Back in 2004, AgCareers.com developed a program to help spread the word on college campuses about the AgCareers.com website and the employment brand of many of our partnership clients. The idea was to hire college students to be AgCareers.com representatives on their campuses and give informative presentations to clubs and organizations about the website and showcase the types of internships and jobs that could be found on AgCareers.com. Over the course of 11 years, AgCareers.com employed 50 students from 63 different campuses and quickly became the industry model for campus ambassador programs. Many others in the industry have come to us for assistance in developing their own programs, which has lead us to develop this top 10 list of things to consider when developing a campus ambassador program.
10 Tips for Creating a Successful Campus Ambassador Program
1. Ambassador programs are much like internship programs; you must be committed to achieving success. Depending on the size of your ambassador class, the length of their term and the duties they have, you more than likely need to dedicate a large portion (50-80%) of someone’s plate to effectively running the program.
2. Understand that students are most likely to be reachable at night. The person on your staff who manages this program must be able to flex their time.
3. Develop some type of accountability model for your ambassadors.
4. Plan to visit with your ambassadors face-to-face at least once during their term. If at all possible, bring them all to your location for training and wrap-up activities.
5. Monthly meetings, even if they are via Skype/teleconference system are critical.
6. Incentivize your ambassadors;: honorariums, scholarships, networking opportunities, company attire, are all creative ways to compensate beyond just an hourly rate (which is also acceptable).
7. Ambassadors can also serve as student focus groups, help at trade shows and career fairs beyond their typical duties. Look for creative ways to involve your top talent!
8. Keep in contact with your campus partners (faculty, staff, career services) about your program. You don’t want the first time they find out you have an ambassador on their campus to be when the student is standing in their doorway telling them.
9. Remember that they are students first and foremost, and if they weren’t, you wouldn’t have hired them into the role. You can’t expect them to conduct 40 hours of work for you a week. They must be committed to scholarly work and scholarly social obligations first which will make them better at being an ambassador for your company.
10. Use the program as part of your recruitment strategy. Show your ambassadors how this opportunity can help fast track them within your company. Utilize the program to retain those interns who’ve impressed you and want to stay engaged while back on campus.
You don’t have to worry about creating a campus ambassador program on your own. AgCareers.com offers both trainings and consulting services for creating a campus ambassador program within your organization. Check out our offerings and contact us today to get started.