How to Foster a Successful Remote Internship Program

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Over the past few months, many full-time employees have had to adjust to remote working environments due to COVID-19. While this changes the course of business for the foreseeable future, it’s not just full-time employees who have to adjust to the work-from-home environment; internships are adjusting, too, with many going fully virtual or being eliminated entirely.

For example, companies like Bank of America (BoA) and Morgan Stanley opted to shift their internship programs to a virtual model. Although their virtual programs easily transition projects originally slated for their in-person internships, the challenge for BoA and similar companies will be creating an experience that entices interns to return for full-time positions.

As the summer comes to an end, many HR leaders are likely asking themselves how to apply what they learned from the first iteration of remote work to create a successful fall internship program. With one in three employees reporting they have felt disconnected from their company’s culture and peers during the pandemic, the success of virtual internship programs begins, and ends, with engagement.

Create a Culture of Recognition

Starting a new job can be both an exciting and a nerve-racking experience for many employees. Now, imagine the amplified emotions of an intern starting a new job virtually and during a pandemic. On top of this added stress, 73% of Generation Z workers aged 18 to 22—the most common age range for interns—report they sometimes or always feel alone. For this reason, it is crucial for these young professionals to feel connected and engaged when signing off at the end of day 1 on the job.

To accomplish this, HR leaders and internship program coordinators must create a culture of recognition. Recognition is a leading driver of engagement, as 90% of workers are motivated to work harder when they receive recognition—and interns are no exception.

In fact, I would argue these young professionals need more support and recognition than ever before. As new workers in the corporate environment, implementing a recognition system will help them feel motivated and committed to the company.

Gather Feedback Quickly

With any new program or transition, businesses should have a strategy in place to collect feedback on the process to determine what is and is not working so improvements can be made. Especially in this case, ignorance is not bliss; HR leaders need to keep interns’ perspective in mind if they are truly invested in their success. With 85% of employees worldwide reporting they are not engaged or are actively disengaged in their jobs, soliciting feedback from the intern class of 2020 workforce is pertinent to running a successful program…

Source: HR Daily Advisor

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