Q. How can the staff express thanks to our hard-working interns?
by the Intern Coach
A. Taking time out of your busy schedule to determine the best way for the staff to express thanks to your hard-working interns is important to everyone. The interns will appreciate your efforts, and the staff members will enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they’ve helped mentor young people. Here are some tips on how to proceed:
- Schedule a thank-you event for the interns on the last day. You could plan a luncheon to honor the interns or hold a small reception with light refreshments. At the event, interns could receive Certificates of Achievement for completing the internship. You may want to present each intern with a small gift from the company, such as a coffee mug, key chain, or quality pen engraved with the company’s name. Another option would be to give each intern a gift certificate to be used for a company product if applicable or for a popular café or restaurant.
- Write a glowing thank-you letter to the intern and have it signed by all staff members who worked with the intern. If you prefer a more informal approach, select an appropriate thank-you card. Please keep in mind that this group thank-you letter or card does not replace the formal letter of recommendation or reference, which is provided by each internship supervisor for every intern. Make sure that this formal document is completed and given to the intern before the internship ends. Your interns will be grateful for the timely delivery since they may be applying for another internship. Both the staff thank-you letter or card and the formal letter of recommendation will be excellent additions to the students’ portfolios.
- Suggest that the staff members offer to help their student interns document their internship achievements. The company could provide a handsome file or folder with the company’s name on it. Then, the staff could work with the interns to organize the appropriate materials, including documents, photos, company brochures or annual reports, relevant correspondence, and online exhibits. Divide up the assignments, asking different people to handle various aspects in order to include all staff in the process and not overwhelm any one employee.
- Practice diplomacy, ensuring that everyone—from staff members to interns—feels like he/she has performed well and contributed to a successful internship experience. Each intern should be thanked and treated equally even if one intern has performed on a higher level than another. You can emphasize superior performance in the individual recommendation letter rather than in a public pronouncement. Do give the staff equal credit, too, thanking each of them for helping the interns learn new skills.