From the life of an intern…
Sonja, please tell us something about yourself.
I am a student at the Leuphana University Lüneburg, studying „Management & Human Resources“ and working towards earning my master’s degree in spring 2013. For this semester, I decided to do an internship at Henkel, working in the ‘Global Diversity & Inclusion’ department and assisting the team in Düsseldorf as well as Shanghai.
Why did you apply for an internship in the “Diversity & Inclusion” department?
After completion of a very interesting internship in the Human Resources department in Henkel’s Business Unit Laundry and Home Care in 2011, I decided that I wanted to continue to develop my knowledge and understanding of the subject and thus to apply for another internship in Human Resources in Düsseldorf. I was looking for an additional opportunity to develop my skills as well as my professional know-how. Furthermore I wanted to gain insight into more conceptual HR tasks as well as in change management. In my opinion, diversity in particular is a very important and future oriented subject and I agree that it is of great significance to view an employee as an individual rather than to limit one’s focus on the workforce as a whole. To create an inclusive environment is not easy but anyway an important competitive factor for businesses in the future.
What kinds of tasks are assigned to you at Henkel?
My work is very diverse, which is very exciting. Most of my assignments deal with internal and external communications with regards to diversity like for example writing blog posts for the henkeldiversity.com blog. However, there are plenty of other tasks as well – ranging from the work on an ‘flexible working competence platform’ to the support of a supplier screening for new unconscious bias trainings. One very exciting project that I am currently working on is the design, planning, and implementation of the first internal “Diversity & Inclusion” award at Henkel.
What do you like most about your internship?
Of course the highlight of my internship is to be given the opportunity to spend three months abroad. I am thrilled to be working with the Asia Pacific ambassador of Diversity & Inclusion in Shanghai towards the end of June and I am very eager to gain new experiences through my three month long stay in China. On an everyday basis though, I must say I was surprised by the very positive working environment, the highly motivated colleagues and that I was handed new assignments every day. Moreover, I was very happy to notice that all of my colleagues treated me as an equal from the moment I started to work for Henkel.
In your opinion, how will you benefit from working at Henkel?
The experiences during my internship will definitely prepare me for future jobs in Human Resources. I have the opportunity to get to know very different aspects of the daily work in Human Resources and especially in Diversity and Inclusion. I have the chance to work in a diverse team but also to complete my individual tasks and to plan and carry out my very own projects. The experiences abroad will be a special development of course – work-related as well as personally.
I am glad to say that, once my internship is over in September 2012, I will spend another five months at Henkel in Düsseldorf to write my master thesis on a diversity topic.