The youthful secret to a long-term staffing approach

As any CEO knows, one of the trickiest components of building a company is staffing the right team. Even when we think we’ve found our key players, we are disrupted when we implement change and there’s struggle to abide. Even the strongest team members might walk away when innovation replaces routine.

Keeping employees happy is a universal struggle within all companies and industries. This ongoing issue is expensive at a cost of precious time and growth potential. Although there is no magic formula to keep our employees from acting out there is a long-term strategy that can be applied within any industry to hinder these issues from arising.

What if I told you that implementing the right internship program can decrease your turnover rate? I’m not referring to interns that do administrative work and make coffee runs. I am talking about interns that you treat no differently than your $60,000-salaried employee. I’m talking about interns that invest their time into growing and improving your company, the interns that give everything they’ve got.

Mold the Moldable

How many times do you hire an employee with years of experience over a fresh face? I’m sure many would say, quite often as it can appear a safer course towards a job done well. We often fail to consider exactly how the job will get done. You can’t assume they’re going to adapt easily to how your company operates.

I’m sure we can also agree that when we have crucial changes in our company that our team might push back causing more disturbance than positive innovation. Yes hiring an intern for a C-level position seems crazy, but the long-term approach with interns should be to mold them into becoming that C-level employee you are constantly searching for.

Interns can be the most malleable employees at a company. Most are so thankful for an opportunity that they will embrace changes with greater ease. Also, they have little to no pre-existing experiences within the industry that whatever shots you call they can easily work with.

Feed the Hungry

How do you keep your employees motivated? From my experiences of being an intern for over two years to ultimately growing my company through an internship program, there is no one hungrier than a young professionals. Giving the newer workforce an opportunity (even class credit or minimum wage) is similar to how hard we work for our next big business breakthrough. If you find the right interns they might just end up working harder than most of your salaried employees. Their eagerness to learn is what makes them willing to go that extra mile to make a positive impact.

When I received my first internship at a medical marketing firm. I often give credit to that internship for changing my life because without that experience, I would not be writing to you today as a CEO.

At first, I knew nothing about medical or digital marketing, but I was eager to dive right in. Despite not receiving pay, I wanted to learn so badly that I showed up to work every day instead of the minimum two times a week. I was so grateful that they were willing to invest their time in me that I gave everything I had, even on weekends. I also invested out of pocket in courses to learn on my own outside of work to bring my best to the table.

After seeing the formula of a strong internship program, I realized I could build any company I wanted from scratch if I was able to find a hungry team. I knew I could provide insight and value desired to gain. This is exactly how I have managed to build my digital marketing company, starting at 21 years old, with zero outside funding.

See the possibility in giving those who are hungry a chance and think twice before quickly hiring someone just because they have experience.

Alicia Waldner is founder of ADventure Marketing in Tampa. Reach her at

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