Adapting 2020 internships to help students and grads thrive
At Raymond James, we know that summer internships are a critical first step in a career, creating an enduring base of knowledge and support. So when COVID-19 complicated matters for this year’s 158 participants, the firm pivoted. The human resources team transformed the on-site program into a 100% virtual one.
“We needed to honor our commitment to these interns, knowing this would not only impact their summer experience, but their future and resume,” said Lauren Hearon, manager of campus recruiting at Raymond James. “We held true to our integrity, and our culture of long-term thinking, in upholding our commitment.”
In contrast, 12% of U.S. companies canceled summer internship programs, according to data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers and internship service Ripplematch.
“I love that Raymond James truly cares about their interns and we have the opportunity to actually add value to our team,” said Alaina Butler, an RJFS financial consultant intern. “The way my team involved me in huge projects made me feel very valued. It was an awesome experience.”
The program included strategic projects for the interns, as well as regular check-ins via Zoom. As it happens, this mirrors the current work setup for many of the firm’s home office associates. The program was structured to purposefully build relationships between interns and with their respective teams, with time set aside each week for professional development.
The interns were also invited to several fireside chats with senior leadership, including Chairman and CEO Paul Reilly and Chief Operating Officer Kim Jenson, showing the company’s commitment to the program and the value it brings. Alex Sublette, an intern in the human resources department, said learning about these leaders’ career paths was enlightening. “They have diverse backgrounds, and they’re all so inspiring, it made me reflect on my practices in the workplace and continue learning and growing.”
This year’s group of interns hailed from more than 20 states, with some interns telecommuting from Canada and the West Coast. (The European Investment Banking practice also has a separate internship in Germany and the U.K.) In preparing for the program, Lauren and her team made sure to respect the different time zones for meeting purposes and offer the home office managers the tools and resources needed to meaningfully connect and engage with each participant. Feedback from the surveys sent out at the program’s completion signaled that was the key. “That preparation allowed us to be successful,” she said.
The program was a chance for interns to experience the company’s entrepreneurial spirit and service-first culture firsthand.
“As much as I wanted to be in the home office, it’s amazing how the team adapted this program for online,” said Alex. “I’m grateful to be back in the fall.”
Watch the video to learn more about the Internship Development Program at Raymond James from our 2020 interns.