From Interns to Full-Time Employees: What Can You Offer to Retain New Grads

Interns to Employees: What Can You Offer to Retain New Grads

Business owners and brands spend thousands on their internship programs. To make the most of this investment, you need a way to convert your interns into full-time employees.

Interns turned full-time employees are already trained in company procedures when they begin. They’re also familiar with their colleagues and can develop into excellent company assets over time.

Talented fresh graduates have plenty of offers to pick from, and ensuring they return to your company largely depends on their experience during the internship. Your goal is to build productive interns that are loyal after the program ends.

To help you do that, we’ve listed nine things you can offer to interns to convince them to come back after graduation.

1. Build Relationships

Workplace culture plays a major role when new grads are deciding where to work. If you offer a pleasant work culture with supportive colleagues and managers, there’s a higher chance they’ll want to come back. Build relationships with them early on and tell them how your company can foster their career development. Inform them of potential job openings in the future so they can prepare in advance and apply when the time comes.

2. Offer Membership Support

Keep interns engaged and help with their career ambitions by paying for memberships to academic subscription services like StuDocu. Programs like these help interns succeed in college, gain new skills, and become better employees in the long run.

By supporting their academic success, you position yourself as more than just an employer. You’re humanizing the company and offering a better internship experience. Graduates don’t want to be stuck at a dead-end job with little to no prospects; they want to grow. Support this growth via training and sponsorships.

3. Provide Student Loan Support

A student loan is often a big concern for college students. You can boost your retention rates and stop interns from going to another company by offering to pay for their student loans or provide student loan support in exchange for a contract that keeps them at your organization long term.

Student loan support gives employees a reason to stay with your company, and your organization is guaranteed a proficient full-time staff member after graduation. This, in turn, can reduce recruitment costs, which really start to add up over time.

4. Use An HR Platform

Regardless of the size of your business, there’s likely a mix of full-time and temporary employees. Manually keeping track of all of these people can become chaotic quickly.


A scattered HR system makes it harder to retain talented interns, whereas a unified HR platform can make employee management effortless. When you can track all your interns and their queries in one place, providing efficient and timely answers becomes effortless.

Improved HR practices create a transparent and open organization where the interns are informed, engaged, and invested.

5. Be Flexible

Creating a flexible, welcoming workplace is vital to the employee experience. It helps retain current top talent and attract workers from younger generations. In a LinkedIn study, 77 percent of companies said they were investing in employee experience to boost retention.

6. Assign Mentors

On a related note, having a point person who can answer doubts and provide guidance can help boost intern engagement. This is why you should assign a mentor to every intern.

Shadowing and learning from an experienced industry professional is important for the growth and development of interns. A good mentor can do more for a graduate than a basic training program.

7. Offer Company Stock

A more traditional route to supplement intern compensation packages is to offer company stock. Many young employees are interested in stock trading apps that they can use to invest and boost their financial standing. Therefore, company stock is once again an exciting incentive for new employees

Offering stock keeps employees invested in your company’s success since they own a fraction of your business. It gives them a reason to contribute to your organization’s growth while also showing that you value them.

Pro-tip: When offering financial benefits to your young employees such as stock options and 401k matching, you may want to recommend that they seek out personal finance software or professional financial advising. It is always a good idea to have a well thought out financial plan to start building your net worth early in your career.

8. Help With Networking

Every business owner was probably an entrepreneur at some point. Show your interns that you’re interested in their career development by providing them with opportunities to network within the industry.

Entrepreneurial endeavors from interns are not a threat. On the contrary, they show the intern’s passion in their field. By showing support and thereby enabling them to build their dreams, you’ll get loyalty in return.

Networking can be as simple as inviting interns to attend industry seminars, introducing them to senior employees, or taking them along during client meetings.

Supporting business ideas can also be an excellent way for businesses with limited financial resources to attract the best new graduates. Rather than simply offering money, you can provide networking opportunities and first-hand knowledge.

9. Get The Basics Right

If your intern-to-full-time-employee funnel is dry, it’s time to re-examine the basics. 

Ask yourself: 

  • Is the compensation fair?
  • Are there adequate development opportunities? 
  • Do the interns feel valued during their program?
  • Is the interns’ work being recognized and appreciated? 

A common mistake that plagues many organizations is giving interns menial grunt work. While this is fine at the beginning of the internship, you must eventually trust them with actual work that helps with their development.

Work-life balance is another common area where companies falter. Interns have to juggle their work, study, and social lives. Don’t add to their stress levels with a poor work-life balance. A recent report by Sleep Advisor highlighted that over 70 percent of students are sleep deprived, and students who got more sleep performed better academically.

Instead, offer flexible work options, limit their work times, and check in with them to see what is important to them and how you can help with their priorities.

The days of interns being part-time help are long gone. A valued intern with great professional skills returning full-time to your organization can significantly benefit the company. 

Good internship programs are excellent for attracting and retaining top talent. By investing time and effort into these nine tips, you’ll increase your chances of retaining the best and brightest of your interns for full-time roles with your business.

Group Wateringflowers

See how Namely's flexible solution will help you streamline your HR processes by having your people, payroll, and benefits info all in on place.

Get a demo

Get the latest news from Namely about HR, Payroll, and Benefits.

CTA Image Rocket
CTA Image Mobile