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Why You Should Consider an Internship Program in 2022

Feeling like it’s time to expand your team? Looking for help during peak season? You might be considering when to hire your next employee, but that’s not your only option. Internship programs are an often-overlooked way to fill in the gaps in a business, yet they can actually be the best solution for many event companies.

Not only are they an affordable way to find help, but it’s also an opportunity to train the next generation of event professionals. As an established pro, you have all the knowledge and expertise to bestow upon young industry newbies.

Plus, you may even find someone who turns out to be the perfect fit for long-term employment in your business. It’s like dating before getting married, but without the fancy dinners or awkward conversations!

Here are four key reasons to create an internship program in the upcoming year.

You’ll need the extra hands on deck.
With this year’s wedding boom heading into 2022, you’ll need extra support to ensure all corners of your business are addressed. Even if you already have a team, expect that they will be swamped with client work throughout the year. Having an intern or two around to pick up the slack eases the burden on everyone, whether they’re maintaining a consistent social media presence or placing seating cards and favors onsite.

Consult with your employees for recommendations about what to delegate to your interns. More often than not, they’re the ones who need the most help and will have a good idea of the tasks that can be entrusted to a less-experienced team member.

It’s a cost-effective alternative to hiring.
At this time, most event companies need help but may not be ready to financially commit to a long-term employee. Internships are a budget-friendly option to acquire support, as many interns will work in exchange for academic credit rather than a paycheck. Still, it doesn’t hurt to pay them a small stipend to cover job-related expenses — particularly if they’ll be driving their vehicle to and from sites.

If you intend to bring someone on who is not associated with an academic institution, be sure to look at local, state, and federal employment laws to cover your bases.

All things considered, internship programs will save you money during crunch time. Just be mindful that you get what you pay for, and you’ll likely need to set aside extra time for onboarding and training since they may be new to the industry.

 You’ll grow your local network
Creating an internship program will involve reaching out to local universities, colleges, and trade schools to comb the pool of talent available. A school’s internship program director will be well connected to students, faculty, and administration, which can help you link up with the best interns and even future employees down the line.

Build rapport within your local educational community by contacting program directors and inquiring about internship requirements and guidelines. Make sure you’ve already researched federal, state, and local labor laws to avoid any surprises.

Cultivate leadership opportunities.
If you’re a solopreneur, you’ll need to develop your leadership skills before scaling your business, and an intern can be an excellent trial for future bosses. You can gain experience delegating, giving feedback, managing hours, and praising achievements — all without the long-term commitment. Then, when the time comes to hire your first official employee, you’ll be well prepared to onboard and bring them into your brand.

For those with existing teams, interns provide an excellent chance for your employees to grow their leadership skills. For example, your marketing specialist may not yet know how to train someone else. An associate planner might be used to taking orders rather than giving them. Let them get the on-the-job experience that will help them become better professionals in your business and, ultimately, advance their careers.

As your internship program grows, keep an eye out for the qualities that signal an intern may be a strong candidate for long-term employment. Those who are always on time, comfortable working independently, and open to feedback will go far in the event industry, even if they’re still gaining the skills necessary to succeed. Remember: You can teach skills, but you cannot teach personality!

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Jennifer Taylor is the principal of Jen Taylor Consulting, a consulting firm that works with creative businesses of all sizes to implement streamlined workflows and organized systems to find more time and space for business growth and personal development. She is also the owner and founder of Taylor'd Events Group, a leading event planning company that serves local and destination clients in Washington State and Maui, HI.

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