Last week two students entered the doors at our office for the first time - students we have just hired from Technical University of Denmark to help us expand the amount of active project, we can run at the same time.
Over the years we've seen how students affect the company in a positive way. That's the reason why our students in general participate in projects on equal terms with our full time engineers - and don't make anymore coffee than everyone else.
We have a strong feeling that our new student assistants will succeed in growing the business as well - and here is a few key reason why:
1: Inexperienced but hungry
Quite naturally students doesn't have a lot of practical experience in their field - but they are both competent and hungry for achieving.
The hunger combined with a lower wage makes space to let the students work creatively on project, ideas and processes for a little longer than we normally would allow.
As a company we invest time and money in a lot of young projects, where the end result isn't decided when we start. Getting students to use a little more time to explore the possibilities for a product sometimes take the project somewhere new, unforeseen and exiting.
2: Students boost innovation
Lolle & Nielsen Inventions is still a quite young business, which means our team haven't had the time to fall completely behind the freshest knowledge in our field.
Nevertheless the students we hire bring new ideas and theories from the university, and still have a link to the university-environment, which is a valuable source for inputs that boost our innovation.
At the same time they are minded for learning, which is an important part of our culture.
3: Testing and getting talent in the pipeline
Hiring students makes a great pipeline for talent. By hiring students we get to know the person as well as their skills. At the same time it's a great way to test new competence-fields inside the company before hiring full time - we've hired engineers in different fields as well as marketing-people this way.
Up until now we've succeeded in creating new jobs as the company is growing, which means we get to keep talent who knows the company, the culture and their co-workers inside-out. The right students gives a competitive advantage - both short- and long term.
Student assistants working alongside full time engineers in an idea workshop for a new project of ours.
Make the most of it
Students consistently impact the projects we make, and they've done so ever since we started hiring in 2013. For instance the OPLØFT-concept was partly matured and constructed by student assistants, and students had an important share in raising $60.000 for the project on Kickstarter as well.
Hiring students has become an essential part of our business, but at the same time we won't hire too many. We need to make sure that we have the resources to accommodate them and give them adequate guidance and support - for their as well as our own sake. In practice we do this by never having more students than full-time engineers.
The lower wages was one of the reason why we decided to hire students as our first employees back in 2013, and it admittedly still is a good reason to do so, but - at least in our experience - you're missing out on the full potential, if students are just hired as a cheap way to get grunt tasks and coffee made.