Congratulations, by now you have probably completed the majority of your intern hiring (or almost)! But now what? Most of your interns don’t start work for another two months. Undoubtedly you have lots to do to prepare for their arrival but often this work is internal preparation and there are not a lot of opportunities (or need) to communicate with your hires until just before their start date. Aside from the random questions about housing options and dress code, what can you do to keep your intern hires engaged and not suffer from prolonged radio silence on both sides? Here are some suggestions our consultants have seen in action and wanted to share. Whether you chose to do one, two, or several of these things, we think it’s a good idea to plan a few official touch points to help fill the potential communication gap.
Ideas on how to stay connected with your intern hires between when they accept your offer and their start date:
- Intern Class Introduction Email: Once you have completed your intern hiring, sending an introductory email to everyone joining for the summer is a nice way to start some camaraderie among the group. Interns, especially those relocating for the summer, often reach out to each other about potential housing options. Just be sure to ask permission from each person to share their personal email address with the larger group.
- Housing Options Email: Speaking of housing options, if your company does not offer housing for the summer interns, sharing some suggestions about where to look for housing can be very helpful and well received. If you have not done this in the past, check to see if local colleges and universities rent out dorm rooms during the summer, or if there are websites that people in the area typically use to advertise rentals and sublets. (InternHousing.com is a great resource.)
- Phone Call from Managers: Task your hiring managers with picking up the phone and calling their intern just to say hello and reiterate how excited they are for the intern to be (re-)joining the team this summer. You can even provide a few bullet points about the summer program to make it really easy for managers to place the call.
- Summer Calendar: Once you have finalized your summer program calendar, it’s nice to share some highlights to help get the interns excited about what is in-store for them in the coming months. Information can include orientation/onboarding schedule and key dates for events that may be taking place after hours, on weekends, or may involve significant others. Giving the interns a heads-up on these dates is much appreciated when they are planning their summer.
- Pre-Hire Paperwork Email: Whether your interns can complete all of their pre-hire paperwork online or need to print and bring materials with them on the first day, an email detailing out everything they need to do is a must. Otherwise you will have a lot of follow-up work after their first day. A reminder about employment verification paperwork (i.e. I-9 documentation) is essential. How many times have you had interns calling their parents to overnight their passport because they thought a photocopy would suffice?
- Company Meeting or Event: If appropriate, consider inviting the interns to attend a company meeting or social event prior to their start date. This is a great way for interns to reconnect with hiring managers and learn more about the company including perhaps: future plans, strategic initiatives, and organizational culture.
- Exam Kits: Who doesn’t like a box of brownies or other yummy treats to share with their friends and help them through studying for exams? Sending a little goodie box and a “good luck with exams” note is a very thoughtful way to stay connected with your soon-to-be interns.
- Social Media Sites: Creating a social media site for your intern class where they can communicate and get to know each other a little before starting work is a definite nice to have. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Hangout are a few good options and will allow you to create private pages/groups and invite the interns to join. Just remember, if you do choose to do this, you should designate someone to moderate the site and respond to any questions/content directed towards your company.
We hope you find these suggestions useful and good luck bridging the gap,
Your Friends at CSP