Best Practices to Keep Interns Warm Before Your Internship Starts


Congratulations on identifying and selecting your incoming interns! Like many employers competing for top student talent today, you may have extended offers to your interns months before your internship program begins. What you do between offer acceptance and Day One is critical to your interns’ overall experience, satisfaction, and engagement with your organization. However, maintaining engagement and the initial excitement can be a challenge throughout those busy months.

That is when software platforms like Intern Management System (IMS) make a significant impact by supporting an ongoing and varied communication loop while meeting the interns where they are, which is often on their phone or tablet. Communication and engagement strategies are as boundless as your team’s creativity.

 Below are six engagement strategies IMS enables you to employ:

  1. Send a brief “we are so happy you have chosen to intern with us” email and provide the Intern Management System access link to connect with peers and receive program updates. Remember to also seek permission to send them text messages – SMS and/or MMS.
  2. Create unique chat channels based on intern cohorts, locations, functional areas, project groups or even hobbies and interests. Invite interns SHORTLY AFTER OFFER ACCEPTANCE to join desired chat channels and immediately start engaging with their peers and program administrators. Even consider nominating a channel host to post weekly.
  3. Once a week or so, text brief intern program teasers like information on the meaningful work, community service, and fun activities you have planned for their upcoming program.
  4. Create eye-catching dashboard widgets with quick, easy calls to action like search the IMS intern network and connect with a peer intern within your department, within a different department, from the state farthest from your home state.
  5. Use the Survey Monkey tool to poll your incoming interns about social event ideas, swag apparel sizes, favorite snacks, or any topic for which you desire their input.
  6. Run an intern of the week spotlight campaign by randomly selecting an intern (there are free apps for this) and send a text or email highlighting 5-6 facts about the intern. Up to you if you also want to include a picture (or their university logo).

The topics you might focus on when staying in touch with your incoming interns truly are endless. The point is not so much WHAT you share, but that you DO SHARE so that they know they are on your mind. Such engagement will go a long way in maintaining the initial enthusiasm each intern felt when accepting your offer.

These engagement best practices can and should be used for any talent cohort you wish to nurture and develop. Consider how you might use them for co-op, apprentice, leadership rotational, employee and even alumni programs.

We would love to hear your best practices for creating and maintaining intern engagement from offer acceptance to Day One. Likewise, is there anything you have tried that did not yield the outcomes you had envisioned?

Need help keeping your interns (co-op, apprentice, leadership program, alumni populations) warm and feeling connected? GradLeaders’ Intern Management System is the only customizable, cloud-based platform that simplifies program management and communication for your team while providing a structured, consistent, and equitable experience of value for your interns.