Human Resource Management Internships
On October 26, 2015, I became a Quality Intern at Alta Resources in Neenah, Wisconsin. My supervisor is Mark Strassburg, who is the Director of Quality at Alta Resources. He is responsible for the direction and performance of the Quality department. My desk is directly across from his, so I am able to easily communicate with him and get any questions that I have answered quickly.
I was extremely excited, yet nervous my first day working at Alta Resources. This is my first internship, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect. The only thing I expected was quite a bit of information to be given to me on the first day and throughout the first week. I was prepared, but I still knew that it would be a challenge. What I expected to happen on my first day and during the first week at Alta Resources indeed happened. I had to process a large amount of information in a short period of time, but it wasn’t as overwhelming as I expected. I received a great deal of help when I needed it from not only my supervisors, but from other Quality Interns that have worked there for months or years before me.
Now that I am about six weeks into my internship, I help with a variety of tasks. As a Quality Intern, I make schedules for all of the employees at Alta Resources. That includes employees located in Wisconsin, Florida, California, and the Philippines. The times and days that employees are available to work are organized on excel spreadsheets. In one of the business classes I have taken, Quantitative Business Analysis, excel spreadsheets were explained and used frequently in great depth, so I was already moderately experienced in excel. Another responsibility of mine is to reply to e-mails from team leaders. Team leaders send e-mails to the Quality Interns when changes need to be made to the records and schedules of employees on their team. I also had the chance to Y-cord with an employee who made phone calls to and received phone calls from customers of one of Alta’s clients. The reasoning behind listening to a few conversations was to develop a better understanding of what should be said to customers to maintain good relationships with them. That opportunity will be helpful for projects down the line that involve listening and checking the quality of employee/customer conversations. There are other small projects that I work on when needed to assist my supervisors.
One of my internship goals was to become confident in my understanding of all the different software used to complete everyday computer tasks at Alta Resources. The reason for this was because at first I was slightly overwhelmed by all of the different software I needed to use to complete different tasks. I asked a bunch of questions when I started working on different tasks to help understand where the different information was found on the computer. By asking a lot of questions, I began to get tasks done much quicker without having to ponder where the information was located to begin my work. I also made sure to pay close attention when things were explained and showed to me. I can now say that I am easily and quickly able to find all that I need to complete my current responsibilities.
Another goal of mine was to maintain professional relationships with those I meet at Alta Resources. To do this, I wanted to mainly focus on being helpful and to go above and beyond for those I work with to build and maintain positive relationships. I actually recently received a card from one of my supervisors that thanked me for staying late one Friday to complete some important, last minute changes that needed to be made to employee schedules. It was nice to receive a written note of appreciation, even though I enjoyed staying late to help out.
My last goal was to improve my interpersonal skills, and I feel that this opportunity continues to help me with that. In the short six weeks of working as a Quality Intern at Alta Resources, I have improved my written communication skills, mostly from composing and replying to e-mails, and I have improved my oral communication skills by communicating often with those I work with. My attention to detail has also greatly improved. I have learned a great deal from this internship so far, and I know that I will continue to learn a lot more in the weeks to come at Alta Resources.
This internship so far has helped me gain more confidence in my decision to get a business degree in Human Resource Management. Although this internship was not labeled a Human Resource Management Internship, it has and will continue to build new skills and help improve current skills of mine that are needed in that field as well. I plan to apply for another internship during the summer of 2016, but I will be looking for positions in Human Resources. I am not sure where I want to apply yet. I am mostly focused on looking to get more experience and to get to know and learn from different business professionals.
My major-specific classes so far have prepared me for this internship and will help in future internships mostly from the group projects that were assigned. Many business classes in general assign quite a few group projects. Although sometimes group projects can be stressful from communication troubles or trying to find times to meet as a group, they are overall very helpful for business students. Group projects have helped me become a more organized person and I am better able to work in groups by communicating my ideas more clearly and better dealing with any group disagreements. Overall, this internship combined with the major-specific classes and general business classes that I have completed so far have put me in a good direction. The next step for me is to continue to look for other opportunities so that I can continue to grow professionally.
