HR Management & Compliance

How Can You Grow the Next Generation of Employees?

Internship programs give employers opportunities to educate up-and-coming top performers and gain first-hand knowledge of how a particular individual would perform in his or her organization.

Growing interest

Competition for internship programs can be stiff, with interested college students far outnumbering available internships at some companies. For example, Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., ( received résumés from hundreds of students from across the country and selected 21 students for its 2013 summer internship program, The Next Step, at its Fairfield, Iowa, office.

“We received résumés from 600 applicants, a 50 percent increase from a year ago, and we are experiencing great success in attracting highly motivated and well-rounded college students to the home office,” says Amy Webber, Cambridge’s president. “Cambridge provides an excellent learning opportunity for our interns to work alongside senior management as they foster the next generation of successful associates, creating tomorrow’s financial industry leaders.”

The 10-week, paid summer internship program at Chelmsford, Massachusetts-based Kronos Incorporated ( has grown over the past few years—from 18 interns in 2009 to more than 50 from over 30 universities in 2013.

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Valuable experience

Internship programs offer valuable experience and insight to college students. Cambridge’s program is aimed at teaching interns about specific departmental positions and giving them an overview of the financial services industry and the company itself. “Our intent is for them to have a broad understanding of what an independent broker-dealer is and does by the end of their internship,” Webber explains.

Cambridge interns take Cambridge Knowledge Center classes, such as Broker-dealer 101, Attitudes of Emerging Leaders, and Résumé Training. They also network with full-time associates who started as interns and benefit from a panel discussion about transitioning from college to the workforce.

Kronos interns are paired with a mentor and gain valuable hands-on work experience, according to the company. They have the chance to interact with company leaders and collaborate on small-group projects. A variety of professional social networking events, including volunteerism and sporting events, helps them connect with Kronos employees. This past summer, many interns competed in a series of fun office challenges, including the “Kronos corn hole toss,” “swivel chair relay race,” “memory slalom,” and “rubber band shootout.”

At the end of their internship, Kronos interns make a formal presentation, outlining how they contributed to improving the company and how they plan to apply their internship experience to their school work or future goals.

“It is our responsibility to provide the next generation workforce with an inspiring work experience that fosters personal growth and prepares them for the launch of their career,” said Aron Ain, chief executive officer of Kronos. “We see the internship program as a way for us to give back and help create a secure future for the next generation workforce. We are inspired by the knowledge, fresh ideas, and enthusiasm students bring to Kronos, and we are thrilled to share our experiences and corporate culture with tomorrow’s leaders.”

“From the moment the students walk through the door, we consider them ‘Kronites,’” said Dave Almeda, chief people officer at Kronos. “We provide a meaningful and rewarding work experience blended with fun and team building … an internship that builds their skill sets as they prepare to join the working world.”

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Recruiting opportunities

In addition to providing college students with hands-on training opportunities, internship programs can be an effective recruiting tool for employers, since many employers hire interns into full-time positions after they graduate from college.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, we look at a survey that asks whether college prepares students for the working world, and we explore a comprehensive online library of courses that train on dozens of key HR topics.

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