As a company that specialises in both consultancy and internships, this is a topic very close to our heart: more and more businesses in China, both domestic and international, are embracing the idea of utilising interns to within their company Beijing but what are the tangible benefits and how do you get the best out of your unpaid staff?
Why Hire An International Intern?
Of course, the most obvious reason for hiring interns is the opportunity to gain valuable short-term resource at little or no cost. But young people who undertake international internships are usually ambitious, fearless and keen to learn, which means that their qualities that not only make business sense but also have the ability to really increase the productivity of your company.
On top of this, many of our own Shanghai interns and Beijing interns have a long term view to living and working in China, so hiring interns can be an excellent way of finding and observing high quality candidates for long-term employment. This is especially useful for small to medium sized businesses: while bigger operations can run expensive graduate schemes, for a smaller company finding an employee who is smart, well qualified and interested in China can be like finding a needle in a haystack. International internships can act as the perfect recruitment kick-starter.
Extend your Guanxi
Young people undertaking international internships usually also possess an international mind-set – otherwise they would not have considered an internship in China. They are looking for opportunities to showcase their talents and jumpstart their careers, which usually ensures that they throw themselves wholeheartedly into networking and contact building opportunities. This is beneficial to both them and to your business; you may also find that your interns move in a wide range of social circles that were not previously familiar to your company Beijing this can be a golden opportunity if you operate in the service, hospitality or events industry, to name a few.
Make the Best of your Interns
Once you’ve decided to take on an intern, it’s essential to ensure you have meaningful, tangible work to engage them with. Overloading them with tedious and time consuming tasks can easily lead to a disgruntled intern, which can be very harmful to your reputation in a country where business is built on networks and reputation.
The feedback of our own Beijing and Shanghai interns suggests that the best ways to ensure an internship is a positive experience for both parties is to:
- Emphasize the importance of the intern’s work and analyse their results
- Give them a task they can own and complete from beginning to end
- Show how the intern is positively affecting the company
- Offer constant feedback and provide a ‘point person’ that the intern can consult if they need guidance
- Ensure that the intern is given a comprehensive introduction to the company, it’s staff and it’s procedures.
Once you have tested the effectiveness of hiring interns within your business, hiring more than one can be a very smart move: having their peers around them will help them to adjust to the office environment more quickly, not to mention engendering a sense of team spirit and, perhaps more importantly, healthy competition. Hiring multiple interns will ensue that there’s a desire amongst them to be the best, and your company will reap the benefits in terms of productivity and efficiency.
In a nutshell, hiring an intern can quickly result in a win-win situation and, with more and more young people flocking to China to broaden their professional horizons, you’re sure to find one who suits your business.