I am currently the Human Resources Intern for the City of Oshkosh. The City of Oshkosh provides services to the City of Oshkosh 24 hours a day, 365 days a year through the Police, Fire, Transit, Public Works, and Parks Department, just to name a few. It operates under a City Council, who acts as the legislative and policy making body of the City, and a City Manager, who is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing the activities of the City. The City Manager is in charge of 620 full and part time employees.
Responsibilities & Projects
One of my projects was to research other cities’ and counties’ sexual harassment policies and anti-bullying policies. Once I reviewed my gathered information, I made recommendations for adjustments and additions to the City of Oshkosh’s policy. Another project was to research and compile information on the City’s comparables to prepare for the upcoming Police, Fire, and Transit union contract negotiations. I was able to participate in multiple interview panels and provide feedback on the candidates’ responses and qualifications and provide recommendations on who to hire. And, I am currently conducting research on the Best Practices for Wellness Committees to present to the head of the Wellness Committee, my supervisor, and the Assistant City Manager.
Impact of My Internship Experience
My internship experience confirmed that I chose the correct major. I have really enjoyed my internship with the City of Oshkosh, I met a lot of great professionals and got to experience and learn a lot.
Obtaining My Internship
The first step I took in obtaining an internship starting freshman and sophomore year were attending both the spring and fall Career Fair. I was able to network with a variety of organizations and got a taste of what I wanted in an internship. Leading into junior year, I conducted three informational interviews, one of the companies being Oshkosh Corporation. After my informational interview with Oshkosh Corporation, I was contacted by a recruiter to discuss future internship opportunities for the Fall. When the fall semester started, I applied for the year round HR Internship with Oshkosh Corporation and connected with the same recruiter I was in contact with at the Career Fair. Within two days, I received a call to interview with Oshkosh Corporation’s number one brand in the fire and emergency segment, Pierce Manufacturing. After two rounds of interviewing, I received the offer for the HR Internship.
Connecting with Other Interns
Oshkosh Corporation does an excellent job of putting together intern events so interns from different locations can get to know one another and network. These events vary from learning about future financial stability to going to a Green Bay Gambler’s hockey game. Getting to connect with other interns in both a professional and social setting is a great way to learn how others balance working and being a full-time student. Oshkosh Corporation has put together a Facebook page for interns so we receive updates of different events throughout the year.
Overall, the HR Intern assists the HR department with any responsibilities or projects that may come up but the main focus is on recruiting, benefits, and employee relations. I assist my supervisor with setting up interviews with hiring managers, interviewing, calling candidates, and working with our Talent Acquisition and Management System (TAMS). Currently, I am the lead on hiring and placing our summer help; these are candidates who have parents who work at either Pierce Manufacturing or Oshkosh Airport Products. It’s a great opportunity for me to complete all the steps of the new employee hiring process. Within benefits, I assist with open enrollment in November, and I manage Pierce’s monthly service awards. I put together invitations, and PowerPoints recognizing employees for their years of service with Pierce. Employee Relations is something I observe more than take action. When any type of major employee issue arises, usually the HR Director will have me sit in on the meeting and take notes. Those type of situations you learn from experience and are definitely something I don’t get exposed to in school. These three main areas are what make up my daily responsibilities and projects.
McClone is headquartered in Menasha, Wisconsin and has several locations throughout Wisconsin. Since 1949, the company has been focused on selling insurance and providing a family-oriented atmosphere. More recently, the company has started expanding their human resource department and performing human resource tasks for smaller companies. Essentially, the McClone Human Resource department is an outsourced human resource department for many different companies who may not be able to have a human resource department themselves. My supervisor is Jennifer Carstens, the implementation account manager.
Payroll for North Central Irrigation and Valley Grinding
I am responsible for running payroll for North Central Irrigation on Tuesdays and Valley Grinding on Wednesdays. To begin, I receive an e-mail from Jennifer containing the client’s payroll spreadsheet which includes names of employees, hours they worked, and PTO. From there, I save the Excel spreadsheet as a DSV (Comma, Delimited) document. I log into Stratex and verify any information that is needed such as employee’s address and payroll changes. Then, I upload the Excel spreadsheet, and Stratex will calculate the payroll. If there are any adjustments (like deductions and earnings), I will add those as well. Finally, after making adjustments, I calculate the final payroll and let Jennifer know that I have completed it. Overall, by running payroll on a weekly basis, it allows me to understand how HRISs operate and are critical to day-to-day operations in the human resource field. Also, it allows me to understand how to extract data from HRIS like I learned in HR Information and Metrics.
