3 ways MetLife makes internships work

3 ways MetLife makes internships work

Working Gen Z employees are among the least satisfied group in today’s workforce. MetLife’s 2022 Employment Benefit Trends Study (EBTS) found that job satisfaction and loyalty are disproportionately low among Gen Z compared to other generations, but purposeful work is a top driver for overall employee health and wellbeing. This gives organizations a chance to help younger generations feel a stronger sense of belonging early on, by embedding impactful work into internship programs. 

As a member of the National Board of Directors for INROADS Inc., a national nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and placing underserved youth in business and preparing them for leadership, I’ve learned firsthand how purposeful work can lead to higher satisfaction among interns, resulting in more satisfied future employees. MetLife and INROADS have a longstanding partnership and have worked together to create pathways for nearly 900 students. This summer, MetLife welcomed 12 INROADS interns, most of which were hired full-time. We’re aiming to triple the number of interns this year because of the outstanding success of the program.

Pulling from our own experience, I’d like to share tips to transform experiences for interns:

Real Experiences: Instilling responsibility and accountability for interns at all stages can help establish a sense of belonging and purpose. At MetLife, our interns are entrusted with important responsibilities, supported by our teams, and always have a seat at the table to help tackle real business problems. 

For example, our recent summer interns worked across various departments, met with senior leaders, including our CEO Michel Khalaf, participated in lunch and learns and contributed to key business projects. One intern created an entire microsite for our organization from scratch, another created a design toolkit and assets for internal campaigns, and a third created and implemented a tool that captures & tracks customer health status.

Mentorship: Mentors and peer networks are another crucial element of successful internship programs. Giving interns a chance to connect professionally and socially to deepen their network, expand skillsets and build a valuable network of peers and mentors is integral to a successful program. 
The summer 2022 INROADS interns at MetLife each had a chance to present to senior leaders across the organization, building their networks and their confidence.

Feedback Loops: It’s important to create communication pathways where interns feel comfortable providing honest feedback on their experiences and the ways in which organizers can improve their programs. HR leaders should work in tandem with intern coordinators to help ensure that interns feel heard, valued and supported throughout their experiences. Equally important is providing consistent feedback to interns to help them grow and develop in the ways most important to them. For example, establishing a steady cadence of check-ins with managers and/or program leaders to review strengths and areas of growth can help maximize the importance of feedback.  

Investing in your people is a key driver in cultivating a contemporary workforce, and that can begin by creating lasting, impactful experiences for interns. Companies that strive to make a positive impact on their associates early in their career journey will find the most success in creating diverse talent pipelines with high job satisfaction and loyalty. As someone who is passionate about supporting upcoming generations of talent, I’m proud to be part of MetLife and INROADS, two incredible organizations that are investing in future generations and shaping the leaders of tomorrow.