More than 250 Kohl’s interns will learn, develop, volunteer, explore Milwaukee, and get to know each other - completely online
As the country adjusts to a new normal, inclusive of social distancing guidelines and fewer in-person interactions, Kohl’s is excited to continue its internship program for students across the country who are seeking to explore a career in retail. The seven-week paid internship program, which began June 22, is hosting 280 corporate interns from 28 states across the country. That’s in addition to the more than 200 interns working in Kohl’s stores this summer.
Kohl’s Early Talent team has been hard at work over the last couple of months transitioning the internship program from an in-person experience to going completely virtual. To better understand all that went into designing this year’s program, we spoke with two members of Kohl’s human resources team who made it all possible: Todd McClement, Kohl’s Talent Director, and Michelle Gallant, Kohl’s Early Talent Manager.
Q: In the midst of a global pandemic, why was it so important for Kohl’s to continue with its 2020 intern program and transition it to a virtual experience and what were the considerations?
Todd: “Early Talent is the number one pipeline for talent into Kohl's, and leaders are passionate about maintaining the program with as much consideration for the interns' health and safety as possible. Many of these students will come back to work as full-time associates in 2021, so the goal is for the internship to serve as a realistic preview of what their experience working for Kohl’s will be.
As we navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic as an HR team, we had to make a number of decisions along the way. First and foremost, as a company we have prioritized the health and safety of our associates and our customers. Secondly, it was important for us to have frequent and transparent communication with incoming interns about what we knew and didn’t know. Third, we wanted to make sure that we could deliver a best-in-class experience for these students so they could make the most of their time at Kohl’s regardless of format.”
Q: What areas of the business will host interns? Is this different from previous programs?
Todd: “As in a typical year, interns will be working in key business areas across the company, such as Art, Credit, Design, eCommerce, Finance, HR, Logistics, Marketing, Merchandising, Product Development, Technology and more. What’s different, however, is how they will be engaging with us. All departments that have had interns in the past will again have them this year.”
Q: With this year’s program going completely virtual, how will interns be able to experience all that #LifeAtKohls has to offer?
Michelle: “The program is designed to give our interns hands-on business experience at a national retailer, include them in the culture at Kohl's, and connect them with our leadership team. While bringing a new energy and thinking to the business, Kohl’s interns will still be able to experience all that #LifeAtKohls has to offer, with no shortage of opportunities. Kohl’s Early Talent team, in partnership with cross-functional teams throughout the company, has designed the 2020 intern program to be jam-packed with all of the activities of Kohl’s usual intern program, inclusive of virtual tours of Kohl’s corporate offices.”
Q: Aside from learning about the business, what can interns expect from a professional development perspective during their time at Kohl’s?
Michelle: “Not only will interns learn about specific areas of the business, they will also have opportunities to develop professionally as individuals through activities such as Kohl’s Executive Speakers Series, courses on several professional development topics, and exposure to Kohl’s Business Resources Groups (BRGs).
Through Kohl’s Executive Speakers Series, interns will hear from many of Kohl’s C-suite executives via virtual fireside chats. Leaders will speak to the interns about their individual career paths and leadership beliefs, as well as give insight into their specific areas of the business.
Professional Development topics that our Talent Development team has been instrumental in developing and will lead include Focus on Feedback, Building Professional Presence, Own your Own Development, Personal Interaction Styles, and Speaking on the Spot.”
Q: An important part of the Kohl’s intern experience has always been the social activities, where interns can get to know peers and other Kohl’s associates. How is that being brought to life virtually?
Michelle: “Interns will be able to experience a multitude of virtual social activities, such as virtual yoga, trivia nights, coffee chats with executives and peers, and virtual volunteer events. In partnership with local businesses, Kohl’s Early Talent team is developing activities for interns to experience all that Milwaukee has to offer. It has been really incredible to see the team's creativity shine to make this summer’s program best-in-class.”
Q: Will interns be offered full-time positions at Kohl’s after their internship experience?
Todd: “Similar to previous internship programs, students will have the opportunity to be transitioned into full-time roles after their internship. In 2019, fifty percent of Kohl’s interns were hired into key positions across the company. We plan to hire at the same level for this year's class of interns.”
For more than 20 years, Kohl’s has prided itself on an incredible early talent program that not only provides students with a holistic job experience, but immerses them in a strong culture, uniting them in a shared purpose – to inspire and empower families to lead fulfilled lives. For more information about Kohl’s intern program, visit Careers.Kohls.com.