Confessions of a Summer Intern: All Good Things Come to an End

Jay wraps up his summer internship with his final blog post. In case you missed them, read his first post and second post.

When you do something you love, time seems to fly by. That’s just what summer felt like to me. I can’t believe that my internship ended and that I will be moving in to Whitewater in a little over a week.

I don’t have a lot of updates as I was working on a lot of big projects, but everything that I accomplished was exciting and a blast to work on. First off, I have been working daily, without any supervision, on updating our applications, doing reference checks for our applicants, doing reference checks for other companies, and doing pre-screens. While this may not seem like a lot to do or very hard, it is a critical part of my internship and the Human Resources field in general. We want to hire the best candidates for the job and have them stay with our organization a long time.

This leads into one of my projects that I worked on and mentioned in my last post – the Recruitment Metrics. A recruitment metrics is graphs and data that show us how many applicants we got and where they are applying (websites, walk-ins, referrals) as well as breaking down the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) information like gender, race, and age. This took quite a long time because I counted everything by hand and it is a very important part of any job field. With these metrics, we could see what websites are getting the most traffic and the least traffic, if we need to post a job on another website, and the basic ‘type’ of people applying, just to name a few things. I enjoyed working on this because you really have to pay attention to the littlest details and I always make sure that all the numbers check out. Comparing it to June, we are on track to where we want to be!

Another project that I worked on was a little more exciting – creating a new bulletin board for our conference room. A few HR interns before me had created a bulletin board highlighting important dates and upcoming events. After a few years, the board got older and started to fall apart. When given this project, I had fun with it. I wanted the board to pop out and have people look at it the moment they step foot in the room. With that, I thought of some colors and got my measuring tape and scissors ready. After laying out my idea and making sure everything was evenly spread out, I was done.

Bulletin Board Before

Bulletin Board After

It was only a few minutes after I was done that everyone in the office was saying that it was the best looking bulletin board, that it looked professionally done, and that it would stay up there for a long time.

Who knows, if I can’t find an HR job right after college, I could be an interior decorator. Haha!

One of the most fun parts of my internship was going to our Corporate offices in Jefferson, Wisconsin. I was so excited to see how they do HR there and to see the other aspects of the organization as well. While up there, I was able to talk with and meet a lot of the corporate directors and establish contacts with them! Also, I got to sit in on an awesome speaker that spoke to us about how to keep employees happy and to improve the work environment. For lunch, we went to the best China House I have ever been to and they had the best Orange Chicken! After we ate, I got to go back and sit in on a meeting on how we are performing as a whole. That was exciting to be at! On the way home, I got to see the fun side of my co-workers. We were laughing and joking and I think I even shed a tear because I was laughing so hard.

A new thing that we started to kick-into-action for our employees was to take daily walks around lunch to get ready for Health & Wellness Week. This has been a great way to get some exercise while getting to know my co-workers even more. The walks have become quite popular and I know they will continue to do them – at least until the cold weather and snow start.

As I mentioned in my last post, a project I had been working on was our Hiring Process. My goal was, from start to finish, to hire at least 3 people. Well, I exceeded that goal and I hired 5 new employees. It was awesome seeing all that time and effort pay off. I am glad the saying “the fruits of your labor” still applies to today’s work force.

One of the new people that I hired was the HR intern. I was sad and yet happy to do this. It meant that my internship was almost over, but that I could also train the new intern so that she could do as good as I job that I did. (I hope that doesn’t rub people the wrong way. I was told by many that I was probably the best HR intern they had.)

Going back a bit regarding the hiring of the new HR intern – which is something my supervisor has all the HR interns do – I got to go through the entire hiring process. This included a lot of what I did for the other 4 new hires. But this time, I got to conduct the interview as well as train her while I finished up interning for the organization. I was nervous about the interview as I had never done one before. To my luck, she was way more nervous than I was (that made me feel a lot better). As for training her, I went over a lot of the basic daily tasks that I work on and let her know more about the bigger picture projects as well.

Let me talk about the other 4 new hires I mentioned. On their first day of Training & Orientation, I conducted half of the presentations for that day. This included the New Hire Welcome, the Conduct section of our Employee Handbook, and the Jeopardy! Game to wrap the day out. I always enjoy this part of my internship (Training & Development) because what you teach them, they will use in their job. It gives me a sense of joy knowing that because of me, they will be able to take something and use it on a daily basis for their job.

HR Orientation PowerPoint
HR Orientation PowerPoint

Story time! – On the first day of Training & Orientation, one of the new employees was coming up to me about questions and talking to me while my supervisor was in the dark. My supervisor joked later that he felt like he was the intern and I was the HR Generalist because I was doing so well. I joked back and said that maybe one day I would take over his job and he said he’d be happy because then he could take a nice long vacation with all the Paid Days Off he accumulated.

The last thing I will talk about, and the most important to me, is the personal project that I had been working on – the Training Satisfaction Surveys. After a long time working on them, I finished them up and was happy with how they looked and all the information in them, too. When I gave them to my supervisor, I expected him to give them back to me and suggest me to add/delete certain things. However, he read them, said they were great, and started giving them to the new employees that started the same day I completed the surveys. I was shocked! I didn’t expect the surveys to go into effect that quickly!

Just a few of the Training Surveys I created.
Training Surveys

To my knowledge, it was his plan all along, and he had his full trust in me to get it done. After talking about they surveys after we got a lot back, he said that the information we received was very valuable to the organization and that they will be implementing the surveys for a very long time. He said that he was also going to talk to everyone at the board meeting the next Monday (August 20th – the first day after my internship ended) and tell everyone about them. When he told me this, I was socked and in awe. My hard work had really been paying off and I really made a profound impact for our organization. I will stay in contact with everyone and see how they all like the surveys! (I even started to work on another major project that I didn’t get to finish. Hopefully one of the other HR interns will pick it up or maybe I can work on it over winter break or over next summer.)

Like I said before, all good things come to an end. This is where I will wrap up.

Overall, I loved my internship experience and got to know a lot of wonderful people. This internship really reaffirmed that Human Resources is the right field for me and that I am on the right track with my career. I hope that what I will learn this upcoming semester regarding HR will be easier since I have so much knowledge of the field. It has been a pleasure interning at this great non-profit organization and who knows – I might end up there again one day.

Thanks for following me this summer and I hope you enjoyed reading and learning with me.

– Jay Brannan