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Ice breaker ideas:
Whether in your pre-internship kickoff, or first day kickoff icebreakers can help everyone relax and get into the spirit. Some great ideas from our experts:
- Have interns set their virtual background as something that has a special meaning for them, or their school mascot
- Put them in small groups, and give each group a certain amount of time to find 3 things that everyone in their break room has in common
- Run a trivia game, it could be general (popular memes for example), or company-based
For the rest of the week, you can dive in with intern-specific onboarding information - sort of an “Intern 101”. If you plan ahead, you could also have your interns pre-record introductions and play them throughout the day. Ask them to share a fun fact, or show their remote workspace for example.
As you get into the details, make sure to have your senior leaders speak to the intern class., Don’t forget to give an overview of payroll, legal, compliance and anything typically included in your new hire onboarding. This is also a great time to have your interns meet their managers and mentors, if they haven’t already.
It’s important to provide some structure and let your interns know what to expect. Have managers set up weekly one-on-ones, and host a weekly or bi-weekly intern group meeting. Setting up a separate Slack channel for your interns can also help them get to know each other and start to build a great intern community.
Ready for another pro tip? Use themes to keep your onboarding fun and interesting - from a themed kick-off event, to weekly themes that tie in your events, training, and contests.
Continue the experience throughout the internship:
While onboarding sets the stage for the internship, you don’t want to start with a super fun first week, and then drop the ball for the rest of their intern experience. Make sure you continue to engage your interns throughout the program. You can have a lot of fun with mini-events that don’t take a lot of time, like weekly photo contests for places they went pre-Covid, pics of the interns cooking, baby pictures, etc.
Where it makes sense, offer prizes for participating in events and contests. This can be anything from company swag to gift cards (Amazon and DoorDash are especially popular with interns), to bigger end-of-season prizes like Sonos speakers or GoPros. Another winning prize idea? Scooters! Apparently these are a big deal on campus ;). And if interns are a big part of your recruiting strategy, you can even expand your contests to include friends and family - for example an “intern and their buddy” contest where they both get a prize.
A final thought, if all of this seems too much to tackle you can always hire a 3rd party event planner. It’s likely more affordable than you think, and they’re full of great, creative ideas to make your virtual intern onboarding experience a winner!
Want more insights on how to successfully shift your internship program for a virtual environment?
Check out our insightful intern panel - PIVOT: Internships of the Future