Each summer, New York City and other large metropolitan areas are flooded with summer associates & interns – undergrad & graduate students from across the country and world, who arrive for highly competitive (and often lucrative) temporary positions at leading financial, legal and other professional institutions. This summer staff typically works hard and plays hard, and it is the job of dedicated HR staff to ensure that these potential future employees are provided with entertaining social opportunities during their employ.
Team building companies in NYC and elsewhere cater to this audience, of course- but with so many different options amidst varied corporate cultures, how do you make the right fit? Below is a simple guide to assessing your company’s culture across 3 broad variables, and matching it with an appropriate entertainment activity for your summer interns & associates:
Competitive – This is the most common feature of professional institutions who have a large summer staff program. Investments banks, hedge funds, litigation firms – they all tend to attract recruits who are naturally competitive. These people will thrive in any highly competitive activity, especially one with high stakes (ie: a great prize). Scavenger hunts, “amazing race” events, trivia, competitive sailing and other zero-sum, winner/loser events are safe bets here.
Analytical – Not all departments within the finance world attract the most competitive types. The IT industry, for instance, works very closely with banks, yet tends to attract a more reserved, analytical crowd – especially programmers, who work on the backend. These folks aren’t nearly as cutthroat as the traders they support on the floor, yet still love having fun. Scavenger hunts & other activities above might work well, but try something with less of a “winning” component, such as team cooking or rock climbing- people who spend 10 hours a day locked in the coding room love going outside to play.
Geeky – There’s no shame in admitting it – some companies recruit geeks. Anyone in the tech industry will be the first to admit this, yet geeky does NOT mean they don’t know how to compete, as well as have an awesome time. Brainpower is the key here, so find an activity where the staff can show off how creative & brilliant they are (I personally feel this is a natural home for live trivia & game show-type activities, but I’m somewhat biased, so please don’t take my word for it. Really, any activity which lets smart people feel smart is going to be a winner for this group).
While virtually any fun event will be well-received by a group of hard-working summer associates & interns, you can maximize the experience by smartly matching the team building or entertainment activity to the office culture.
Do you have any suggestions for HR managers & summer staff coordinators to help them select the best entertainment activities for their groups?