Innovating when it matters, P&G Creates best-in-class virtual internship program during COVID-19 Crisis
Each year in mid-May, more than 550 college students relocate to P&G sites across North America to begin summer internships in areas of the business such as Sales, Product Supply, IT, Brand and Research & Development and more. The P&G team works hard to ensure they come away with the Day 1 experience P&G is known for: Doing something that matters from their very first day – making an impact on the world, our brands and their own careers.
With COVID restrictions preventing many of our interns from traveling or physically working at P&G locations, the team considered several options before moving forward with a fully virtual program this summer for interns in our R&D and office locations.
Interns in our manufacturing sites and distribution centers will still join and work at these sites, where we are taking preventive measures that allow these facilities to continue to operate safely, protecting the health and safety of our employees while effectively serving our consumers and customers during this time.
“Our 2020 summer interns chose P&G to be the company where they would be getting valuable work experience, and we wanted to commit to still providing them with a rewarding experience in spite of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Vinitaa Jayson, Vice President of Human Resources, North America.
“We selected our 2020 P&G North America interns from a pool of nearly 59,000 applicants – and we know that they will be a valuable source of talent and innovation for us,” she said. “Providing a fully virtual effort for most of our interns is challenging, since a typical intern experience requires building an ecosystem of support and connections for each of our 500+ interns, but we’re up for it.”
The team’s goal this year is similar to years past – deliver a memorable program that will:
- Produce tangible business results;
- Create a successful experience for the interns where they can work on meaningful projects from Day 1; and
- Enable P&G and the interns to learn more about each other.
The program plays an important role as we serve consumers around the world who count on our brands and the benefits they provide. Interns fill nearly 50% of our entry-level positions, including critical roles that help maintain the production, distribution and availability of our brands.
“We have never offered virtual internships, and there isn’t a playbook out there to follow,” said Danny Combs, North America Employment Branding & Initiative Leader.
So the team created one, providing all managers of interns with best practices, training materials on timely topics such as managing remote employees, and tips for ensuring a great experience. The managers have also leaned on each other, sharing ideas and staying connected through an online “Virtual Internship Think Tank.”
With less than a month before the program starts, interns will soon be receiving their company-issued laptops, thanks to a new process put in place over the past month to welcome P&G new hires, most of whom are also starting and on-boarding virtually.
When they begin their assignments, each intern will get a customized work plan with exciting projects that will challenge and grow them, and an onboarding plan that includes regular connects with their manager, team members and business partners.
Managers are also getting creative to ensure an experience that fosters community and camaraderie, planning peer mentors, group trainings, virtual “meet & greets” with their class, leadership connects and a joint project for all interns to work together virtually.
The team is hoping that before the interns finish in late summer, they will be able to meet at our global headquarters in Cincinnati and share their experiences in person.
“This truly is an unprecedented summer and one that requires innovation, extra effort, and trust from our managers, talent acquisition team, Human Resources and the interns themselves,” Jayson said. “Even though most of our internships will be virtual, our goal is for them to be as challenging and rewarding as they’ve always been.”