One of the coolest things about t-shirts is their ability to unite people together. When you put on a t-shirt with a shared design, color, or slogan, you’re unifying yourself with a cause or company, and the tribe of people who are doing the same.
This is something that the team at BIGEYE, an integrated advertising agency in Orlando, FL, understands well. This week, we had the chance to catch up with our friend LeAnne Ball, Agency Marketing Specialist at BIGEYE, to get the inside scoop on how they’re using t-shirts to unite their team of interns and make them feel at home.
Q: It seems like, at BIGEYE, you all take interns pretty seriously. How many intern classes do you take on each year, and how many interns are in each class?
A: We do take our internship program very seriously and have worked hard to grow it over the last 2 years. We do 1 class a semester, so 3 a year. Depending on the need of each department and the candidates we get determines the number of interns each semester. Normally we range anywhere from 8–12 interns.
Q: What made you all decide to put such a heavy emphasis on your intern program?
A: When I first started at BIGEYE we had a program that only one person in the office was running. We had maybe 5–6 interns a semester, but there was no consistency, true organization, or solid “program” so to speak. Within the first couple of months being at BIGEYE I offered to jump in and help the person running it in efforts to take things off of her plate. I’ve had tons of experience working with students, so it felt natural.
Like many of our employees, as students, we had good and bad experiences, and we don’t ever want BIGEYE to be a bad experience. It’s part of our job as a community to help groom, grow, and teach the youth — so hopefully, even if in a small way, we can be a part of that.
Q: What’s your biggest goal for your internship program when it comes to BIGEYE itself?
A: We want our interns to leaving having a full grasp of what real agency life is like. So many students tour office spaces with school groups and see the “cool” office space agencies have. “You get to wear jeans? Okay, I want to work there!” Is something you hear a lot more often than you’d think.
We want to help them understand that while our dress attire isn’t corporate and our office space is “cool”, we are still a business. We have deadlines, responsibilities, etc. Each intern should understand the ins and outs of their department, but also understand at least 10% of all the others in the agency to help them learn how we all work together.
Q: How about your biggest goal in terms of what each intern will get from their experience?
A: Our goal is that by the end of each semester an intern has a better direction on what type of career they want. Maybe they learn while they are here they don’t want to be on an account team, but they saw/got to know the social interns so they want to try that for their next internship somewhere else.
Q: How does having such a large group of young 20-somethings affect culture in the office?
A: It definitely keeps things poppin’ and keeps the “older” employees young but I think having a handful of 20-somethings in a working environment with their hands-on real-time projects gives them a sense of contribution. They aren’t just fetching coffee, they are working on client projects alongside the employees. In a way, it lifts their maturity and shows them how to juggle the appropriate times to joke and the appropriate times to hustle.
Q: From the outside, it seems like BIGEYE puts a pretty heavy emphasis on company culture — what are some of the things you guys do as a company to cultivate a strong culture?
A: It’s a trade secret. Just kidding! Our Management team does a fantastic job of taking care of our staff. Whether that’s with a day off on their birthday, or a lunch in celebration of a life event, or just an office happy to get people away from their desks one hour earlier. BIGEYE is like a family!
Q: What are some of the things you do to make your interns feel at home and a part of the team?
A: We have a couple of events throughout the semester that we do to help the interns grow, but to also allow them to mingle with our office staff outside of the office. A lot of times the intimidation comes from being in an office space — which isn’t an environment they are used to, so we try to break that down by creating time to get to know them and break the ice, as well as allow them to join certain team outings.
Q: What made you choose t-shirts as a gift to the interns?
A: We’ve given BIGEYE t-shirts to interns before as a swag item to either welcome them to the team or to send them off at the end of the semester, but we wanted to do something that was more specific to them and made them feel important.
Q: How was your experience working with Real Thread? And how’s the final product?
A: Real Thread has been incredible. The team delivered a fantastic customer experience. Everyone was very personable, quick to respond (made me feel like I was your only client — which is a great feeling), and the logistics of my order was seamless. 10/10 would recommend. :)
We love working with people and teams who are using t-shirts for BIG things, and BIGEYE definitely fits the bill. Behind each t-shirt is a message. Though they play a fairly humble part, t-shirts have the power to push your brand story forward.
Click here to talk to a team member! We can’t wait to hear about what you’re working on.