A hot topic of discussion these days is enhancing the employee experience. Even with historically low unemployment rates, thousands of skilled jobs remain unfilled while companies search for the right talent. Attracting, securing, and retaining talent has never been more essential to a business’ success.
Through several regional roundtable discussions conducted by Aires, mobility professionals have shared that their companies consider interns to be comparable to any other full-time employee. So, when we talk about the employee experience as it relates to mobility, we should also be looking at ways to enhance the intern experience.
Companies invest a lot of time and money into recruiting and training interns. Both the employer and interns have long and short-term goals. Student short-term goals include meeting the education requirements to obtain a degree and gain work experience. Long-term goals for both the intern and the employer are full time employment.
Employers and interns alike use internships as training programs, (such as temp-to-hire situations) so that an intern can learn the skills needed for the job while demonstrating what kind of full-time employee they will be. A successful intern program produces a high percentage of well-trained interns-turned-hires who will hopefully continue to develop into valuable employees and contribute to a company’s success. At Aires’ roundtables, various companies told us that their goals for intern-to-hire ratios range from 40% to as high as 70%.
So how do companies enhance the intern experience? The answer is by providing financial support to interns who are committing to an internship program. Many interns accept assignments that are far distances from school or home so getting to, and living in, the internship location can create some financial challenges.
Relocated employees typically receive a relocation package to assist with moving expenses. As we know, these policy offerings usually come in various shapes and sizes. Interns are no different; they also have relocation needs. Recently, companies have been formalizing their intern relocation packages to recognize these needs.
What type of relocation support is provided to interns? Whether the distance to the internship is 50 miles or 1,000 miles away, the most common relocation benefits that employers are providing to their interns are a cash allowance, stipend, housing, or a combination of all three benefits. According to research conducted by Aires, most interns receive an average of $1,000-$5,000 to help with relocation expenses and many have their housing (furnished, unfurnished, or dormitory-style) fully or partially paid for.
Companies also find the need to offer unique benefits that go beyond these typical types of support. For example, one company is known for providing each intern with a bicycle to allow for easy commuting from apartments to the company’s campus.
Why do employers provide support to interns? There are countless benefits to providing relocation support to interns. Besides the obvious financial assistance to help with travel, housing, and transportation expenses, interns who receive relocation support will feel a greater sense of community, connect with other interns, and make empowered business decisions throughout their career.
What are some other ways to support interns? Supporting your interns does not have to centralize around relocation policy offerings alone. Beyond the relocation benefits, we recommend including an onsite welcome party or the creation of an online community for interns to network in and stay connected. We find that some companies also arrange for dormitory-style group housing (not necessarily company-paid), which affords the interns to find sense of community.
Studies show that employees who feel recognized and engaged are more motivated and willing to work toward the greater goals of the company. The pitfalls of not providing any support to interns may lead to feelings of solitude, difficulty connecting with others, uninformed decisions, wasted time, and financial hardship.
A company will also feel that impact from employees and interns alike. Unsatisfied or disappointed interns can harm a company’s reputation and devalue its intern program, making it harder for the company to recruit, secure, and invest in its future talent.
All of this gives new meaning to the term ROI – Return on Interns. As companies look for more ways to compete for talent, interns are playing a critical role in developing talent pools.
For more on how to enhance your interns’ experiences, contact your Aires representative.
Written by Romayne Dillner