Internship programs are an excellent opportunity for businesses to bring in young talent, new faces and fresh perspectives. A happy and engaged intern can bring significant value to your company, and potentially become a full-time employee on your team in the future. However, it can be challenging to keep your interns engaged and motivated, especially during the hot summer months or fall festivities.
For maximum engagement and satisfaction with the program, an important factor to consider is how you’ll be housing your interns, whether it’s through fully furnished corporate housing or a stipend. We’re here to help you decide on the best housing approach for your company’s internship program, plus offer tips for keeping your interns motivated and engaged — no matter which solution you choose.
Using Corporate Housing for Your Internship Program
One way to accommodate your interns is through a managed housing program. Many companies will work with a corporate housing provider, such as Synergy Global Housing, that sources short-term, fully furnished apartments for the duration of the internship program, whether it’s for a few months in the summer or a year-long stint. There are many benefits to this type of housing solution, such as:
Keeping Your Interns Together and Close to Work
With a corporate housing program, you can house your interns in the same apartment building, and even next door to each other within the building. This creates a dorm-like atmosphere — a familiar environment for recent college grads — and encourages socialization, which will foster engagement. What’s more, you can choose a building that is close to your company’s office or whatever site your interns will be working from. Ideally, they can walk or take public transportation together to work (also a win for sustainability!) and build even more camaraderie with each other.
Utilizing the Corporate Housing Property for Social Events
Many corporate housing buildings have amenities like fitness centers, swimming pools (great for summer internship programs!), dog parks, etc. They also tend to have places where residents can gather, such as lounges, rooftop decks or BBQ areas. You can utilize these spaces to hold social events for your interns, allowing them to get to know each other and enjoy themselves.
Coordinate with your corporate housing provider to rent out an entire space in the building for your interns. Schedule regular events throughout the internship program to create consistency and frequency, which are key to engagement. Create some events that are intern-only, and others that allow them to mingle with the larger team, department or company.
Consistency and Control
When you work with a great corporate housing provider, you’ll have an ample amount of control over the accommodations. You can make sure they’re set up properly in the apartments and have everything they need, including a work-from-home setup and fast, reliable WiFi.
You’ll know where all of your interns are staying, and because they’re all staying in one place, it’s easy to make their accommodations consistent. You can customize how they’re set up, what they include, check-in and check-out processes, etc. If ever you need anything, your corporate housing provider’s customer service team stands ready to help, being dedicated to your internship program and its success.
Giving Your Interns a Housing Stipend
Another option for your internship program is providing the interns with a stipend they can use to choose their own housing. While this approach allows for some increased flexibility, there are challenges to consider. However, there’s no need to fret, as a corporate housing provider like Synergy can still step in and help you overcome these pain points. Here are a few of the potential challenges your company may face with this solution, and tips for maximizing the engagement of your interns if you choose this approach.
A Middle-Ground Solution to Keep Your Stipended Interns Engaged
First of all, if your company decides to go with the stipend approach, there’s still a way to reap the benefits of a managed corporate housing solution — and avoid the challenges that stipends can bring. Just configure your business travel policy to incentivize or require your interns to book corporate housing with their stipend. That way, your company and your interns get to enjoy the increased engagement and all the other advantages that come with corporate housing.
The corporate housing provider will work with your company and your interns to source the best possible housing, in accordance with the needs of the internship program and the stipend allowance. They’ll coordinate directly with the interns, so you can leave the hard work up to them.
Lack of Proximity
Without adequate parameters in place, when your interns choose their own housing with a stipend, they may not select options that are near each other or the office. This can make it harder for them to socialize outside of work and commute to the office together. If the housing they choose is far from the office, transportation may become a challenge. These obstacles can lead to less engagement, as your interns may not feel as connected to the program and their colleagues.
Instead, if you go with a corporate housing company, they’ll provide housing options that are conveniently located near the office or where other interns will be staying. They’ll walk the interns through the process of booking with their stipend, too, providing support wherever it’s needed.
Less Administrative Control
Opting for a housing stipend can also mean you won’t have as much control over the accommodations than you would with a corporate housing solution. You may not be able to ensure the apartments have a work-from-home setup, secure WiFi and everything your interns need. Additionally, prices and amenities will vary across the housing your interns choose, as will things like check-in instructions and customer service.
For more administrative control over the apartments, even with a stipend solution, corporate housing once again comes to the rescue. By maintaining consistent quality controls across all properties, even if the rooms and amenities vary, a corporate housing provider can ensure your interns have the best options for their budget — and everything they may need.
Inconsistent Customer Support
When your interns are responsible for sourcing various housing options, it not only leads to an unpredictable customer service experience for them, but also introduces uncertainty for your company. The support you receive may not match the level provided by a corporate housing company that is managing your internship housing program. Moreover, platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo lack dedicated customer service and success teams for businesses. This is precisely why it’s essential to refer or incentivize your stipended interns to book with a corporate housing provider. Doing so guarantees a smooth operation of your stipend program and ensures your interns receive the necessary attention and assistance they need.
Thankfully, a corporate housing company will provide dependable levels of customer support, stipend or not. Synergy offers award-winning customer support for both your company and your interns, at the highest level of hospitality to accommodate each guest’s needs and preferences. Our team is available around-the-clock, 24/7, to answer any questions or provide assistance to ensure each guest is taken care of.
Housing your interns in a way that keeps them happy and engaged is essential to ensure they make the most of their internship program, and potentially become valuable employees in the future. Whether your company chooses a fully managed housing program or a stipend approach, you can help your interns feel valued and motivated throughout the entirety of their internship – and beyond. It’s a worthwhile investment in your company’s future.
Need fully furnished, managed housing for your company’s internship program — next summer, fall or whenever? Learn more about Synergy’s global housing solutions and tell us about your needs to get started.