For small companies, interns can often seem like more trouble than they’re worth.
Entrepreneurs often don’t have a human-resources staffer dedicated solely to overseeing interns, so the boss or a manager must carve out time for them. And that means giving them hands-on guidance, not sticking them in the stockroom and then forgetting about them: Companies have an obligation to give interns a good learning experience, whether they’re working for money or for school credit.
But that’s only half the story. Interns also present a tremendous opportunity to entrepreneurs. Precisely because the business is so small, interns can have a real impact on the operation, contributing to important projects and bringing a fresh perspective and energy to old routines. Not to mention that businesses get all that free of charge, or at a fraction of the market cost.
So, how can you get the most out of your interns—and make a demanding management chore worth the effort? Here are some strategies from experts and entrepreneurs.