So far, I have conducted one I-9 audit for one of McClone’s clients. I am in the process of starting a second I-9 audit. When I begin an I-9 audit, I extract data of past and current employees from the HRIS, and then I determine whose I-9 is going to be retained and disposed of. (An I-9 is a document that is filled out by both employee and employer that verifies that the employee is legally able to work in the United States.) After, I search for the I-9s that are going to be retained by sorting through the stack of I-9s. If I cannot find an I-9 of a specific employee, I document it as missing. After determining and finding which I-9s are going to be kept, I audit them for any errors. Once done auditing, I compile data about the I-9 audit such as accuracy rate of the I-9 forms and retention rate of the I-9 forms. Despite being a long and grueling process, the I-9 audits teach me the importance of documentation, organization, asking questions, and paying attention to small details.
At the beginning of the internship, I received a list of topics that I should research for the company. The research topics are hot topics in the human resource management industry such as gender-pay differences, Wisconsin’s “One Day Rest in Seven” law, and criminal conviction history discrimination. I research these topics when I have free time and compile the information into one word document. By having these research projects for me, it allows me to learn what resources are out there in addition to learning new information about the human resource management.
Goal #1: Learn how to navigate 2 HRISs
I am making progress on learning how to use both HRISs, Stratex and SuiteHR, at McClone. I have had tasks that involve me looking up information and adding information into the HRISs. By doing so, I am learning about how to navigate HRISs efficiently and extract data from the systems.
Goal #2: Increase communication skills both orally & written
I have made progress in increasing communication skills. When I need to ask co-workers questions, I will have a list of questions to ask instead of just asking one question and asking another one later. Also when I send e-mails, I say what is on my mind instead of overthinking a response. I am learning how to use Microsoft Outlook better for communication and learning how to speak my mind more.
Goal #3: Process understanding & development
Previously, I didn’t understand what the end goal of projects were. After setting this goal, I have learned how to ask questions such as “When is the deadline?” and questions relating to the end goal. By setting this goal also, I am learning how my role as the McCloneHR Intern affects the different clients McClone has. Understanding the big picture is just as important as understanding the fine details.
Goal #4: Develop an understanding of McClone’s infrastructure
I have progressed a lot in learning more about McClone’s infrastructure. By having weekly meetings with different employees of all departments, I am learning how every employee plays an important role in the big operation of McClone. I have improved in my interpersonal skills through the weekly meetings while understand McClone’s formal and informal infrastructure.
Goal #5: Develop relationship (resourcefulness)
In my opinion, I have come a long way in developing relationships with my coworkers. The weekly meetings have definitely help me learn more about my coworkers. They have taught me so many different tricks in the industry such as organizational skills and compliance tools. After completing my internship, I will have a network at McClone (which I’m very thankful for) to ask any questions to.
Having this internship made me realize that I am only doing a speck of what a human resource professional could possibly do. The role I am in is a human resource generalist role, and the thought of a person specializing in one area of human resource or being able to handle a human resource generalist role well is overwhelming. Because there is always more information to be learned, I will join the local SHRM chapter after graduation to learn as much about human resource as I can. If my future employer will compensate me for conferences and trainings that are work-related, I will take advantage of those opportunities as well. Currently in the human resource field, there is a heated debate whether a HRCI or SHRM certification is better. Because being in the profession is a requirement before taking the certification exam and there is an issue of which certification is better, I am going to wait on receiving a certification. As I get further into my career, it is important for me to keep learning in order to be more informed about the human resource industry as well as being more marketable for other possible positions whether it is by attending SHRM events or receiving the various certifications.
In my role, I mainly use the information I learned from Dr. Barbara Rau’s HR Information & Metrics and Compensation Management. HR Information & Metrics taught me how to navigate an HRIS and exposed me to the idea of metrics, an important component of the human resource industry. Compensation Management exposed me to the truth of the human resource world: how companies differentiate from each other, the importance of data, and important topics of the industry (such as gender pay difference). Honestly, it is very difficult for me to criticize the human resource management (HRM) department at UW Oshkosh, because human resource is truly a broad field with so many different components. It would be extremely difficult for a professor to teach every aspect of human resource especially because every company’s human resource department’s priorities differs. I truly think that the HRM department at UW Oshkosh does their best to explain the theories of human resource while providing real world examples and their hopes involves the students being able to apply these theories to the work environment. With the various amounts of cases, individual projects, and group projects that are assigned in human resource management classes, they are truly helpful, because they make students think about how the information they are being taught is applicable to their assignments. Overall, I feel like the HRM department UW Oshkosh has tried their best to prepare me for the human resource field as much as they can, and for that, I am very satisfied with my education from UW Oshkosh.
