Why You Need to See the #DearIntern Trend

By: Hannah Hafferkamp

Author

If you haven’t heard about the Dear Intern trend yet, you should. The next time you have a little time to fill, pop over to Twitter and check out “Dear Intern.” It all started when HBO Max sent their subscribers a blank email. Their response…  

What happened? The Twitter-verse decided that they too could help the intern through it and shared their work screw-ups.  

What HBO Max’s Statement Meant 

Although the solidarity from complete strangers is beautiful, it’s about so much more than that. In one post, HBO Max made a statement about their company. Several statements in fact. 

  • They’re human, mistakes happen, and it’s not the end of the world. 
  • They have their peoples’ backs and support all of their employees – and no one is too “low on the totem pole” for that backing. 
  • They are transparent and willing to own up to mistakes. 
  • There have a sense of humor. 

What struck a chord with many in the Twitter-verse was the personal feelings of “been there, done that.” People make mistakes and while no one enjoys a blunder, especially one on such a large scale, that’s part of how we learn. Great companies know and expect this.  

You see, when you’re an innovative company that’s pushing the bounds in some way, mistakes are part of everyday operations. They’re “par for the course.” In fact, to truly produce something great, trial and error is not just expected – it’s welcome.  

This is the kind of culture we’ve made every effort to build and maintain – one that tests the limits and puts People First – and this is exactly what attracts and retains top performers.  

Top Performers Seek Company Trust and Support 

When you’re performing at a high caliber and pushing the boundaries, you want to know your company has your back. Not just your direct manager, but your teammates, the executive leadership team, and everyone in between. Establishing a company culture where trust is automatic, implied, and not earned will set you apart from the crowd. 

Why does this trust matter so much? Think about a time when you’ve made a mistake in the workplace. We’ve all been there at some point. How did you feel? When you swallowed your pride and owned up to it, was it received with kindness and support or were you left feeling small? If it was the latter, imagine how you might have felt if you were met with a gentle, “You know what, it happens to the best of us. Let’s develop a plan together to remedy this.” Entirely different from the “Great, now I have one more thing to deal with” response. 

For top performers, company trust and support goes beyond mistake-making. While they want to know you’ll have their back if a slip up happens, they also want to be trusted and empowered to take the lead – to own projects, drive results, and implement innovative ideas. They want to be supported in their career growth and development, even if that means that the next best opportunity for them isn’t with your organization.  

One of the best things you can do to recruit and attract top performers to your organization is to build a culture of trust and support for all employees.  

Demonstrate Value Across the Company, From Day 1 

Be honest – how would you (or your company) have responded to a mistake like that? Maybe some would shrug it off and say, “Oh, it’s just the intern,” but that is a huge red flag for top performers. Not only do they want to be trusted and supported themselves; they are looking for a culture that values every single member of the team – because at the end of the day, every contribution drives the business closer to success. 

Embracing a company–wide approach of support and having each other’s back begins on day one, for everyone – including (and maybe, especially) the interns. Paid or unpaid, temporary or intern-to-hire – these fresh faces are often the lowest workers in the hierarchy of the company, mainly because their primary objective is to learn about the business world. And as we said, learning means making mistakes. 

A company that can wrap their arms around the idea of supporting everyone who represents their brand from day one (including interns) is one step closer to having the culture today’s hires want. There are some other messages in that concept that aren’t so obvious.  

  • If you’ve been hired, you have value that’s worth something to the company. 
  • You are part of a team and not alone on a work island. 
  • Employees are trusted to do their jobs. 

Create a Team Mentality 

To further cement the idea that the company supports their employees as individuals, a team mentality needs to be fostered. This isn’t about only focusing on the group as a whole, rather it’s seeing and valuing the individuals that make up the team.  

Like a sports team, individuals have specialties and bring their unique talents to their role. A company or a manager that can see individuals for who they are and what they do better than others can make the most of those skills. Seeing weaknesses is equally important because it opens to door to filling in those gaps, not dismissing the whole person.  

This tapestry of team members who are free to use their talents with company support is what makes a successful company. It doesn’t just happen, it grows from a company culture of acceptance and trust.  

If you want to learn more about how to build a culture that attracts top performers, connect with our team by clicking the button below!

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