By Jim Wong, CPA | September 7, 2016

By now, many internships have ended and the summer interns have returned to their respective colleges and universities to continue their education. For many job seekers, students in particular, internships are a vital opportunity to get real-world, hands-on experience and brush up on their skills before entering the workforce. For many companies and organizations, interns are valuable assets that are able to assist with a number of responsibilities, namely the ones that many others do not have the time to complete.

This is not to say that interns are only responsible for completing the work that others do not want to do—rather, interns often assist with short-term projects, new projects and fill in where needed. Once internships end though, it can be difficult for companies to get right back into their regular routines with less hands, especially if new projects have started and are still ongoing.

I’ve discussed this topic before but it’s important to cover again, as we see interns heading back to their schools during this time of year.

How should organizations adjust their operations when summer interns return to school? Read more below.

1. Consider using contract or interim professionals. 
As a staffing firm, we can certainly attest to the importance of hiring temporary professionals. Before making major hiring decisions, contracted professionals allow companies to test out their skillsets and cultural fit before bringing them onto the team permanently. Many times, temporary professionals help fill any gaps or assist with short-term or long-term projects. Even if there’s a specialized project a company is looking to complete, more often than not, there is an interim professional out there who has the qualifications to complete it. Look to specialized staffing firms like Brilliant, to find great candidates for your accounting, finance and IT needs.

2. Find colleagues to lend a helping hand. 
Instead of becoming overwhelmed with tasks and projects in an intern’s absence, be sure to keep an eye out for colleagues who can and are willing to take on additional responsibilities. If a temporary professional worked with a certain colleague, it’s a good idea to ask if that colleague will continue to assist with any additional work left behind by the intern that still needs to be completed on the project. Since the person has already worked closely on the project, they might be more inclined to want to see it through to the end.

3. Decide if you need to hire new colleagues. 
No matter what your company’s end goal is, be sure to look at the vision, goals and overall strategy of the company, and evaluate where the intern and internship fall within that scope. It’s best to have a plan before the intern begins, that way, you’ll know how to proceed at the end of the internship. Will you utilize contract professionals? Will you create an entirely new role? These are all questions that hiring managers and companies should think about and plan for early on.

These are only a few of the ways for companies to adjust after their interns go back to school. Do you have other suggestions? Comment below and let us know!

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