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How to engage interns throughout the year

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I find myself riveted by the Olympic games. The stories behind the athletes almost always make me emotional thinking about the pain and discipline of training, the sting of failure, the sacrifices of families, the financial and emotional cost, all to bring each athlete closer to their Olympic dream.  This summer, organizations across the world hosted a version of Olympics as thousands of interns flooded workplaces hoping to make an impression good enough to be offered a position upon graduation or gain valuable experience.{{more}} If your company hosted an internship program but have not thought about how to stay engaged with the interns after the summer, it would be the equivalent of a champion Olympic team winning gold and leaving the Olympics without an off-season training plan to improve for the next Olympics.

Here are ten ways your organization can design a year-round strategy to engage your interns:

Establish an intern communication channel internally or on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Sponsor an event at the intern’s university to promote your brand. Interns are great brand ambassadors when they have a positive intern experience.

Send encouraging notes/care packages during exam periods.

Encourage supervisors and mentors to stay connected with periodic texts, emails and/or calls.

Keep them in the loop with company newsletters, announcements and other updates.

Host an intern reunion and encourage former interns to meet up when your team visits campuses or when they are back in town on break.

Offer professional development opportunities like webinars throughout the year to enhance their skills.

Offer virtual projects.

Offer short-term project opportunities during winter and spring breaks.

Send holiday cards.

Bonus: Beat the competition and immediately make job offers to interns who you want to hire as full-time employees next spring.

Karen Hinds is the Emerging Leader Expert. Her company works with organizations that are ready to develop their future business leaders. www.workplacesuccess.com  

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to info@workplacesuccess.com
Visit online at www.workplacesuccess.com

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