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The HR Scoop

The Cultural Value of Internships

Season 4
May 5, 2022

Yair Riemer 00:01
Building someone’s courage, confidence, job skills, communication skills, self awareness. I think that only leads to further retention and growth that people see other people in their organization getting professional development talking about the training they’re receiving that’s going to help both internally and externally, people realizing this organization cares about my future.

Andrea Herron 00:21
Have you ever wondered how a company is able to offer unlimited time off or be a pet friendly office? Curious how HR leaders manage the well being of remote or essential workforces? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Hi, I’m Andrea Herron, head of people for WebMD health services. And I’d like to welcome you to the HR scoop. On this podcast, I talk with other HR leaders to explore the world of unique employee benefits, and about the challenges of managing unique workforces. Because well being isn’t a one size fits all approach.

On this season four premiere of the HR scoop, your and I discuss where many of us started our careers. as interns, we talk about how internships can improve corporate culture, your gives us a foundational tip for improving or starting an internship program. And lastly, we shift our conversation to career coaching. And for our audience out there, you will want to hear why we are living in the golden age of HR. Welcome back to the HR scoop everyone.

Today we have Yair Raymer, the CEO at Intoo. And we are going to be talking about all sorts of things including internships, and some foundational tips for success and just really, really excited to get into this conversation. But before we do, I would like to just say welcome and give you a minute to introduce yourself a little bit. So our audience has an idea of what you’ve got going on.

Yair Riemer 01:56
Thank you so much, Andrea, for having me appreciate it. So into is an organization that helps employees and transitioning job seekers develop their careers. So we’re an on demand career coaching Business, Career Technology Business, and they work with HR leaders, to help them sort of define important career development and career mobility projects for employees in their organization, or employees transitioning from the organization. So pretty amazing privilege to have, especially in this crazy job, climate and environment to help people sort of find their pathways and give them that courage, that confidence to get their next step their next job, it

Andrea Herron 02:32
really is such a critical component of the whole employment lifecycle. So it’s great work that you’re doing. So let’s start with your work and experience with internships, which I know are top of mind for a lot of companies, loving the pipeline, trying to get new talent into the company kind of bring up that next generation of employees. But a candidate’s perspective of a company can be highly affected by their internship experience. So, you know, what do you think from a corporate culture perspective is a benefit that a company can offer? Or, you know, how do we attract these interns that we all want and to really make our pipeline strong?

Yair Riemer 03:16
Yeah, so extremely passionate about internships, and in for many years, I helped lead and run the world’s largest internships marketplace. internships.com. I think there’s sort of two really important sides of the coin here. From the employers perspective, from the HR leaders or recruiters perspective. There’s that next generation of pipeline of talent, exactly what you mentioned, Andrea, which is, the cost of hiring someone is so much, why don’t we reduce that by bringing someone on earlier, having them familiarize themselves with our company during a summer during a semester, and then potentially turn that role into a full time role post graduation, something like seven out of 10 Internships turn into full time jobs with the employer that hires you in a formal internship program. So it’s a pretty amazing pipeline for talent to reduce the cost of acquiring that talent.

But I think there are actually some really great ancillary benefits for an organization. One of the ones I always used to remember, I’ve hired hundreds and hundreds of interns and interviewed probably 1000s is, you know, just having that that youthfulness, that young energy around and that innovation, and that next generation, I think, really lifts up organizations and has has them realized, like, wow, giving back, this is the next generation in my company. This is the next generation in the economy in the labor market. So there’s sort of an energy that can that can be surrounded there. And then and then I think, also, of course, you know, there’s the ability if you manage the program, right, and you have the resources to put that together, have increased productivity, that’s probably honestly third, right?

Number one is sort of a pipeline of talent. Number two is sort of what cultural benefits can you get? And number three, if you really do it, right, you can get significant work productivity out of these programs. So it’s a That’s it. That’s it The employer benefit and the benefits for the student or the intern are, of course, numerous right? entry point into the workforce. I think there’s a misconception that college or university prepares you for a career, I think I think it does for some, but I think for many happens to just be kind of where you are before you have to get a career. And so an internship program really helps get you on a career path or on a career track, understand what the workforce is like, outside of a classroom setting.

Andrea Herron 05:29
Yeah, it’s kind of like when you take a math class and then expected that that’s going to help you do your taxes down the road, like why isn’t there tax classes?

Yair Riemer 05:37
Correct? It’s exactly right. Applicability there. And I think, and I think, by the way, employers and colleges are coming together, and they’re trying to do something about it, or doing a little bit more workforce skills programs, or they’re trying to build it in the last five or 10 years, we’ve seen some of that. But generally, for most majors, and for most classes, you’re going to learn much more on the job, you’re going learn much more from your peers, your mentors, your colleagues, than you were from the textbook. And so that’s what makes internships so powerful.

