Making Internships Great Again Through Volunteering

In order to engage interns and derive maximum value from their time at work, internships need to look beyond simple college credit and/or a paycheck.

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Minions and wish-granting genies may not exist, but who needs them when we’ve got interns to do our bidding, right? Not anymore, we live in a time when both organizations and interns are seeking to derive greater value from internships than fetching coffee and running errands. Interns today share a value-driven relationship with the organizations that hire them. In the US alone, over 70% of employers offer their interns full-time jobs, and up to 80% of them accept those offers. Today’s internship market is competitive, and high-caliber candidates aren’t looking for jobs making copies—they want real-world experience that will help them develop core professional and life skills. 

Since July 28th happens to be National Intern’s Day, it’s worth examining how we can make the internship experience even more rewarding and enriching. We need to reevaluate this facet of internships periodically because they offer a way to bring in fresh perspectives and create a pipeline for new hires. Research shows that new employees with good onboarding experience are 18X more committed to their employer and stay longer with the company. By treating every internship as a precursor to the employee onboarding process, companies can attract a diverse, young, and dynamic workforce. 

46.2% of Millennials and Gen-Z, the demographics that make up this dynamic workforce, believe internships are more valuable in a post-COVID world. Therefore in order to engage these interns and derive maximum value from their time at work internships need to look beyond simple college credit and/or a paycheck.

One solution is creating well-rounded programs with meaningful experiences that help interns grow personally and contribute to society are the solution. 

Empowering interns to make positive contributions at work and in society can groom them for a seamless transition into full-time employees. Using an organization’s culture and values as an anchor can attract the right kind of talent because at the end of the day, job skills can be taught, but culture, values, and ethics cannot.

Creating a great onboarding experience for your remote interns is no small feat for organizations offering virtual and hybrid internships. Here are three key points to consider to add value from day one. 

Start on day one:

The first day should always be more about the culture to make a real impact than the red-tape of admin tasks. While these tasks are critical, engaging with interns emotionally or personally shows them that they will be working with a company that cares. 

Keep the momentum going:

While onboarding sets the stage for the internship, you don’t want to start with a super fun first week and then drop the ball for the rest of the program. This internship isn’t just a career choice but also an important life decision. The intern should feel like this would be a great place to work, enriching their lives holistically and setting them up for a meaningful future.

Consider engaging interns through volunteering and social good:

An employee volunteering or giving program can be a valuable asset to help interns feel engaged and welcome at work.  Programs like these also let interns interact with full-time employees to understand the organization’s culture better. 

Use cases that advocate for this are AirBnB, which requires new employees and interns to undertake a volunteering or social-good project, and FedEx, where National Intern Day is celebrated through in-person volunteering that allows volunteers to make an impact and network company-wide.

How can Goodera help you create a meaningful and impact-oriented internship?

Goodera provides a seamless, single-point-of-contact method to facilitate in-person and hybrid volunteering during an internship. Rather than have internship coordinators and HR managing the multiple touchpoints and logistics, Gooderal can create a host of plug-and-play, meaningful and fun activities for your teams.

These activities cover a range of social causes that will resonate with interns. Some of the activities on offer include creating cards that inspire and encourage LGBTQIA+ youth, motivating young BIPOC kids to take up careers in STEM by creating digital posters, and learning sign language to record a positive message for deaf and hard of hearing children.

A great way to show interns how much they matter is by celebrating National Intern Day which falls on the 28th of July this year. Goodera’s curated opportunities let you volunteer along with your interns to support causes that bring you together. After all, the best modern internships thrive on a symbiotic addition of value. Think of it as a trickle-down effect that will eventually let you reap the benefits of employee loyalty and retention. To paraphrase the famous quote, ‘add the value you wish to see added to your corporate world.’

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