Gen Z Interns are Taking Over!
The newest generation of interns is here, and we may be changing the way companies structure their internships forever. Unlike our millennial counterparts, Gen Z students value work-life benefits and an affordable lifestyle over job position and prestige. After exploring this topic further with fellow interns from the Winter 2023 RingTern cohort, I discovered that RingCentral might be the perfect fit for Gen Z college students around the country.
Interns Value Excellence
According to a study conducted by Handshake in 2023, Gen Z college students are primarily focused on self-growth, and authenticity. Finding an environment that allows us to build our skill-set and create value for our respective communities is one of our primary goals when it comes to searching for a new job or internship. 64% of students in this study reported attending career events to promote self-growth and development opportunities. 67% of students said that the ability to advance in their career is extremely important when it comes to their next job. Interns are more focused on learning about their respective field than simply building a resume.
The pandemic has arguably also changed our ideas of what a future career should look like. Feeling comfortable is being prioritized now more than ever. This means finding a job with a community that promotes wellness. Around 55% of Handshake survey respondents said that company commitment to DEI is extremely important to them. Working with diverse individuals is a key point of satisfaction for this generation of interns who happen to be more diverse than any other generation of interns before them. In turn, having peers who value speaking up on social justice issues is not merely desired, but expected in the workplace. Gen Z interns have high standards, and are looking for workplaces that share their standards and values.
What Works and What Doesn’t
We spoke to this year’s Winter RingTerns to find out what they look for in an internship. Common themes included a desire for autonomy, open communication, career development opportunities, and strong employee benefits.
Security Trust Intern, Kayla Alston from the University of Connecticut, told me about some of the things she did not enjoy at her previous internships, like a lack of structure and busy work. “I was being paid to do nothing, and I hated that” she told me over a call. Learning is one of Kayla’s top priorities at internships, and when she is not able to do that effectively, she feels like her time is being wasted. In contrast, Kayla believes that RingCentral has given her balance. The work that she is completing is challenging and stimulating, and her managers assign her enough tasks to take her through the week without overwhelming her.
Why do RingTerns LOVE RingCentral?
So, why do RingTerns enjoy working at RingCentral? In short, it’s the culture.
RingCentral has created an environment that aligns closely with the desires of Gen Z college students. From Employee Resource Groups which provide a safe space for employees of nearly all identities, to a communication network that allows interns to meet with every employee at the company, RingCentral fosters an environment of togetherness and belonging.
Interns that I spoke with believed that RingCentral was unique in its genuine approach to mentorship. Being able to ask questions freely and gain guidance from our mentors without fear of being judged or looked down upon is something that many of us have not experienced in our previous intern roles. This allows RingTerns to truly learn and develop real-world skills needed to excel in future positions.
I asked a few of my fellow RingTerns to tell me why other college students should intern at RingCentral. These were their responses:
“Someone should intern at RingCentral because of the sense of togetherness.” Many organizations, “are focused on putting you in a position and kind of forgetting you… I have had a lot of great conversations and great interactions with other interns in the group, with my co-workers, and the account executives. I think that is something that is kind of hard to find these days. It really feels like a big community at RingCentral… Everyone is so welcoming and open, it’s awesome.” –Jules Bouhadana, Sales Account Intern
“Everyone is so hands-on. If you feel lost there is always going to be someone that can help get you on track. There’s a giant support group here.” –Kayla Alston, Security Trust Intern
“Definitely the inclusive environment. My manager, Sangeeta (Parsatwar), she’s been very kind. She has made the whole experience inclusive and easy to learn. And she has given me a lot of freedom to learn the things I want, and pursue the projects I want.” Also, “The food. We have very good free food.” –Alex Asaturian, Real Estate Lease Administrator Intern.
As a RingTern myself, I have found my experience at RingCentral to be unique from any other organization that I have interned with. I actually joined RingCentral because of its culture. From the time that I was hired, I was met with love, understanding, and compassion. My University Recruitment Team mentors, Abby Hyde and Brooke Williams, have provided me with endless support while still allowing me to have ownership over my own projects.
Why do I think other Gen Z students should join RingCentral? RingCentral will teach you the necessary skills to excel in your field of study. Just as learning is our top priority, mentorship is theirs. It’s true, if you find something you love you’ll never work a day in your life. I experienced that for the first time at RingCentral. This organization will teach you that working can be fun, especially when you are surrounded by amazing people. I urge future interns to find a place that gives them happiness. RingCentral has certainly done that for me.
Originally published Apr 26, 2023