Succession planning is an integral part of your company’s talent management strategy. Creating career paths for employees helps to ensure the continued success of your company as a whole. However, it’s easy to focus on senior leadership succession planning, and forget to plan for advancements—and exits—throughout the rest of the organization.  A strong internship program can alleviate this imbalance and benefit your overall succession planning in the following ways.

It accounts for generational workplace shifts

The youngest members of the Baby Boomer generation are turning 54 this year — and they also account for just under 30 percent of the total U.S. workforce. As this demographic group approaches retirement, it’s vital to establish a strategy to fill the subsequent vacancies. Internship programs offer a solution to any anticipated succession gaps as current employees advance in the organization. By investing in an intern program, your organization’s pipeline becomes filled with highly qualified job seekers who are more familiar and interested in your company when it’s time to fill open roles.

Learn more about the importance of investing in an internship program in, From Intern to Employee: How to Invest in Next Gen Talent.

It creates flexibility

Succession—by definition—can only happen if you have someone to fill the role left vacant by another employee’s advancement. Companies can quickly become stagnant if they are unable to fill lower-level roles. Internship programs alleviate that burden by creating a network of qualified and vetted candidates capable of stepping into a role in which they have already gained first-hand experience. Knowing you have a talented new hire to take the place of a promoted employee makes back-filling open roles as a result of well-earned promotions, easier.

It reduces turnover

Time-to-hire is a benchmark of success in the talent acquisition industry. If it takes your organization too long to backfill positions, your succession planning strategy could suffer. This could result in delayed internal growth if there isn’t a focus on filling the resulting open roles, which could encourage employees to leave for external growth opportunities. Internship programs create a robust talent pipeline of individuals ready to step into a full-time position. This resource allows your team to fill roles quickly, to lessen the risk of turnover.

It encourages cultural fit

Spending 12 to 14 weeks at an organization is enough to help most people decide whether or not they are a cultural fit. Internship programs help indoctrinate potential new hires into your culture, to avoid any big surprises that could potentially occur when hiring a candidate you found from an outside source.