Global Technology Company Builds an Intern Housing Program that Fosters Community & Longevity


Intern Housing at Crystal City Living Room

 

An industry-leading technology company that specializes in creating communities online was struggling to create the same concept of connectedness with their intern housing program. They were lacking a global internship experience that would encourage top talent to convert to full-time associates. The client had internship programs in 10 countries across the globe with plans for significant expansion over the next five years. They were looking for a consistent intern housing approach that would immerse the interns in the company culture and values, while providing an experience that would increase their intern to employee conversion rate.

Challenges

One of the key factors attributing to intern dissatisfaction pointed back to program policy, which offered interns a lump sum of only $1,000 per month – not an adequate amount for housing in the popular cities where offices were located. Because of this, interns were forced to use personal funds to supplement housing costs or choose housing locations that were a significant commute from the office. In some of the most severe cases, interns chose to sleep at the office during weeknights. Another issue that detracted from the intern’s experience included the decentralized housing model, which prohibited a sense of community that is usually found when interns reside at the same location. Being in 10 countries also created issues with housing and experience consistency – which was extremely important to the client.

Solution

The client knew there was a large program issue when they aggregated intern feedback and reviewed conversion rates. The client realized that they would need help from a global housing company to completely reconstruct its program. Partnering with Oakwood Worldwide allowed the client to build-out a community-rich housing program that created an immersive and scalable experience as the client’s internship program expanded. Additionally, an immediate change was made to the client’s housing reimbursement policy and interns were offered 100% coverage of all housing costs. Oakwood Worldwide then helped the client resurrect a comprehensive program that included important elements such as centralized housing units, a company-sponsored shuttle service, an automated-roommate pairing system, customized communication and informational websites for each internship location. Upon arrival, interns were greeted with personalized letters that mentioned his or her name and school. Apartments were outfitted with company sponsored-artwork and situated within a sub-set of housing units that housed other interns. Each part of the new program enhanced the intern’s experience and created a sense of community that would lead to increased intern to employee conversion rates.

Results

Through its partnership with Oakwood Worldwide, and a clear focus on delivering an impactful and positive intern experience, the client’s intern housing program has increased by 34% and now accommodates over 2,900 interns across the globe in more than 25 countries. The program has received excellent accolades from the interns with an astounding 96% satisfaction rating.

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