How to Build an Internship Without Ping Pong Tables
LogicMonitor has hosted a summer intern program for quite a few years now, and each unique summer has been beneficial for students and internal teams alike. Although an internship at a growing software company will always be exciting and valuable, part of the overall experience and charm historically came from being in an office. Some of the fun perks of being in our offices during the summer include ‘spa water’ in the kitchen, socializing by the ping pong table, beach days, and other events. This year there were a few factors that were different- Covid-19 caused LogicMonitor to pause our hiring efforts for a while, which allowed the Talent Acquisition team to combine efforts with our Learning and Development team to focus on project-based work. This included building a scalable, remote, diverse, inclusive, best-in-class, and most importantly, structured internship program.
We wanted to make sure that the interns had structure in a meaningful way while working from their homes, as one of the best parts of a traditional internship program is being able to learn simply from being immersed in an office environment. We’ve put together a foundation for an awesome (remote) program that offers an immense amount of support to our interns and to the managers. To stay consistent with our company goals, we’ve incorporated LogicMonitor’s company pillars into our vision for the internship program. Below I’ve provided our mission statement, and how we’ve tied in the program to our core values.
Vision: Provide a meaningful professional experience that complements academic foundations and empowers students to discover, develop, evaluate, and implement their unique perspectives and experiences as they prepare for careers in an ever-evolving global workforce.
#OneTeam – Fully integrate interns into their teams and be supported by the LogicMonitor family.
#BetterEveryday – Give interns the tools they need to succeed not just at work, but in life as well.
#CustomerObsessed – Ensure the interns and managers have a valuable experience.
After so much planning, what did the interns actually do?
“Check the confluence page…” is an expression we used a lot during the ten-week program that ended on August 21st. Confluence is an internal resource we use at LogicMonitor and it is where we built several pages for our interns, including a detailed Syllabus with a ton of resources to set them up for success.
In the planning stages, we knew we had ten weeks where we had to fill the time spent remotely. We asked managers to think of their interns as temporary team members instead of tasking them with mundane activities or checklists. Our managers were on board to incorporate their interns fully into their departments and had amazing ideas right off the bat on how to do so. We supplied the managers with tools and support to help them create deliverable plans. We also provided writing prompts so that the interns could keep track of what they’d worked on, what they’d learned, constructive feedback they received, and brag about the new topics that interested them.
I wanted to share one example of creativity from the manager who oversaw the Social Media Marketing Intern. She had an awesome idea where every two weeks her intern would switch focuses within the marketing team and deliver a project for each focus. Two weeks focused with our Public Relations Specialist yielded an intern written press release, two weeks with our Content Producer yielded an in-house studio, etc.
It was amazing to see how involved the interns were within their departments.
Still, there would be more time in the week…
…And thus, the Professional Development Workshops were born.
We created two weekly workshops to give the interns organic interactions outside of their relative departments and some time with each other since they were split into three different departments. Whereas in the office they may get to know each other on lunch breaks, there was little reason they’d get to know each other remotely. One workshop was led by People Operations and was geared towards professional development: topics such as communication, professionalism, time management, and networking. These workshops were also used as check-ins alongside the formal feedback sessions that were scheduled. We wanted to know, how are you doing? What are you learning? Where can we improve?
The second workshop was our LogicMonitor Lounge series. We created a weekly workshop where top performers across different departments got on a Zoom call with the interns to network, teach the interns about their departments and responsibilities, and answer questions spanning from career development to favorite hobbies. The interns cherished these sessions, and several of them ended up setting up recurring meetings with these professionals!
Diversity and Inclusion
To explain our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion at every level, including the intern level, I thought I’d share what Todd Riesterer, our Chief People Officer, has said recently on the matter. “Respect for our coworkers, partners, and customers, no matter their background, has always been a foundational part of our company culture. We operate as #OneTeam, and we believe that every individual has equal value in this world. We treasure the power of human differences and recognize that building a culture of respect, diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) is an essential part of our workplace and company.”
Our interns are encouraged to participate in the following D&I Initiatives, and are encouraged to bring their whole selves to their programs:
- At LogicMonitor (LM), we fund and support strong and vibrant LMer Community Groups, which help LMers listen, learn, share, advocate, celebrate, and catalyze change.
- LM has a Guiding Coalition of leaders from throughout the organization to help support a diverse and inclusive culture built on a foundation of respect.
- LM partners with Vista and other Vista portfolio companies on diversity and inclusion initiatives to facilitate the exchange of great ideas.
- We are exploring Implicit Bias training for all employees to help combat discrimination.
- We are launching a new Speaker Series that will allow all employees to listen to and learn from speakers with diverse perspectives.
- LM supports the LBGTQI+ community with annual Pride celebrations and internal resources.
- We have enabled donations via our internal rewards points system to connect employees with important causes and make it easy for them to get involved.
LogicMonitor also partnered with Fund II Foundation for the second year to hire from their InternX program, and this year all of our interns were hired from the diversity platform. The objective of InternX is to provide highly qualified, pre-screened, entry-level talent for the employer while providing access to 21st Century quality jobs for the student. We will continue to hire from and partner with this organization in the coming years and would love to expand that relationship as we scale our program and do more intern hiring.
Making an Impact
I’d like to believe many of the features and programs we’ve mentioned above are what make our intern program unique. During week nine of the internship, our interns gave a presentation to the entire company on what they had worked on and what they had learned. To say they gave brilliant presentations is an understatement. They blew everyone away and were such an important reminder of why it’s important to celebrate the new generation of talent. The presentations even ended with personal invitations from our CEO to consider LM after graduation!
Every summer our interns are given the opportunity to be truly themselves, bring all of their skills and differences to the table, and make an impact. They are trusted as employees and are pushed to grow. We’ve even published intern narratives on our blog, describing their growth and experiences in past years.
I’d like to quote one of our interns from a previous summer to summarize the final thoughts: “LogicMonitor is a very special place! It is packed full of people who are there to inspire and challenge you. It’s a place where hard work is applauded, and people are empowered to do what they love. So, if I have any advice to give current or future LMers, it’s this: head over to the kitchen (or schedule a Zoom Call!), grab a snack, and get to know the people around you — you may just learn something phenomenal!”