Recruit the Best: Build an Internship Program That Attracts Top Talent

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internship presentation given as a final reviewBy now, everyone is familiar with the aging workforce of Baby Boomers in America—a group of valued employees, who will reach retirement and leave behind empty seats and roles to be filled. 

In preparation for this mass exodus, a company’s ability to find, attract and retain top talent will be critical to its success, as well as that of the industry at large. Talented professionals are growing and ready for powerful careers, but do they know all that insurance has to offer?

Organizations must attract the right talent from the start, and a key component of that strategy may include the development of an internship program. Internships give prospective hires an opportunity to immerse themselves in the company culture and processes, as well as gain in-the-field education and experience. 

Ultimately, internships give both companies and individuals a chance to evaluate a potential fit, which makes saying “YES!” to insurance an easy decision.

Experience: Provide Real Entry-Level Opportunities

The foundation of any strong internship program is built on great experiences. Provide real work assignments that challenge interns, and allow them to learn and grow. 

Think of internships as test grounds for full-time employment. What work would you like to see interns complete that would allow them to prove themselves worthy of a more permanent role on your team?

Program Possibility: Consider establishing managerial reviews throughout the internship that provide direct feedback on performance and progress. If at all possible, establish a reward incentive for a job well-done, such as a bump in pay or additional responsibilities/freedom. These value-adds make the position feel more important and worthwhile. 

Exposure: Keep Top Executive and Upper Management Accessible 

Part of the reason students take on internships is to gain meaningful experience, but another is to meet and network with professionals in their area of expertise.

Encourage teamwork that give interns exposure to different aspects of the company, and allows them to meet and communicate with a variety of professionals on staff. 

Program Possibility: Consider the addition of lunch and learn, or executive Q&A sessions, that offer interns an opportunity to gain insights into different departments, hear about potential career paths and learn more about your executive team.

Education: Show Them All That Insurance Industry Has to Offer

While the internship program should offer interns much in return for their work and service, do not forget what the internship can offer your company and the industry as a whole.

This is your chance to shed light on the essential role insurance plays in our society, and entice young professionals select it as their desired career. Help interns see the true potential, and provide them the knowledge and resources to connect the dots for themselves—through access to additional training or professionals for insights and advice.

Program Possibility: Consider holding a new hire panel discussion toward the end of each internship session. Staff it with recent graduates that are now full-time hires to help interns see that just because the internship will come to a close soon, the door might still be open for future possibilities.  

How does your company shape a meaningful internship program? Share what has worked well for you in the comment section below. 

Have a great program and want help getting the word out? Post roles to Ohio Internships & Co-ops and find the talent your business needs. 

Image Source: Juhan Sonin under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic


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