When you establish an internship program, that gives you another avenue to get in front of the best and brightest of the college-age set by attending college internship fairs and even by being listed in a college’s internship database. Even if a capable college kid doesn’t end up interning with you, he or she may keep you top of mind when the real job search rolls around thanks to your enhanced presence on campus via internship-related events.
In what other ways have your internship programs influenced or impacted your employer brand? Share with us in the comments below!