Establishing a Successful Internship Program

It’s the end of March and you know what that means: thousands of college students are looking for summer internships!!!

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If your Los Angeles- or Orange County-area company doesn’t already have an internship program, why not? Whether paid or un-paid (the student receives no monetary compensation but does receive college credit for her work with you), internships greatly benefit both the student and the employer: the student gets some real-world experience (that could lead to a real-world paying job) and the employer gets to have a top-notch student in his office, eager to work and learn – and possibly work after the internship! In other words, starting an internship program at your business can be a terrific recruiting tool.

March and April are Prime Time for Students to Seek out Summer Internships: How to Start One

If you’ve never had an internship program before, take a look below; we’ve put together an eight-step process for you to follow (and make your own, depending on your firm’s specific needs). Take a look below:

  1. Talk to a few local colleges.

If you’ve never hosted interns before, you’ll have a lot of questions that need answering. You’ll need to speak with college career offices to see what requirements they have as to what is acceptable in an internship (hiring someone just to get you coffee and run errands usually is not considered an internship). After all, the college wants its students to learn something during the students’ time with you. The college may ask you to outline what its students will learn and how you will ensure they learn it.

  1. Decide how many interns you can handle and where they will work.

Not every department in every company can host interns. Departments which typically host interns include marketing, human resources, accounting/finance, and even operations. Talk to department heads to see how many they may want/can handle before promoting internships.

  1. Decide if the internship will be paid or un-paid.

Don’t be worried if you cannot pay your interns. So long as they receive college credit, you will have students applying for your opportunity.

  1. Design the program.

A good internship structure will have learning objectives, daily responsibilities, both short- and long-term projects, evaluation procedures, written expectations, orientation, and an off-boarding process.

  1. Evaluate and decide on the skills, educational background, etc. you feel your interns will need.

For example, if you’re opening up a marketing internship, you will want a student with at least one or more classes in marketing, public relations/communications.

  1. Post the position.

You’ll want to post it with the many colleges and universities in Southern California. (You may decide to post only with a few, or with all; you can even post the opportunity at nationwide internship-posting sites.)

  1. Interview, check references and hire.

Practically every student you interview will have some sort of job history: it’s important that you check to make sure they have a good work ethic, no criminal background, and so on. Even if your firm’s HR department is in charge of the program, make sure the intern’s direct supervisor has a big say in choosing the final candidate.

If you’d like to hire your intern, but are still a tad uncertain if you want to bring her onboard permanently, Helpmates can put her on our payroll until if/when you decide to transfer her to your own.

Want to learn more? Contact the Helpmates office nearest you today.

5 Ways Contractors Can Help Maximize Your Talent ROI

Today’s organizations are looking for ways to maximize their talent investment while simultaneously attracting and retaining exceptional professionals. No small task, right?

The pressure is on!

Are you maximizing your talent investment?

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In today’s ever-changing economy, the most resilient of organizations are maximizing their talent investment by getting creative. Balancing full-time and part-time employees with contractors offers unique benefits to keep your organization agile and successful. In fact, here are five ways contractors can help you maximize your talent ROI:

  1. They help you stay flexible. Flexibility in staff and staffing costs allows organizations of all sizes to remain profitable. The ability to scale up or down your staff to meet increasing (or decreasing) workflow removes unnecessary stress and planning for handling permanent staff.
  2. Contractors can help you reduce talent costs. It’s one of the oldest benefits of working with contractors and it still rings true – augmenting your staff with contractors often can reduce your talent costs significantly. Besides saving you time and cost by outsourcing your recruiting function, you’ll also save on benefits and onboarding costs. And when the contract ends, the salary comes off your payroll (unless/until you need more talent).
  3. They help you better allocate resources. When you work with a staffing partner (such as Helpmates), the administrative burden of paperwork and oversight, as noted above, falls on the staffing partner instead of the employer. This can free your managers or HR department to focus on more mission-critical tasks.
  4. Contractors bring some fresh perspective. Contractors can serve as a breath of fresh air for many employers. Maybe you’re struggling with a specific challenge or your organization is suffering from stagnating innovation. Or maybe you’re not suffering or searching at all! Regardless, contractors bring a fresh perspective and voice that can help illuminate problems or call attention to hidden strengths within your team or organization. A “fresh set of eyes” can help you see things differently and can often help you gain a critical competitive edge.
  5. They can help increase performance across the board. Many professionals thrive in contract roles and seek out short-term opportunities with organizations such as yours. The most successful contractors enjoy the constantly-evolving challenges and opportunities presented by new organizations and projects, and tackle them with enthusiasm. The very nature of contract employment also demands consistently high performance – contract employees can’t just sit back. They’re constantly improving their skills and gaining new ones. Their ability to land future contracts depends on it. That means better results for your team and ultimately, your organization.

We work with some of the most talented professionals across Southern California. Our network of contractors is ready to jump in and start getting results for your organization. Contact your nearest Helpmates office today to talk about your specific needs and to learn more about how we can help your organization achieve its goals.

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4 Ways to Maximize Value From Performance Reviews

For many organizations, performance reviews are an item to check off the to-do list. But the most successful enterprises use annual reviews as a strategic leadership and planning tool. Research shows that more than 2/3 of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized, and organizations who implement regular employee feedback have turnover rates that are nearly 15 percent lower.

