Insight into Human Resources- Compensation & Benefits, Recruitment and Learning and Development
People were really friendly and helpful when it came to giving me tasks. I was placed in the HR department and had no previous experience in HR but I had a great time there and learned a lot about the company and the department. Overall it was a really great insight experience and I would definitely recommend it as a fairly laidback introduction to different departments.
My insight was really short, only 3 weeks long so there was a limit on how much I could contribute to the company during that time. Having said that people were always very willing to give me actual tasks such as calling up interview candidates and also doing reference checks which were used for make employee files. I think all in all they trusted me in doing tasks that actually mattered.
People were very helpful during the insight 3 weeks, I didn't have a direct line manager to report to but I found it quite easy to just ask people around me for help when I needed it. Also, the tasks I was given were not particularly hard so I didn't really feel a need to ask for much help. I got the feeling that people were very willing to help though so I don't think that was a problem at all.
Well this was my first internship in Human Resources so it definitely taught me a lot about the different operations in HR, such as Recruitment, Compensation & Benefits and Learning and Development. It also helped me develop communication skills and how to act, dress and interact with people in a business setting. I was given the opportunity to call up companies for reference checks and talk to interview candidates over the phone so it was very useful in learning how to properly address people in a formal setting. It was also really helpful in gaining independence as I would be assigned some work and then left to finish it, so it was good to learn how to manage time as well.
The insight was fairly informal and casual in the sense that there was no learning objectives or project to finish by the end of the insight. Also added to the fact that I was not assigned a direct line manager, there were no structured times to reflect and evaluate my work. I think the insight would definitely have benefited from more structure in the form of a checklist of learning objectives during the 3 weeks so that I could keep track of the things that i was learning about and know how much progress I was making throughout the insight.
In general, people were very welcoming and friendly to me during my insight. They would ask me to lunch and talk to me during the day even though my insight was so short. There was a fairly casual office atmosphere and people got along fairly well and seemed quite close. Having said that, during payroll week everyone was really busy and it got quite tense but I think that is quite normal in an office to have periods of more relaxed times and busier times with deadlines
There was minimal formal training and development especially because the insight was so short so we went straight into the work as not to waste time. But all the people working around me were very helpful and willing to explain if I had any issues. I found that it was more effective to try out the tasks myself and ask if I needed help as I learned faster and I found it easier to remember how to do the tasks the next day. It also forced me to take initiative to ask questions when I was confused and to learn more about other tasks when I had time .
Much of the work I did e.g. filing, doing reference checks, filling in C&B information in the company database is the same work that an analyst would do in a full time position, I think in that sense it was a good sense of what work would be like for a full time role. I didn't really get to learn much about other departments, however, so I think it would have been helpful to learn more about the company outside of the department I was interning at in order to get a better feel of what it is like to work in that Harvey Nichols.
It was helpful in understanding the culture of the department I was working in but I was very secluded from the other departments. I did not even have a chance to go on the sales floor to see what it was like in the customer facing front. Having said that, in general I felt that people were really relaxed and nice and I think that this would reflect throughout the company as I was doing an insight in the HR department who would be in charge of creating a strong company culture.
As someone who is interested in exploring Human Resources or HR related fields, it was really helpful to get a sense of what kind of work was involved in this department. For me, it helped me learn that perhaps whilst I was interested in human resources, I may not be the best for industry HR roles and prompted me to look into consulting roles in HR. I think the company did a good job of giving me a fairly well rounded insight into what it is like to work for the different operations in Human Resources in such a short amount of time.
It was an unpaid internship
There were a lot of opportunities to meet people within the HR departmetn at all levels. I had an opportunity to talk to analysts from a graduate level to the Director of the department. In that sense, I learned a lot about different kinds of work and perspectives at all levels of the department. Having said that, I did not have many opportunities to meet people outside of the department and network and learn about the company through them. I think this was mainly because of a time constraint as the insight was so short. I would have appreciated learning more about other departments however.
The only social events were when colleagues would go out for lunch together during lunch break, the company did not organize any (formal) social events during the time of my insight so I did not really get to get to know people outside of work. But in general people were really sociable inside the office and in the coffee room and there were plenty of opportunities to talk to them whilst grabbing a coffee or during our lunch breaks.
There was company newsletters circulating about an upcoming staff party and volunteering opportunities but none of them coincided with my insight period. They were not the most vocal about these activities but people seemed fairly excited and enthusiastic about participating in them. I think it may be because the company is fairly large and spread out with the corporate offices separate from the store fronts. That being said, people were very open about answering questions about activities outside of work.
I would definitely recommend this insight to a friend especially if they are interested in working in Human Resources or working for a Luxury fashion retail company. I learned about the different of working in HR for luxury retail and for a Fast moving consumer good retail company and it was a good insight in the kind of daily operations that happen for Human Resources. Overall it was a pleasant and informative insight experience and I learned a lot and enjoyed my time there.