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March Roundtable Recap: Prep for Interns

by Addie Linn | Mar 29, 2021

Let’s get real. Passing the one-year anniversary of living in the “new normal” hit hard but we’ve got to stay positive, people! Vaccines are rolling out, spring is finally here and your office, or “office,” is soon to be filled with summer interns again. 

Maybe you scrapped your program last year and are starting totally fresh. Cheers to new beginnings! Maybe you struggled to keep interns engaged throughout the summer of 2020 but hey, you still made it happen! 

Whatever went down last year, it was a learning experience. We’ve been saying for months, 2020 was simply not a good benchmarking year. Let’s take a deep breath and have a quick Oprah moment. Repeat after me - “a new day is on the horizon.” 

Good talk. Let’s get down to business. 
At TeamKC’s latest roundtable, recruiters were on fire and happily sharing TONS of insights with the group. We also heard from representatives at colleges and universities throughout the region who shared student insights. Here are the highlights: 

Student Status
Kerri Keller, Executive Director of the Career Center at Kansas State University, shared first-hand insights on the current state of students. To put it simply, students are tired. A full year of online classes, missing out on student activities and constant stress is weighing them down. If you’re seeing low engagement at your virtual student info sessions, it can likely be attributed to burnout and Zoom fatigue.

Kerri suggests checking out Scott Resource Group for constructive thought leadership on managing interns in the virtual space and Dr. Robert Shindell, author of Total Internship Management. She’s also invited KC area recruiters to attend K-State’s upcoming virtual webcast “Creating & Delivering an Amazing Internship Program” for free with code Manhattan2021. 

Building a Brand on Campus
Maintaining relationships with students has been a constant challenge for recruiters throughout the pandemic. How can you make consistent touchpoints when you can’t be physically on campus? Try tapping into relationships with professors to offer up content for classes. Guest speakers in college lectures can have an impact on students and help you make new connections. 

You may be longing for the days of manning the booth at a university career fair - we feel you. There’s definitely mixed feelings about getting back to hosting these large events in-person. Some student coordinators are anticipating a return to in-person career fairs this fall while others are planning to execute a mix of virtual and in-person events. Potentially, all university career fairs will remain virtual while smaller, more niche gatherings might take place IRL. 

Staying Engaged 
Once you have interns hired and ready to go, it’s important to keep them engaged. Consistently bringing interns together to connect with each other and members of your team can help them feel like they’re connected and in the same place, even when they’re not. Try gamifying a happy hour or “lunch ‘n’ learn” with activities like Name That Tune, Virtual Oscars, Bingo or online Jackbox Games (super easy to facilitate over Zoom). 

Boost morale during the workday by sprinkling “spirit days” throughout the summer. Encourage employees to wear their school colors or favorite vacation shirt. You can also encourage some friendly competition by hosting an Olympic-themed event or virtual scavenger hunt. Another fun idea - toward the end of the summer, send a survey out to interns and encourage them to nominate each other for “most likely to” superlatives. It’ll be a memory they hang on to for a long time! 

Make it MyKC
Whether your interns are completely remote or in the office, make falling in love with KC the easiest part of the job. TeamKC’s MyKC Summer Intern Program equips interns with up-to-date info throughout the summer on the best ways to explore Kansas City. Participants will receive weekly emails with the latest happenings and upcoming events. Additionally, the MyKC text program allows interns to opt-in to ticket and prize giveaways throughout the summer. 

You can sign up to engage your company’s interns, here

To learn more about TeamKC’s intern program plus how to access custom content and presentations, contact Angela Kennedy

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