It’s time to start getting value from your performance reviews

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Make 2017 the year your organization gets real value out of performance reviews. Keep these four tips in mind:

  1. Ensure performance reviews are a two-way street. Employee input and feedback are critical components of successful performance reviews. Your meeting should include much more than reading scores off of a sheet! At least a few days in advance of your meetings, send an email (or mention to your team individually) explaining that, while you’ll be delivering feedback in performance reviews, you will be expecting some input and feedback from your team as well. That includes feedback on the organization, or input on where employees would like to take their careers. Set expectations ahead of time, so that you really maximize your time reviewing performance reviews and demonstrating clear value for everyone involved.
  2. Be prepared to get specific. Avoid generalities such as “You’re doing much better,” or “You’re doing a great job” during performance reviews. Everyone appreciates compliments, but when you provide specific examples of great work or offer measurable differences that demonstrate how your employee is doing “much better,” you’ll not only boost the esteem of your team, you’ll help illustrate just how your team has improved. Research shows that more than half of employers don’t track improved performance — tracking performance helps your employees feel valued and ultimately to contribute more! To get even more value from your performance reviews, consider offering suggestions for ways to take results even higher for next year as well.
  3. Go beyond delivering feedback. Specific feedback is important, but you should go beyond feedback to ensure you’re setting the stage for continued success. Prior to scheduling your employee meetings, meet with HR or executive leadership to ensure you have outlined specific next steps for each employee. To start, use some of those tips build on the suggestions found in the third suggestion above.
  4. Realize you’re just getting started. Research shows that nearly 2/3 of employees don’t ever see changes based on feedback they give during reviews. So while you may be relieved to have finished your performance reviews, simply delivering feedback and setting expectations isn’t enough to get real change or results. The end of the review is where the real work begins! As their leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure your team members have the tools, support and accountability needed to reach their goals. Many of us have left a meeting or workshop feeling excited about what we can accomplish…but it’s very easy to fall right back into our old patterns. As their leader, you can help bring it all together and keep everyone on track toward reaching their individual and team goals. Consistent follow up meetings can help you stay on track, even just a few minutes every week.

Performance reviews are a valuable tool to help you assess and retain your top talent. But when you need help finding talent, call your nearest Helpmates office. Our network includes thousands of professionals across Southern California. We can help you find the best employees to reach your organizational goals.

Time Management 101: Tips for Recruiters

Ever feel like your day just flies by? From reading resumes to posting jobs and interviewing candidates, the 8 to 5 can evaporate quickly for recruiters. But while fast days can be a good thing, it can sometimes leave you feeling stressed or worse, behind.

Rescue your time with these tips for recruiters.

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It’s not impossible to balance daily recruiting responsibilities and maximize your time while finding the best talent. Try these four tips to reclaim your time and focus on your most mission-critical tasks:

  1. Avoid last-minute meetings. The ‘pop in’ is a notorious time waster in every office, but for recruiters they can prove costly. One or two minutes here and there may not seem like a big deal, but when you have three, four or even five people popping in to your office for a few minutes every day, they can quickly turn into hours wasted. Not only do you lose the actual time speaking with colleagues, but you lose time and focus on the tasks at hand. In other words, you have to break away from what you’re doing then get yourself back on task. Often times, this time doubles (or even triples) those ‘few minutes’ you were initially going to lose! When you are heads down on mission-critical work, let your coworkers know that you’ll be unavailable. If you have a ‘chat’ or ‘email’ program that allows you to set your status, be sure to set your status to ‘busy’ or ‘unavailable’ when you’re working on your most important tasks. Then, be sure to stick to your guns. If an unexpected pop in stops by, smile and politely let your colleague know that you’re unavailable now, but stop by at XX time and you’re happy to help (or, ask if it’s something that can be handled via email).
  2. Turn off email notifications. While some issues may be better relegated to email, the most productive recruiters manage email effectively. ‘Inbox zero’ is a nice goal, but it can seem intimidating or even impossible for many. As a result, many recruiters receive constant email notifications, dealing with emails as they come in throughout the day in order to prevent a backlogged inbox. While this may seem like a good idea, constantly checking your email means that you’re not actually working on work! Instead of being constantly on call for email, set certain times throughout the day to check and handle your messages. This way, you can stay focused on tasks as they land in front of you and can avoid distractions provided by emails throughout the 9 to 5. (Hint: This also works well for voicemail messages).
  3. Set a plan for your day (but know it likely won’t be exact). Take a few minutes at the end of each work day to outline your goals and set expectations for the following day. While pop-up meetings, client calls and last-minute interviews will come up from time to time, having an idea of your must-dos and scheduled calls or meetings ahead of time can allow you to prioritize your time effectively and more efficiently handle interruptions or disruptions to your day.
  4. Partner with a staffing firm. One of the best ways to eliminate unnecessary time wasters and allow you to focus on mission critical steps is to partner with a staffing firm (such as Helpmates!). We take on the most time-intensive tasks of recruiting and only present you with the most qualified candidates for your job openings, freeing you to focus your interviewing efforts on top tier candidates who are ready to step in and make an immediate impact. Rather than sifting through thousands of resumes, you’ll only see the most highly qualified few at the top of the pack. Whether you need help vetting candidates at the onset or would like someone to take on a bulk of the process, your staffing partner can help eliminate unnecessary steps and burden on your organization.

We can help your organization better maximize its talent investment. Our network of talent includes top professionals in a range of disciplines across Southern California. Contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more about how we can help your organization.

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