Building intern networking communities pre-internship

This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Microsoft Tech Community - Latest Blogs - .

As companies continue to embrace remote work and digital collaboration, leveraging the power of Microsoft Teams has become essential. Beyond its use as a productivity tool, Teams offers a valuable feature called communities that can be utilized to create a sense of community and connection, particularly among interns. By establishing intern communities several months before their official start dates, companies can enhance the intern experience, facilitate networking opportunities, and help interns settle into their new roles more smoothly. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using communities in Teams for interns and provide a step-by-step guide on how companies can create and manage these communities effectively.

The following guidance is written for an intern community, but a similar concept can be applied for new-grad employees or new employees starting around the same time.


Why Create Intern Communities on Teams?

Communities in Teams provides a platform for interns to connect, engage, and build relationships with their fellow interns before officially joining the company. Many interns and new graduates naturally seek connections and engage with each other on various platforms. By proactively creating intern communities, companies can elevate the overall internship experience and contribute to a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Additionally, since interns will eventually use Teams for work purposes, it serves as an excellent opportunity to familiarize them with the platform using the free version of Teams, establishing a seamless transition into their professional roles.


Benefits of Early Intern Community Formation:


  • Networking and Collaboration: By joining intern communities early, interns can connect with their peers, exchange knowledge, and collaborate on projects. This networking opportunity can help them build relationships and expand their professional network even before starting their internships.
  • FAQs and Guidance: Intern communities provide a platform for interns to ask questions, seek guidance, and share their experiences. This exchange of information can ease any concerns they may have and empower them with the necessary knowledge to excel in their roles.
  • Establishing Friendships: Moving to a new city or starting a remote internship can be daunting. Intern communities offer a space for interns to find roommates, discuss accommodation options, explore the city they will be working in, and discover exciting things to do together. By fostering friendships early on, interns can form a support system and enhance their overall internship experience.


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Steps for creating intern communities on Teams:


  1. Collaborate with Recruiting Team: Work closely with your company's university recruiting or general recruiting team to create intern communities managed by recruiting partners. For example, "Microsoft 2023 Summer Interns :party_popper:." To create the community, the community owner must sign in to Teams using a personal email or phone number, not with their Teams work account. Learn more about signing in to Teams (free)
  2. Set Community Description, Avatar, and Guidelines: Once the community is created, ensure the community description encourages intern participation. Consider including prompts like, "Welcome interns to the intern community! Introduce yourself, share where you're from, and a fun fact about you.". Additionally, fill out any specific community guidelines you want to communicate to members of the community. Having a community avatar makes the community more real and this can be simply your company’s logo. Learn more about updating the community details
  3. Restrict Community Join Link Sharing: To ensure the community remains secure and limited to authorized members, disable the option to share the community join link. This step prevents the link from being shared outside the intended audience, maintaining the privacy and exclusivity of the community. Learn more how to disable the option to share a community link
  4. Share the Community: Send an email to interns using their email addresses on file -work with your company’s recruiting team to send this email out, introducing the community and its purpose or as a part of intern communications. In the email, emphasize that interns need to sign in or sign up for Teams using a personal email or phone number to redeem the community join link. This step ensures they are using the correct account and can easily access and engage with the intern community.
  5. Diversify Intern Communities: Consider creating separate communities based on intern types, such as undergraduate interns, MBA interns, or graduate school interns. This segmentation allows for more targeted discussions and networking opportunities within specific intern cohorts.
  6. Engage Alumni and Recruiters: Encourage the community owners to invite past interns who have transitioned into full-time employees to join the intern community. These alumni can provide valuable insights, share their experiences, and answer questions from current interns. Additionally, involve recruiters in the community to foster a positive and supportive environment. Recruiters can address concerns, provide guidance, and facilitate interactions between interns and other stakeholders within the company.

By following these steps, your company can harness the power of Communities in Teams to create vibrant intern communities that foster connections, facilitate networking, and enhance the overall intern experience. The inclusion of alumni and recruiters further strengthens the community and ensures a supportive environment for interns to thrive.


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