4 Reasons Why Externship Programs Are Good for Business

You probably already know what you’re up against when keeping your teams fully staffed. The number of jobs that need to be filled continues to rise. And, there’s a frustrating shortage of skilled candidates and externs. Turnover is up, job satisfaction is down, and organizations can’t seem to find any answers. Especially, when it comes to externship programs, or the benefit of working with externs.

The result is a fierce competition for talent — fueled by a rapidly evolving workforce — that forces hiring managers to exhaust a significant amount of their resources (time, money, and energy) just to keep their teams from collapsing under the pressure.

  • How much time? Roughly 49 days to fill just one vacancy. (And by the time that role gets filled, three employees submit their resignations.)
  • How much money? We’re talking anywhere between $10k and $20k for every open position, with no guarantee they’ll ever see a return on their investment.
  • How much energy? Nearly 80% of healthcare workers say they’re currently experiencing some degree of burnout.

Perhaps that’s why more and more companies are discovering the benefits of externship programs.

Bringing in a local extern gives employers an opportunity to shape them for future employment.

And, see how they engage with current staff and management, and assess their abilities — all to significantly reduce hiring costs and increase retention.

What is an externship program?

It’s a way for participants to connect their career interests to the workplace, get firsthand experience, and learn how organizations operate. Most externship programs are short-term and typically required for specific certifications within the healthcare industry. And while the purpose of an externship program is similar to that of an internship (to provide on-the-job training, resume-building experience, exposure to the workplace, and career networking opportunities), there are a few fundamental differences between the two:

Two vector images of Allied Health professionals. The one on the left is an intern, and has the benefits of an internship listed. The one on the right is an extern, and has the benefits of an externship listed.

The Value and Benefit of Externship Programs

If retention, hiring, and employee engagement are top priorities for your business, there’s undeniable value in kickstarting an externship program. You’ll give the incoming workforce critical experience while gaining greater insight into what your organization needs to keep moving forward. The benefits of working with externs is substantial.

As we’ve sifted through the data, we’ve found that companies see the benefit of externs in four crucial areas. Let’s review in greater detail:

1. Evaluate skill levels and assess culture fit.

How often do you get to see a potential candidate in action before you make them a job offer? This is your opportunity to gain insights into how applicants think, behave, and respond in real-world situations. Even the best interviewers have to admit this is a better approach than asking about someone’s greatest strengths and weaknesses.

So why not bring in externs hungry for experience and teach them how your organization runs — then offer them a job if they fit the mold? It’s a low-risk, high-reward opportunity to test this new working relationship and assess if incoming talent can help you and your team meet company goals. This is one of the most valuable benefits an extern can bring.

2. Shape externs to become full-time hires.

Did you know some of the largest companies in the world have either an internship or externship program and bring on more than 3,000 young professionals every year? Treating externs as potential full-time hires will not only improve their personal motivation and work ethic but also save your time and money as you build your team.

Moreover, the odds of regretting your decision to bring top-performing externs aboard are incredibly low. In one survey, 90% of companies that offer full-time employment to interns or externs are highly satisfied with the decision.

3.Strengthen company culture.

Studies show that a toxic culture is ten times more meaningful than compensation when an employee decides to leave their job. (Further substantiating the idea that a high salary doesn’t always equal high job satisfaction.) If team members don’t feel safe, supported, and comfortable, chances are that you’ll never keep your team fully staffed — regardless of how much you’re paying them.

But when you bring in fresh, new faces with unique perspectives — and develop processes for training them — you’re also defining internal processes and providing career development opportunities that make employees (regardless of tenure) feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. You create a culture that uplifts and supports each employee as they develop their skills and pursue career opportunities.

4.Develop mentoring and leadership opportunities.

You’ve probably found that a great number of current employees are looking for upward mobility. In fact, in a recent poll, 94% of employees said they would stay with their company longer if it invested in their career development.

Mentoring entry-level employees as they learn the ins and outs of your organization is an exciting way for more experienced team members to prove they’re ready for the next step in their careers. It’s a two-way street, too. An additional benefit of this is externs can actually teach more ambitious professionals a lot about what it means to be a strong leader and guide others by sharing their expertise and teaching new skills.

By giving your employees opportunities to train externs, your company is gaining future team managers and supervisors.

Discover Exceptional Talent

Of course, we get that you only want to bring in the best and brightest, even if it’s just for the length of a short externship. You understand that these unseasoned professionals can help your business grow by bringing something new to the table: new skills, new perspectives, and new energy. And you know that the next great extern could become your next great employee.

But finding the best talent isn’t easy.

The Carrus Talent Discovery platform is designed to help you build a workforce pipeline full of high-performing workers that you can mold to fit your needs.

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