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Interns: They Do a Business Good

Picture a budding professional, one with unlimited ideas, a fervour for positivity and development, and an insatiable desire to work on anything, but with little to no experience with the floral industry. Apprenticeship programs have been around since the 11th century and still persist today. It’s a tried and true concept, and one that benefits more than the wide-eyed young professional yearning to get a foot in the door.

An internship program has far-reaching and multifaceted benefits for the intern, your store, and the community. The intern not only acquires new skills, but he or she increases his or her chance of attaining full-time employment by 9%, according to a study by Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. Simple laws of economics show that a strong workforce parallels with a strong economy. So, by giving an intern experience, you may be improving the economy. Also, consider how many times you’ve heard of a new technology that you’d like to try out. Maybe you’ve researched webinars or tutorials for such innovation. Why take time to attend a class or muddle through instructions with lots of technical jargon when you could instead hire an intern to walk you through it? People are our best resources.

Here are a few more reasons to give interns a try:

Interns are Cheap

Many interns are willing to work for free or for minimal pay. Interns expect experience more than they expect money. According to a survey by Social Hire, a social media marketing agency servicing small businesses and recruitment teams, 73% of recent interns deemed the opportunity itself as their primary motivation, while fewer than half of the respondents (43%) described pay as “quite important.” Additionally, by running an internship program, you get an early look at the hiring pool. You could save significant time and money seeking out new employees if you come across someone you can train as an intern and later hire once they’ve proved themselves.

Interns Boost Productivity

What’s better than a shop full of hustling workers? A shop full of hustling workers and interns. Consider the various duties and tasks your staff takes on: processing flowers, design, sales, customer service, delivery, cleaning, social media, and so forth. Having an extra set of hands goes a long way.
Two years ago, Sayantha Baskaran approached Margaret Woroszylo, of Florida Flowers, about interning at the Toronto shop to gain floristry skills. Baskaran shadowed Woroszylo and her employees to learn their techniques, which she practiced on old flowers. Soon, she was helping with corsages and boutonnieres and making daily specials, Woroszylo said. After training with Florida Flowers, she entered a design competition and placed third. Since her internship ended, Baskaran has come back to help the shop during Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Woroszylo plans to offer her part-time employment while she’s in college.

An internship, a hands-on experience, gives aspiring florists insight into how a flower shop functions. They learn time management; systems to make the sales, design, and delivery departments work together more efficiently; creative tips to increase a design’s perceived value without stuffing; and invaluable people skills, whether it’s dealing with a colleague or a customer. Successful businesses embrace this idea of “comprehensivism,” HR directors said in a recent article for Fast Company. It refers to using employees’ full skillset. Why relegate an individual to one department when they can help out others in a pinch? Internships are great opportunities to train people in various positions.

Interns Provide Another Voice.

Innovation is everything for a business. Think of businesses in your community that were late to the social media game. Social media has transformed business outreach. Interns may have great insights into hot technology or trends, which could be the next big thing.
In an article for Forbes, Heather Huhman, a career and workplace expert, said interns challenge traditional mentalities by forging new ideas into the mix. Interns can bring fresh perspectives and provide salient solutions to problems or issues that arise. For instance, Baskaran advised the Florida Flowers team how to act during wedding consultations with ethnic brides.

Hiring an intern is simple. Prospective candidates are everywhere. You can find them by using the same avenues you would to advertise an event, a sale, or a promotion. Reach out via social media, post an application on your website, talk to your customers, or contact your local high school or college campus. Word of mouth advertising goes a long way. When you read through applications, recognize that many young professionals may lack in the specific skills you would seek from full-time employees. Be open-minded. You never know what an intern could possess to really bolster your business. Lastly, be prepared for your mentee with clear guidelines and goals. Once you have a plan in place, go ahead and take the leap.

Tina Miller
Tina D. Miller is a writer, teacher, evaluator, puppy mother, fabric manipulator, and football enthusiast living in Philadelphia. In 2008, she earned her MFA in creative writing and has since written and published several flash fiction stories, blog posts, and novels.
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