4 Internship Lessons from “Nooglers”
This past June, The Internship hit theaters. This great comedy for HR professionals got two thumbs up from Recruiter.com. In this hilarious look at internships, technology-challenged Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson compete for two intensely coveted spots as a Google interns. While the laughs are what got us to buy the ticket, there are actually some pearls of wisdom to glean from these two Google interns.
Onboarding the Noogler Way
The onboarding process is important for several reasons: onboarded employees engage faster, stay longer and report higher job satisfaction. Quite often the onboarding process is skipped with interns. This makes zero sense. A thoughtful onboarding program is so beneficial to all parties that to skip this step with interns is just wasteful. In the movie we see the top notch onboarding of these nooglers (new + Google = noogler). Google offers their interns skills classes, HTML courses and orientation meetings. When a company takes the time to source and hire an intern, there is often the option of a full-time position with the company. Speeding up the learning process starts with engaging and socializing the intern through onboarding.
In an interview with a real-life Noogler, Rohan Shah recounts the 10-day orientation/onboarding process at Google.
“Just in the first week you feel like you’ve been an employee for a year,” Shah says. “You get acclimated with the company very quickly.” We don’t all have 10 days to dedicate to onboarding, but this should be a continual process for newbs until they feel like Shah reports feeling.
Creating Competitive Knowledge through a Positive Employer Brand
Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are just two of dozens of of interns. A Google spokesperson reports that Google accepts only 1,500 interns out of 40,000 applicants each year. If you haven’t realized it yet, you get the top talent by creating a company for which people want to work for—that’s called employer branding. When companies take stake in the value of their workers, it shows.
Candidates and interns will line up outside the door to get a chance to work for Google, and for good reason. Google has created one of the best work environments in the world. We get that not every company can offer gym time, 24 cafes, and nap pods, but concentrate on what you can offer, and let people know about it.
Things like vacation time, telecommuting and social networking freedom are low cost, or free benefits that this new generation of interns and workers die for. In fact, these things are often prized above financial compensation by Millenials.
Keeping Up with the Changing Tech Climate
Vaughn and Wilson are 40-something guys that barely know how to use the internet. There are several hilarious scenes throughout the movie where technology challenges these two. Keeping up with technology can feel like a full-time job if you aren’t tech savvy, but it’s well worth it.
Make it Fun and Positive
Again, we realize that Google has resources that a lot of our companies couldn’t dream of having. You won’t be team building by playing quiddich and you don’t have slides in your office. But structure and care can make any internship a positive learning experience.
Design projects that require collaboration and team work. This engages the intern and creates a a social element in the workplace. They’re here to learn, but it’s summer for pete’s sake, help them have a little fun. Whether it’s grabbing a beer after work (even though Google says this is a no-no), or encouraging them to use social media in a unique way, there’s always room for fun.
Internships are a great way to build presence and create outreach. They foster positive relationships and help expand your talent pipeline. Creating a thoughtful internship program with brand, technology, and fun in mind can be a great experience for intern and mentor alike.