7 Ways to Celebrate Interns on National Intern Day
Interns are a vital part to any business that integrates them correctly. They bring a fresh perspective, new ideas and not to mention a helping hand. Incorporating interns into your organization is an effective way to develop a pipeline for new and diverse talent as well as provide aspiring managers leadership and management opportunities. Even so, many people still have their doubts about the invaluable work performed by interns. If this is you, check out my article on Debunking Myths about Volunteers and Interns and my Tessitura talk talking about the value of interns to an organization. Okay, now that we have established that interns play an important role in an organization, how do you plan on recognizing your intern(s) with National Intern Day around the corner on July 29, 2021? Knowing and understanding the language of appreciation of your intern is key. If you recognize them in front of a group when a simple personalized thank you would have done the trick, it could backfire. So how do you know? Well…ask them. Literally, take some time to ask them how they like to be appreciated! Now that you have that covered, here are a few suggestions.
- Gifts: Gifts can win the heart of an intern whose appreciation language is well….gifts. A gift card to their favorite store or source of entertainment works well as do gift cards for food/drinks. Perhaps a good book or even a journal that can inspire them and use to journal their internship experience such as the Words of Wisdom for Young Professionals, An inspirational note-taking journal (on sale for the month of July in honor of National Intern Day). Also, consider paying for a professional development course or conference in their field.
- Recognition: Perhaps a handwritten card will do the trick. Feature them in the company newsletter. At an all staff meeting, showcase their work, the number of hours they have contributed and how their work has made an impact for the better on the organization. Consider including their contributions in a report to the Board. Wherever you speak of their work, GIVE THEM CREDIT FOR IT.
- Time: Set up some time for the intern to have lunch with the CEO or the VP in their area of interest. Take them to lunch if they are your intern and learn more about their career and personal goals (if they are willing to share).
- Service: Switch roles for the day. Walk in the shoes of your intern and learn their perspective and let them be the boss for the day. Bring them coffee and/or lunch, or invite them to dine with you for the day.
- Networking: Host a networking event inviting intern alumni to speak to the group about how the internship with your organization helped them gain the experience they needed to land their current job. Invite partners to the event for the intern to make connections with. Host a networking fair with sister organizations to help them get a foot in the door with them if your organization is small and may not be able to hire a lot of interns at the completion of their internship.
- Social Media: Highlight them on social media and tag them in it. Create a fun thank you video from staff thanking them and feature it on your website.
- Hire Them: The ultimate way to show an intern appreciation and recognition for their hard work and dedication is to hire them if at all possible.
Whatever you do, DO SOMETHING! Don’t miss this day as it only comes around once a year. Recognizing your interns fosters an encouraging office culture and can be key to retention, growth and new avenues of diversity within the organization.
Nicole is a Panamanian-American, workforce development specialist, published author of Game On! Relentlessly Pursue Your Dreams and the 101 Note-taking Affirmation Journal Series, motivational speaker, blogger podcast host of From The Suggestion Box; Navigating Feedback The Good The Bad and the Say Whaaatttt??? and dancer. She earned her Bachelor’s degree via a Division I full-ride track scholarship and after graduating, she founded Step It Up! Inc., a non-profit dance organization. Her experience in sports and entertainment, radio, TV and the performing arts has spanned nearly 20 years covering the Chicago, Houston and Miami markets. She has danced and cheered for four Professional and Semi-Professional sports teams, has prepared more than 600 interns to enter the workforce and has inspired crowds upwards of 2000. She was a contributing writer for The Life of a Single Mom for two years and in October 2020 she was awarded an Emerging Leader Award from Alive Impact Awards for Volunteer Engagement Professionals. In 2019 she was listed as one of WLRN’s “Local Women Who Inspire You” and was selected as one of Legacy Miami’s Most Prominent and Influential Black Women In Business and Industry of 2019. She is passionate about giving back to her community and does so by sitting on the Boards of the Association for Leaders In Volunteer Engagement, the Arts and Business Council of Miami and Ageless CHIC Magazine.