For employers, extending offers to interns no matter what time of year is only half the battle in retaining the incoming class of temporary new hires. In a competitive workforce, it's not uncommon for interns to renege on accepted offers in hopes of finding something better. While sometimes this can be attributed to finding opportunities that better align with their long-term career goals, a lot of the time interns renege out of a lack of engagement with their future employers. In fact, a recent survey found that 56.2 percent of students are still open to talking to other companies after accepting an internship offer. So, what can companies do to keep their interns warm until the start of their internship? Here's what employers need to know.
Step 1: Communicate, communicate, communicate
It may seem obvious, but simple emails, newsletters, or other forms of internal company communications go a long way in keeping interns interested and excited about the start of their internship. A big part of the internship experience for interns is feeling integrated into the company culture and with their team. Considering most internships don't start until an average of eight months after the initial offer is extended, employers should aim to over-communicate rather than under-communicate with their interns. Consider implementing bi-weekly newsletters or sharing welcome videos from leaders or members of team they'll be working with.
- Create Unique Chat Channels for New Hires - As the newest hires, interns need guidance from team members on the most basic company intricacies. Things like: where the kitchen is, to upcoming outings, to general company advice are a good way for more established team members to interact with interns and establish a good rapport before the first day of work.
Step 2: Send Company Swag
This is an exciting time for interns, as it’s often the first time they’re venturing out into the workforce prior to graduation. Sending swag bags to new hires is a good way to create hype around your brand and encourage a feeling of belonging to help interns feel like they're an integral part of the company.
- Mail Care Packages - Remember that interns are still in school and continue to have school-related responsibilities. Consider dropping off care packages with a combination of company swag, cookies, and other school supplies in the mail during finals week. The personal effort goes a long way here.
Step 3: Organize Q&As with Company Leadership
One of the main objectives for an intern is learning new skills and gaining enough insights into their future roles and careers. Having company leadership interact with interns allows them to ask questions while nurturing and maintaining initial enthusiasm about the upcoming internship.
- Extend an Invite for Interns to Observe a Meeting - As an intern, interactions with senior team members can sometimes feel intimidating. By allowing interns to observe meetings, they get a chance to understand company culture and strategy, by seeing how other team members interact with leadership and conduct internal meetings.
Step 4: Start Onboarding Early
Although necessary, onboarding tasks can be tedious for both interns and employers. However, by getting a head start on them, interns get excited at the prospect of officially becoming part of the company and it helps keep everything organized for everyone. By auto-populating interns’ calendars with training sessions, upcoming meetings, and company-wide events, employers reiterate that they’re joining an active community and continue to foster a feeling of belonging among new hires as they get acclimated to the company. It also helps to include new hires into active Slack channels or Teams channels from the beginning to introduce themselves to the rest of the team, always reiterating that they don't have to do anything until their start date.
- Schedule a pre-boarding hangout - Informal get-together to fill out paperwork, meet the HR team, and interact with staff are a great way to initiate new hires into the company while getting administrative tasks done. Short get-to-know-you chats are a great way to build community before the first day of work.
Step 5: Run Spotlights on Company Interns
As a company, it’s important to show interns how proud you are to have them on your team and how excited you are for them to officially start their internship. While much of the focus is on having interns get to know their team, it’s equally important for the company to get to know them and learn more about their future co-workers.
- Have an "Intern of the Week" - Try selecting interns at random for an “Intern of the Week” spotlight and have the interns write a few sentences about who they are and what brought them to the company. These spotlights are often conversation starters that can prompt team members to reach out to the interns and introduce themselves.
About Symplicity Recruit
Symplicity Recruit is the premier early talent recruiting platform used by over 600,000 employers. Key features include centralized management of job postings across a network of over 600 academic institutions, a filterable resume database, and the ability to directly message students. Contact us to learn more.