We’re right in the middle of Summer and interns have hopefully made themselves at home. All the resources put into developing an internship program are meant to find and retain full-time hires. The year-long efforts put into reviewing resumes, visiting key colleges, conducting interviews, and coordinating internship-related activities have led to this point in the recruitment process. Both students and employers are now turning their attention to the next important phase of this process – evaluation. Students are starting to discern the organization’s culture, evaluate career opportunities, understand department functions, and determine a possible fit. Employers are starting to identify top performers, assessing intern skills, and obtaining feedback from intern supervisors. Employers are also employing an old sales industry adage – Always Be Closing or ABC. From a recruitment context, this might be changed to mean ‘ABR’ or Always Be Retaining.
From a Hispanic perspective, ABR means concentrating on retention factors that are particularly important to Hispanic interns. As you enter this phase of your internship program, assure the following elements are present to increase the likelihood that Hispanic interns are converted to full-time hires.
Mentoring: By far, the most important factor in helping retain future Hispanic employees is to provide an effective mentoring and support program. If at all possible, match Hispanic interns with Hispanic professionals to make the most of this strategy.
Collaboration: Hispanics are extremely loyal once they are part of an organization or team. Assure that your Hispanic interns are indeed part of a team and not working alone. Make adjustments if your intern is working alone and find a way to add collaborative opportunities to their work assignment.
Career Watchers: Appoint “career watchers,” preferably senior-level leaders, who monitor and track Hispanic intern progress (projects, development, etc.). Encourage these individuals to check in with interns routinely.
Significance: Hispanics genuinely embrace the opportunity to “test” their abilities and skills. Assure projects assigned to Hispanic interns are substantial in nature and not simply ‘busy work.’
Showcase Diversity: Offer Hispanic interns the opportunity to attend workshops, seminars, or round tables that allow them to see your organization’s commitment to diversity. Showcase genuine Hispanic leaders and allow them to facilitate these sessions.
Networking: Provide peer networking opportunities that focus on developing skills, confidence, and professional contact opportunities. Hispanic interns want the chance to build informal communities with other employees.