THE 'EDGE REPORT BLOG

Interns: A Win-Win for the Modern Workplace

The purpose and function of traditional internships has been redefined over the last decade. Unpaid internships are becoming less common; only 43.7% of unpaid interns were offered a fulltime job post-graduation as opposed to the 66.4% of graduates who received job offers after completing a paid internship, according to the NACE’s Class of 2019 Survey. Furthermore, employers are finding that interns who get the opportunity to do valuable work often become an asset to the company down the road. Though the actual work an intern does affects the organization, there are many other ways they can make an impact.  HealthEdge took 2019 as a time to evolve our program to respond to many of these dynamics.

Culture is a vital piece of the modern workplace, and interns play a role in influencing it. Millennials are no longer college age, which means Generation Z is now the up-and-coming generation of workers. Generation Z makes up 32% of the world’s population, making it the largest generation yet, according to data compiled by 99firms. They also use social media more than any other generation, which means chances are high that your interns are talking about their work experience (good or bad) online. Our Marketing intern, Andrew, told us that “the presence they have on social media can act as a transparent and honest interpretation of the company’s culture, which is something companies can struggle to provide on their own at times”. Interns can have a significant impact on a company’s culture, whether it be fresh ideas or a high ambition towards learning. We asked our own interns to share their thoughts of how interns can contribute to a company’s culture, and our Human Resources intern, (also)Andrew, told us that interns can bring “a fresh perspective and new cultural trends that may take longer to make their way into the company otherwise”. The connectedness of today’s interns can be an asset to any company, so utilizing their perspectives to mold the workplaces of the future is crucial in hitting the triple bottom line—people, planet, and profits—that is expected of all businesses today. Learning opportunities are also an important factor in determining the quality of office culture. Giving employees the opportunity to learn encourages personal and professional growth, and the effort by the company to promote a learning environment indicates to employees that they are valued. Finance intern, Evan, told us that “there is always more to learn whether through being mentored or by passing on your knowledge to others… encouraging individual growth makes for a positive work experience,”. The desire to learn can also be used as motivation for interns; Customer Support Intern, Marissa, couldn’t have said it any better, “as future leaders, we ask questions and test our limits in order to improve. The interns today will be the leaders of tomorrow, and their future-oriented sense of optimism can have a positive effect on a company’s culture”.

For HealthEdge, this was a new turn with this year’s intern class.  The HR team saw all the trends happening with how companies engage interns and we wanted to improve the experience our interns had here.  Internships not only offer manpower, but also the chance for the internal team to teach, mentor and learn how to do that with a population entering the workforce who work differently than they may; those are great skills to have in a scaling business.  The program was purposely created to have a focus on each intern’s individual job function in order for them to learn and develop in their intended field, and also included opportunities to participate and enmesh with the company culture, with the overall goal to offer a well-rounded experience.  With HealthEdge’s Summer 2019 internship program now over, we were selective with the group we chose, and were happy to have had a stellar bunch that helped us develop this new model of what an internship at HealthEdge looks like.   Between Red Sox games, community service opportunities, and the chance to present to the entire company about the projects they worked on given during their final week, our interns blew us away this summer.  We’re wishing them the best of luck as they head back to school this week and know we will watch them become rising stars on their career paths.

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