I am currently the human resources intern at Tempel Steel Company located in Chicago, Illinois. I am going into my senior year at UW Oshkosh, were I am majoring in Human Resources and Economics.
Tempel Steel Company is the world’s leading independent manufacturer of precision magnetic steel laminations and makes steel laminations for a wide range of products, including automobiles, power tools, home appliances, HVAC systems, generators and many other products. Tempel Steel was started in 1945 by Tempel Smith on the north side of Chicago, and today it has grown into a global company with locations in China, Mexico, Canada, India and Chicago.
What I do at my internship?
As the human resources intern at Tempel Steel my position is of a HR generalist. The great thing about interning at Tempel is they are allowing me to work in each area of human resources. It has been a great experience to be able to work in all the different areas of Tempel’s human resources department. By having this opportunity I have been able to find out what areas of HR I like more than others.
When I work in recruiting, I am involved throughout the whole recruiting process. My responsibility’s includes screening resumes, conducting phone interviews, setting up interviews with the hiring managers, conducting face to face interviews with the hiring managers and checking reference. Other areas of responsibility have been in benefits were I put employees benefit information into Tempel’s information system. I also work in the area of training employees. I work with Tempel’s HRIS system and type in information into the system that shows when an employee has completed the training and where they were training. Other responsibilities and projects I have include creating a new employee orientation presentation, creating job descriptions for current positions and helping set up company activities.
Obtaining my internship
I was looking for an internship summer of 2014 and was wanting to intern in the Chicago area. I contacted a person I know at Tempel in early February to see if they would be hiring interns in human resources this summer. He then gave me the email address to Tempel’s HR Manager. I emailed Tempel’s HR Manager my resume and cover letter explaining how I wanted to intern this summer at Tempel and was going to be in the Chicago land area this summer. I was then given a phone interview which lasted about 20 minutes. I was really nervous having interviewed a couple of other companies that did not work out. I was really hoping I would do well in the phone interview. At the end of the interview I was asked if I wanted to come in and do an in person interview which I agreed to. In my in person interview I was interviewed by the V.P. of Human Resources and the HR manager. After the interview I was very nervous about whether I was going to get the internship or not. Three weeks later, I got the job.
What I have learned
I have learned a lot during my internship and have been a great learning experience. One of the things I learned about working in HR is you have to be quick to changes in the workday. You could be working on a project when something else more important comes up that takes precedence over your current work and you have to stop what you are working and focus on the new problem or project that came up. I saw this a lot with the Tempel’s benefits expert with people randomly coming into her office with questions on their employee benefits causing her to stop what she was working on to educate an employee on their benefits. I would also say I have learned a lot about staying organized and how important organization is with different projects and task coming up randomly.
Upon entering my senior year at UW Oshkosh, I began a new internship with the Recruitment Team at Ministry Health Care. As a Human Resources Management major with a Healthcare Management emphasis, this was the perfect opportunity to apply my education within the industry I hope to be in after graduation. I operate primarily out of Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh, assisting a virtual team of recruiters filling positions for locations throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota. My duties include participating in intake sessions, phone interviews, and offer negotiations, dispositioning candidates through the hire process, assisting in coordination of job fairs and events, and updating the applicant tracking system, among other recruitment projects and initiatives.
Obtaining my internship
I first heard of the internship with Ministry Health Care through the UW Oshkosh SHRM Chapter. The current intern at the time was serving on the SHRM board and was graduating at the end of the semester, and shared the upcoming opportunity with other members. As I was anxious for more human resources experience within the healthcare field, I applied to the internship soon after. I then completed a phone interview with another current intern, a face-to-face interview with three recruiters, and an additional phone interview with the Recruitment Manager before being offered the position.
