I think everyone can recall a period in their career when they searched endlessly for an internship only to find themselves doing the dirty work the employees didn’t want to take. Not only is this a sure-fire way to repel newbies, but it doesn’t benefit either party. This blunder is something I wanted to stay far away from when I hired my first few interns at our startup. A few years in, I realized some of the biggest successes for our company stemmed from giving the interns more responsibility than coffee runs and phone calls. Here are a few of the benefits of bringing interns aboard.

Break Stereotypes

I understand the apprehension of some leaders when it comes to interns, due to the stereotype that they can be a handful to manage. It’s easy to pull back and give interns low-risk opportunities, but let’s not ignore that cliche saying, “The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.” Take solace in the fact that your interns most likely have some sort of experience or educational expertise to back them, and you can’t forget that you interviewed and hired these fresh faces because you saw potential in them. Have faith, because interns can help your company flourish.

Find Fresh Viewpoints

In such a fast-paced era, it’s imperative to stay ahead of the curve, so utilize the innovative minds of your interns to stay fresh and relevant. Ask for their opinion on projects and decisions because they might enlighten your company on the current culture climate or steer the project towards an option you overlooked due to your years in the field. Whether they are managing your social media accounts (it’s 2018, yes you need to have a presence on social media) or bringing fresh ideas to the board room, they are a good resource to tap into.

Think Economically

If you’re not convinced yet, let’s talk about efficiency and economics. By starting off on the right foot and immersing your interns in company culture and day-to-day responsibilities, you’re successfully training a potential future employee. If they are a summer or semester-long intern, they might permanently join the team after graduation, meaning that the time you took to train them wasn’t in vain. Even if they don’t join the team for good, interns still act as serendipitous brand ambassadors, spreading good word of your business to friends and future employers.

Be A Good Leader

Of course it’s important to touch on the moral component of the situation: these interns applied to be part of your team because they trusted you’d teach real-world skills that would help them succeed in their career. As formerly mentioned, you were once in their shoes, so empathize and make their experience a positive one. Give them a warm welcome and a quality training session before easing them into influential organizational leadership roles. Resist the urge to micromanage, instead trust in their abilities–you might be surprised at what they bring to the table…and it isn’t coffee.