8 Reasons You Should Hire an "Gen Y” interns

Your startup or growing company has a tight budget. You’re hoping to get a lot done, but only have a few employees. Has the thought of hiring an intern -- or several interns -- ever crossed your mind?

These benefits of hiring interns might persuade you to start an internship program.

8 Reasons You Should Hire an "Gen Y” interns

Reason One - New perspective on Organizational Issues
Interns challenge “the way we’ve always done it” mentality and bring fresh, new ideas to the company. Interns are good at questioning processes and can often see a better way of doing things that a manager might not.

Reason Two - Ease of Use With Technology
Social media, computer programs, iPads – these are a piece of cake for young professionals. And, although you’re a young entrepreneur, you can always use a hand from a fellow Gen Y tech-savvy professional.

Reason Three - It’s a Trial Period That could lead to something more
An internship is a great way to see how much potential a student or recent graduate has in the field. You’ll get to see their skills and work ethic as an intern—and might choose to bring them on as a paid employee down the line.

Reason Four - Cost-effective
Compared to other populations, Generation Y appears less motivated by money. According to a 2009 online survey conducted by Monster.com, 37% of employers report that "work/life balance and flexibility" is the most motivating factor for Gen Y, with only 17% claiming "compensation" as the primary driver.

Reason Five - Help with projects or tasks that you’re struggling to complete
An interested candidate takes on an internship in hopes of accomplishing something to use on their resume or in future interviews. Give them real, meaningful work that will help your organization run smoother, accomplish more, or be more successful. Just make sure you don’t violate the The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which states that “the employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees, and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded.” (Of course, you probably realize that if you’re not benefiting in some way, the intern likely isn’t either. I definitely think this law needs a serious update, which I take a shot at in my recent book, Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle.)

Reason Six - Self-expressive
In the Gen Y world, Twitter has taught them to express themselves. And while their parents would have shuddered at this type of sharing, the positive effect has been a group of prospective interns who aren't afraid to put ideas out there. In the workplace, this translates into unabashed brainstorming, generating new solutions and fresh perspectives.

Reason Seven - Gain brand advocates
Hiring an intern helps spread the word about your company—whether you mean to or not. If you’re an impressive internship supervisor and mentor, your interns will probably talk about their experience with peers, friends and family members, essentially advertising for your organization (but it’s free!).

Reason Eight - Intrapreneurship Programs
Study after study show that Gen Ys have an extremely strong entrepreneurial focus — with many planning to start their own businesses (partly so that they can control their own fate). Employers can retain workers longer — while leveraging that entrepreneurial sprit — by developing incubator and intrapreneurship programs and opportunities.