By: Jon P. Yankee, MBA, CFP®
The practice management literature tells advisors to leverage their time more effectively through the use of interns or other part-time/seasonal assistance. But it seldom provides advice on the implementation of internship: where to find good interns, how to keep a talented intern busy with productive work, or how to properly compensate them.
Whether you are a sole practitioner or a large firm with multiple advisors, a solid internship program can add significant value to the quality of work your business produces. It is also a way to give back; a good internship program can be invaluable to these future planners, and it can help them better experience and define their career aspirations. In addition, interns can increase your capacity to continue business growth or can enable you to carve out additional free time for yourself – whatever personal and/or business goals you may have.
Among other things, an internship gives you the ability to get a 2- to 3-month look at someone in the context of your company culture and a professional atmosphere without the initial financial commitment of a full-time employee. The rigors of working every day and the pressures of working in a potentially stressful profession – giving important advice to people who need it – are the types of situations that can truly give you a sense of how someone would fit in with your organization and culture.
The most valuable experience the intern will gain is the ability to interact with our clients. It is one thing to prepare materials for a meeting. But to see how those materials are presented in a meeting and to understand how an advisor interacts with his or her clients is not something that can be learned in a textbook or a classroom. Be sure your clients are comfortable having the intern in their meeting; ask for permission in advance and when the intern is not present.
The most important aspect of a summer internship program is to give students truly valuable and meaningful responsibilities within your firm. Many intern candidates now have the technical training to take on tasks that you might first have thought were too big. Trust them and challenge them. The rewards of an effective internship program greatly outweigh the associated risks and costs, providing you a wonderful opportunity not only to utilize and reward capable talent, but also to give back to this extremely important profession.
**For a copy of the Fox, Joss & Yankee White Paper entitled “Implementing Internships”, please contact Lisa Crafford through the FJY website: www.fjyfinancial.com.