One of the best ways to boost the efforts of your creative team is to introduce employees to fresh ideas and perspectives.

Although bringing on seasoned professionals is a fantastic way to build your leadership team and fill positions that require industry experience, sometimes the best and most cost effective way to bring new ideas to your team is to seek out young professionals looking to gain on-the-job experience.

If you’re looking to jumpstart innovation, building a team of interns to support your creative team’s efforts could be something to consider for your 2017 hiring agenda.


Finding Interns

Here are tips to help you find a team of interns to support your creative team.

1. Brush up on labor regulations

The first in creating an internship program is to brush up on labor regulations in your state. Although it’s strongly recommended by many experts that you pay your interns, it’s not necessarily required so long as your compensation agreement remains within your state’s law.

Check out the guidelines here to get a better understanding of how the government regulates internship programs. Once you’ve got a basic understanding of what is required of you as an employer of interns, put together your plan and be sure to run it by your HR and legal teams. This will help you ensure that the program you build is compliant with regulations as well as fair for the interns you plan to hire.

2. Find schools with solid internship programs

One of your best resources for finding qualified interns is the counseling offices at local schools. Schools that have solid internship programs will be able to help you find students who are eager to get into the workforce as an intern at a local company.

If you’re looking for budding digital marketing talent in fields like SEO, PPC, or social media, check out the College Affordability guide. It should make finding marketing programs and local schools that provide internship resources much easier.

If you’re looking for creative talent in design or web development, offers up a great list of design and dev schools with information on those that offer excellent internship support programs to their students.


Working With Interns

Once you have interns on your team, consider these three tips.

3. Consider remote work options

One of the most difficult parts of building your internship team will likely be working around the unique schedules of each of your interns. Their coursework and extracurricular activities will likely take up a lot of their time each day, leaving them with only a handful of hours each week to work at your office.

Consider remote work for your interns once you’ve trained and prepped them on the projects they will be working on.

Nearly half of the workforce is currently working from home for at least part of the week, so this concept isn’t quite as strange as it seems to many employers.

There’s a common misconception that remote workers are less productive. However, giving a young professional what’s likely to be one of his or her first projects to work on during their own time will probably result in the employee spending more time to perfect their work than they would during standard office hours.

4. Identify and build unique strengths

One of the most valuable things you can do for your interns individually as well as for the success of your internship program as a whole is to help each intern identify and hone in on his or her strengths. Although you’ll want to give each intern time to explore each role on your creative team, it will be important to help them focus on the area where they excel most to get the most benefit for your team and help him or her gain some career direction.

Hiring gurus like Google use the T-Shaped model to help their employees leverage their unique strengths.

T-Shaped employees are described as having an in-depth understanding of their respective specialties and at least a basic knowledge of other areas that are involved in bringing their projects to fruition. For example, a t-shaped designer would possess exceptional skill and knowledge in design and have at least a basic understanding of development, SEO, copywriting, and social media marketing to supplement their design efforts.

5. Reward your interns

Finally, we come to what’s arguably one of the most important things you should do throughout the course of your internship program which is to reward your interns.

Once again, I’ll repeat that paying your interns is strongly recommended, but providing recognition and feedback as rewards will be equally important. Not only will this help you get the best work out of your internship team while they’re employed with you, but it will also encourage them to spread the good word about your company and how it treats its employees throughout your local creative community.

Supporting Your Creative Team With Interns

One of the best ways to inspire your creative team and groom them to become more effective leaders in the future is to implement an internship program where they can work with young professionals.

Hopefully, these tips will help you build and maintain a successful program that benefits your interns, your current employees, and ultimately your entire company.

How do you support your creative team, with or without the use of interns? Let us know in the comments section below!