Internship impact on career path
A major struggle I had going into my internships was deciding what area of human resources I wanted to focus on after graduation. The field of human resources has a wide array of niche areas to choose from (employee relations, recruiting, HRIS, benefits, etc.), and I credit my internships for helping me to narrow down my areas of interest. I really enjoy healthcare recruiting, as you are able to indirectly impact patient care and work to recruit associates that do incredible things each and every day. Through my experiences, I have also come to realize my ultimate goal of working in corporate wellness within a fast-paced healthcare setting.
Advice for students beginning the internship search
The biggest piece of advice I would share with students would be to seek out internships early in your college career and try to complete multiple internships if possible. I have interned with the UW Oshkosh Human Resources Office, The Medical College of Wisconsin, and now Ministry Health Care, and all have greatly impacted my professional development and level of confidence. My overall understanding of human resource management has also increased, as each organization has given me a new perspective and has allowed me to apply concepts learned through my courses directly to real world situations. Finally, interning with multiple organizations has allowed me to evaluate what type of organizational culture and environment I would like to be in after graduation.
Currently I am a proud intern at Pinnacle Machine LLC located in Appleton Wisconsin. I work as a Human Resources Manager. This consists of aiding employees with any needs they may have from benefits to scheduling conflicts, designing and implementing recruitment and evaluation processes, modifying the handbook, and overall helping in the development of a Human Resources department for the first time.
Pinnacle Machine began production in 1993 as a small three man shop, including owner Don Miller. Since that time they have grown steadily into a forty-five plus employee operation. Pinnacle Machine specializes in using exotic materials in the engineering, designing and creating of various metal products; a major market being that of hydro plants. Thirty machines varying from mills to lathes to CNCs produce products such as pumps, casings, shafts, and impellers. Pinnacle Machines products may be found around the local Fox Valley area, throughout the United States, and in a few other countries. Pinnacle Machine continues to become a key player in the machining industry and has recently began the acquisition of another plant which will double the size of the organization.
Obtaining my internship
Previous to being offered the internship at Pinnacle Machine I had worked as an employee for five years doing basic reception work. In that time I developed strong relationships with my supervisors and co-workers, making them aware of my studies and progress throughout my college career. I had discussed with the owner, of whom I often did secretary work for, about the benefits of developing a Human Resources department, especially given the growth planned for the near future. Shortly thereafter I was called into a private meeting with him and two of my other supervisors. At first, I was nervous that I overstepped my boundaries suggesting such a change as a whole additional department; after all I was there to answer phones, not give advice to a man who built a company from scratch before I was even walking. My fears subsided when upon walking into the room he smiled and asked if I was up for a challenge, knowing I was looking for an internship for school; he offered me the opportunity to head in the development of the beginning of a Human Resources department, given I could demonstrate it was beneficial. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity as I was already a member of the Pinnacle team and culture, and shortly after began the development of the department to the best of my ability; with him and other management mentoring and supporting my knowledge on the subject.
What I learned
I am forever grateful for the opportunity given to me by Pinnacle Machine and its management team, as it has taught me so much about myself, my career choice, and what I can expect as a business professional. I have learned that I can be confident in the education I am receiving as it truly does assist in my daily duties. I have also learned that if I truly am passionate about something and have the motivation I do have the ability to get programs implemented and make a huge difference in the organization as a whole. Perhaps the most important thing about myself that I have learned is that I am now viewed as a professional and can be proud of that. My internship additionally has made me confident in my choice of major and ultimately career. I actually enjoy getting up in the morning, going to work and feeling like I made the workplace a better place that day, or the company a little more efficient. Lastly, I have had the first opportunity to sit in with many of the management team and owners to get an idea of what a life as a business professional entails; things that you cannot read in books.
Inevitably, I also learned and developed many of the skills desirable in a Human Resources position. I was given the opportunity and resources to try new things and the support to implement many of my ideas. This gave me daily practice of a HR professional, only strengthening my experience.
The internship at Pinnacle Machine has been one of the most rewarding adventures of my college career. I was able to be part of a company that let me put all that I was learning in the class room to action and trusted in my education. This gave me the opportunity for hands on experience at both failure and success in an active work environment; allowing me to grow wiser on the subject. Upon completion on the internship at Pinnacle I am hoping to secure a full time position.