Intern relocation – nurturing the future professionals of your organization
Do you deliver a world-class internship experience for your interns?
It is estimated that there are approximately two million interns undertaking internships at any one time in the US alone, with 97% of large employers planning to hire interns each year. Experience is the main reason why so many university and graduate students take internships. While some university programs require students to take an internship, other intrepid students know that it is still one of the best ways to build relevant work experience on their resume and helps land a future role at a top company.It is also easy to understand why companies hire interns – aside from simply being a low cost resource for the summer, the Association of Graduate Recruiters shows us that graduates who began their career as interns are more likely to stay with a company for longer than those who did not.With students taking internships to build their professional experience at an unprecedented rate, it is becoming essential for companies looking to attract and host the best interns to promote and deliver the best intern experience.Importantly, if relocating an intern to a new city is involved, it is even more critical that the relocating experience is world class. It is the first major interaction for the intern with the company and therefore their overall experience, and how the company supports them through a stressful time, will highly impact their thoughts about working at the company in the future.Today, we often see that many internship programs do offer support to interns in getting to and from the internship location, and potentially assist with the cost of housing throughout the internship. In a February 2016 MOVE Guides webinar poll, over half of the respondents indicated that they offer some benefits to an intern, whether that be in the form of a lump sum cash allowance, temporary housing or full relocation support. However, the support expected from the company to the interns is changing, making it imperative for companies to stay ahead of the game.At a large multinational company, summer intern programs can bring in as many as 100+ interns at a time. There is a significant amount of coordination and employee support that goes into moving and managing this many people in such a short time span. Without the proper policies, processes, people and technology in place it can be a huge time drain and potentially very costly.The backbone of any intern relocation program is the relocation benefit policy. In the same February 2016 MOVE Guides webinar poll, we found that 54% of companies had no formal policies in place to cover the actual level of support being provided, which is surprisingly low considering how large this potential cost exposure can be. Additionally, most interns will be Millennials. This demographic is generally tech savvy, resourceful when given the right tools and require less of the traditional support offered to other mobile employee populations.How a company relocates and supports an intern will impact their willingness to accept the internship, consider accepting a permanent position (if offered) and will serve as a competitive differentiator for attracting talent from around the world.When developing your intern relocation program, the following checklist can be helpful to ensure a successful relocation experience:
- Have policies, processes and resources in place which leave the employee with a lasting and hugely positive impression
- Forecast intern numbers early and consider temporary housing options far in advance to receive the best housing rates and options possible.
- Be clear and communicate exactly what the intern will and won’t receive and what to expect during their relocation
- Prepare for the influx of questions and create a system to handle them
- Things will go wrong. Have an action plan in place to handle any issues such as roommate disagreements, delayed travel, lost luggage, etc.
- Consider whether you are making the most of technology - is there a single source of data on your intern population? Are you collecting and sharing your population’s information consistently? Is the data safe?
- Walk through the intern experience, landing in a new location for your first ‘job’- how can interns find more information about their move or location? Are all resources in one centralized place for them?