7 People Interns Need To Meet To Be Successful

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Brittany Tilstra

Each summer, offices are greeted with the fresh, new faces of interns who are eager to learn, and college hires who are just starting out. And with fresh new faces, comes renewed energy for your whole team. It's on talent leaders and people managers to harness that new energy and facilitate valuable connections between early talent and the broader organization. A solid support network goes beyond the working team and in the next few paragraphs, we’ll cover exactly who your interns need to meet to be successful.

Great internships start before the official ‘First Day.’ To make an intern feel immediately welcome, send a celebratory email once the offer is confirmed and signed with an introduction to their manager. Even if they have already met during the interview process, do it again to celebrate their new journey with your company!

As well, have the intern’s manager introduce them to other members of their working team. Introductions ahead of day one can boost confidence and comfort levels when interacting with their new team. It's also helpful in avoiding information overload during onboarding.

Pro Tip: Ask the working team to reach out and introduce themselves with a personal note and a coffee chat invitation. Virtual coffee chats are great too if you have team members who are working remotely!.

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Next, have interns and new hires meet each other—even if they will be working in different departments. Connecting with others going through a similar experience can be a great source of encouragement and comfort. Depending on the size of your internship program, you can make individual introductions, create a group on a platform like LinkedIn or Slack, or host a networking event during the first week. The best outcome is that each of your interns meets at least 2 people they can have things in common with. Better yet? A life-long friend! When people have friends at work, they are more likely they are to have a positive experience and be productive.

Pro Tip: It’s likely that your internship program has moved online and interns are dialling-in from home. To host a networking event, start with a virtual keynote presentation from leadership that ends with thought-starters for conversation. Then use a tool that allows you to break a large group into smaller groups for more intimate conversation or pair people based on interests.

Already, this is a lot of people to meet before the end of a person's first week at a new company, but it’s crucial to show interns and new hires the community that they are a part of now. The next step is to open their eyes to the rest of the organization and the possibilities within it.

Internship programs are one of the best ways to find new talent. That’s why you need to introduce your interns to a recruiter who focuses on internal talent (perhaps that’s you!). This is especially important for larger organizations that have thousands of employees. As an intern, it can be challenging to grasp the number of career paths available and have visibility into how to navigate those opportunities. When you introduce an intern to a recruiter, they can find out about their options, learn how to apply, and overcome any feelings of imposter syndrome they may have.

The next introduction you need to make is to someone in executive leadership. This can be particularly difficult to coordinate because of the demands on executives’ time, so we recommend events like fireside chats and group Ask-Me-Anythings (easily facilitated online as well!). The ability to meet leadership can have a profound impact on early talent and connect them with the company mission and goals.

The final and possibly one of the most impactful introductions you can make for an intern is to the person with their dream job. Having a career role model can be incredibly motivating, even more so when an early hire can get face-time with that person. Of course, it takes time to understand the intern’s goals and interests to coordinate this kind of introduction, but this can be the difference between an average internship and a blockbuster internship.

Bonus introduction? Introduce your interns and new hires to a customer. Whether it’s sitting in on a client success call, visiting a branch, or spending a few days in customer care—connecting with customers is often the best way to understand the product or service itself.

The Breakdown: 

  • Direct Manager
  • Working Team
  • Fellow Interns and College Hires
  • Friend
  • Recruiter
  • Executive
  • Career Role Model
  • Customer

A strong internship program is only as strong as an intern's community. Want to help your early talent drive these introductions themselves? Get in touch.

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