superinternsThis summer at Jellyvision, fifteen (!) bright and wonderful interns have joined our team–and we couldn’t be happier. Of course we’re eager to discover our interns’ fresh perspective on things, and are always hopeful (for their and our sake) that a few will eventually join our ranks full-time.

But maybe the most concrete benefit of having more brainpower and bandwidth this summer is that a lot of the projects we’ve all been meaning to start, but haven’t had the time or energy for, are finally going to get done. Hurray! Around here, on that front, our new ALEX marketing intern is already kicking you-know-what and taking names. (Thanks, Kate!)

Anyway, since the value of summer interns has been on my mind lately, I got to thinking how HR departments might leverage the talents of the interns working in their department–or maybe in other parts of their company–this summer. Lucky for you, I’m a sharer.

As we all know all too well, the open enrollment period is kinda nuts. Hardly enough time to do the basics, much less try out new stuff, right? So. This being the case, why not project into your busy season now, and task an intern with thinking up some new, fun strategies your department might use to engage employees about their benefits at that time of year?

Things your hypothetical intern might do and think about:

1. Take a stab at rewriting the copy in your previous year’s benefits communications to make it funnier, shorter, more human, and more personalized. If their attempts aren’t exactly on target, fine. At least they’ve gotten the ball rolling.

2. Consider whether emails coming from HR could be “branded” in some small way to make the stuff coming from your group more immediately recognizable–and memorable. Could the emails your employees receive from you include some sort of homegrown mascot? (Say: Benny the Benefits Squid? Not in love with that. Just spitballin’ here.) Might your communications include something delightful–like some “fun facts” at the top of the emails, or a funny gif? (At a place I worked pre-ALEX, the person tasked with sending out the daily schedule email always added some funny or dramatic movie quotes or a one-liner from a comedian…thus making that otherwise dry schedule email a little something to look forward to.)

3. Might some of the information you normally drop into a big honking mass email be communicated better via a quick embeddable or linkable webcam or smartphone video? Are there any natural performers in your office who might jump at the chance to help make this into something fun?

4. Is there a way for a first-name field to be added to some of your email templates, so that everyone getting your emails sees “Hey [Their Name Here]!” up at the top?

5. And, thinking past open enrollment, might this theoretical wunder-intern also make an inventory of your communications efforts from last year as a whole, and try to identify new opportunities for touching base with employees and adding value? (Ex: Does HR fall into a radio silence in February and March? How could that be changed?)

Anyway, just a little food for thought. And no, I didn’t have our intern order that. We don’t do that here.

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

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