Forget those energy drinks to re-invigorate your workplace. Try hiring an intern!

Combining bright-eyed, fresh-faced enthusiasm with an unquenchable thirst to learn, interns can be as beneficial to a business as the experience they gain through their internships. They can shake up the status quo with their edgy, idealistic attitudes and questioning minds.

We have first-hand experience at LSI at just how valuable interns can be. Our internship program spans the world and attracts the best and brightest students who are looking for challenging assignments and an invigorating work environment. This year alone, we’ve had 120 interns at LSI locations scattered around the globe.

Tapping universities for talent
A strong internship program such as the one we have at LSI helps build long-term relationships with universities and creates a pipeline for future talent. Interns who work for us have an opportunity to evaluate our business and culture, and we’re given the opportunity to see if they’re a good fit within our working environment. As a result, the process results in many of our interns coming to work for us.

By having interns in the workplace, you’re creating a portal to unique cultural and generational aspects, not to mention a fresh perspective that they inherently bring with them. A prime example is their expertise with social media. They have a firm grasp on how new-age communication vehicles such as Twitter and Facebook can have a positive and forceful impact on how we do business.

And what do interns gain from their experiences with us? They have a chance to see what it’s like to work in a corporate environment and be part of a team. They develop core competencies that compliment the knowledge they gain in the classroom. And they have the opportunity to apply that classroom knowledge in real-life working situations.

Commitment by supervisors is key
It’s important to point out that you need supervisors who are committed to an internship program and are driven to make it succeed, both from the student and company perspectives. They need to be cognizant of such things as matching an intern’s skill set with projects and assignments, and ensuring they’re given adequate time and resources to complete their work. An effective internship environment also requires sufficient planning and hands-on guidance from supervisors.

For the past few years, U.S.-based interns have participated in an annual contest that showcases the work they’ve done while at LSI. Three finalists are chosen from a pool of dozens of applicants to make formal presentations to our executive leadership. And for the first time, we’ve introduced this concept to China and India with resounding results. Our leaders are amazed at how poised and professional the interns are during their presentations.

LSI interns weigh in
I’m proud to say that our interns gain invaluable experience when they come to work for us. But don’t take my word for it. One of our summer interns, Brianna Robinson, provided her perspective on what it was like to work at LSI with a guest blog she wrote for this website in August.

“I knew there would be a lot to learn, but what I did not know and discovered soon enough was just how genuinely welcoming and helpful all the people are at LSI. They insisted there is no such thing as a stupid question and made me feel like my contributions mattered. Not only does LSI run a successful business, but it also maintains a great company culture.”

Brianna noted that interns weren’t just given busy work while at LSI.

“Some intern assignments included verifying design codes of storage/networking chips, testing chip reliability and endurance, creating/testing URLs, redesigning website content/design, and much more! My role was in corporate communications, where I collaborated with LSI’s busy public/analyst relations team on a variety of tasks including drafting press releases, preparing media target lists, assisting in presentation preparations, and conducting research,” Brianna wrote.

Mixing play with work
That’s not to say that our interns don’t have fun while they’re with us. Erin Zebertavage, our global college program manager who oversees the internship program, notes that every location that hosts interns has at least one light-hearted activity for them during their stay. Activities include attending minor league baseball games and amusement parks.

“This past summer, our interns had a friendly competition,” Erin says. “They strategically placed water bottles they received from LSI in photos they took of all the cool places where they were out and about. Prizes were awarded for best photos. They were very creative and quite competitive!”

Whether they’re in the workplace or just having fun, we strive to give every one of your interns a memorable and enriching experience. Again, I think Brianna’s own words sum it up best:

“Overall, my internship at LSI has been an incredibly rewarding and enlightening experience. I made some great friends and developed valuable business skills to apply in future career opportunities.”

Remember to mind your P’s and Q’s
It’s important to point out that our internship program has strict guidelines to protect participants from being overworked, as was recently the case involving a large bank’s operations in England. It’s unfortunate that these situations occur, and companies need to be diligent in preventing such abuses within their internship programs.

There’s really nothing like hands-on experience to broaden a student’s mind and show them what work life is like in the real world. It brings a balance to their education and, as Brianna pointed out, provides valuable business skills that they can’t get in the classroom. In exchange, companies get a fresh perspective and a hefty dose of energy and enthusiasm. Who could ask for more from an internship program?

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