Creating a Successful Remote Internship Program

Ensuring your interns remain engaged is an important element in talent pipeline success.

January 05, 2021

To create internship experiences that are beneficial and enticing to interns, top companies are incorporating the following components into their internship programs:

1. Regularly-Scheduled Networking Chats

One essential component of any internship is relationship building. Interns meet and get to know employees within the company they are interning for and other interns working with them. Establishing regularly-scheduled (once or twice a week) networking chats for interns will allow them to strengthen their social and networking skills and learn more about the people they may end up working alongside if re-hired. Additionally, interns can seek advice about the industry they may want to work in and get practical help from professionals who are already well-established in this desired industry.

2. A Portfolio of Intern Work

Providing interns with a tangible portfolio of their work is valuable to both interns and management. Interns will be grateful to the company to have something to show for their hard work and to demonstrate their experience in future applications, resumes, and interviews. Talent acquisition will also gain value from these portfolios, being able to track and remember each intern’s contributions when it comes time to hire.

3. An Accurate Display of Company Culture

Part of the purpose of creating an internship program for any given company is to train and have access to a pool of competitive applicants for full-time hires. To successfully persuade an intern to remain with a company full-time, companies should focus on promoting their company culture positively and accurately to interns. At the beginning of the internship program, human resources employees should speak in detail about workplace values and culture and outline specific examples of how the day-to-day office reflects these. Additionally, the interns should be offered adequate support continuously throughout the internship, including stress management, time off, and physical and mental health check-ins, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interns should complete an internship feeling valued, empowered, and respected, desiring to remain with a given company.

4. Tangible Goals for the Internship Program and Each Individual Intern

To facilitate an internship program that benefits your interns and company as a whole, work with interns to develop detailed goals for each individual and the intern group as a whole. Communicate to interns during their training what their daily and weekly expectations will be as well as long term goals and skills they hope to gain. Setting up this structure ahead of time will leave them feeling accomplished and wanting to come back to work for the company again. Your company will also emerge from the program having gained valuable work and insights from the interns.

Establish a strong and attractive internship program at your own company by incorporating these structures and paying attention to detail. Utilize effective internship management software to keep track of intern work and give them continual feedback. Empower your interns and allow them to take ownership of their work and experiences.