Andrea Herron 06:05
Absolutely. You know, one other thing I’ve thought a lot about, specifically with interns and internships is really using that as an avenue to increase your diversity and inclusion efforts. Because we want to make sure that we’re giving people of all backgrounds opportunities to get their foot in the door, get that initial experience on their resume, because inevitably, you’re hired and even the entry level job once a year of experience, which, if you haven’t had an internship, or anything you can point to that’s almost impossible, and then you’re out from the start. So you know, I’ve seen this really be a powerful tool, when maybe you don’t have a lot of turnover, or maybe for whatever reason you’re limited, or you believe you’re limited, we could argue if that’s true, but I think that the internships really could be a vehicle if someone hasn’t thought of that yet.

Yair Riemer 06:55
Absolutely. Another unbelievable benefit, which is looking and seeing at these pools of talent, who you can help train, you can help provide their first professional experiences, which not only makes your workforce more diverse, but gives opportunities that sort of spreads, right? It’s kind of this octopus where your tentacles from one intern eventually becomes a partner or a vendor or comes back around or refer someone. And it’s a super, it’s just a great, it’s a when you’re surrounded by you know, an 18 to 26 year old and, and you see sort of, with their eyes open and the world is still it’s still this place where we can conquer it’s, it’s a nice lift in this in this world of stress and this world of coming out of a pandemic, right. So it’s a, it’s got other benefits as well,

Andrea Herron 07:38
absolutely. It’s like when you get to do new hire orientation, everyone is so excited to be there. They don’t you know, have any baggage or, you know, any history before, it really is kind of invigorating to be around that. Another thing that I’ve been thinking about lately, because as people are going back to a physical office or starting to return to a physical place, and then also layering in internships, a lot of these, especially young folks may have never worked in an actual office place together.

And so that is going to be a whole learning curve that I’m not sure anyone is really thinking about or prepared for has that come up anywhere? You know, in your perspective?

Yair Riemer 08:19
I mean, not not with the not from the intelligence piece. But absolutely, from speaking with HR leaders all the time. So I think it is the number one thing on HR leaders minds in the last, you know, few weeks and months, which is this sort of flexibility is is a key theme, I think for 2022 and return to the offense versus productivity out of it. But I think you’re exactly right. I never even thought about that until you said it. Now, you know, you have these students and graduates who potentially their first job or their first internship has all they’ve known as virtual. Whereas for 15 or 20 years, I’ve been writing on whiteboards my whole life and going out to lunch with people and like smiling and talking. And now I’ve been the sad one hanging out in my room by myself. Right. And now people have that opposite opposite experience.

So yeah, I mean, I think it’s a huge I think it’s a huge benefit to bring that energy back just generally for roles that it makes sense and for organizations that it makes sense to have those physical or hybrid hybrid approaches. But absolutely, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s mind blowing to think about it. I mean, in the same way that when you’re, you know, you’re graduating from university, your first job, if it’s in the pandemic is as you’ve never met your colleagues before, right. So there’s certainly a lot of change, and certainly a lot of benefits that can come.

You mentioned sort of the new hire, onboarding or orientation, so much connectivity can come and just realizing that we’re all humans can come from these these shared experiences, you know, and I think that’s, that’s one of the great positives of at least spending some time back together even if the work remains virtual or full time in your role or at your company, some level of a summit some level of an in person, lunch or happy hour, a team meeting or an onboarding, to kind of remind ourselves of the humanity of of our colleagues is is a pretty good golfing I think

Andrea Herron 10:00
I agree. And we are social creatures. And some of us need more of it than others. But no matter how much you need, it’s all going to be a little awkward at first. And I think we need to just be open about that. Because some people are on your team you’ve worked with for a year and a half or whatever. At this point, you’ve never seen them in person. That happened to me recently, I got a group together for the first time in over two years. And it was incredible, just to even be in the same room and brainstorm.

So I know we’re getting off topic a little bit, so I’ll bring his back. But, you know, when we’re starting to think about either having an internship program, or improving one, maybe we already have an in got sidetracked over the last couple of years. Do you have any kind of foundational tips that would help people be more successful?

Yair Riemer 10:50
Yeah, I mean, I think the the foundational tip from an HR leaders perspective is really make it functional and use your managers really make it functional and use your departments don’t create one for the sake of creating one and having you know, that that’d be a pipeline of talent that’s generic, really see, is there a specific project? Is there a specific group, because I think that will make it much more fulfilling for your employees that are there full time. So really bring Reno bring that in from a two way street perspective, um, rather than just having one for the sake of creating one to kind of nurture, nurture future talent. So you know, really be be be directional about that and put those put some of those frameworks in place, utilizing your teammates, who might be experts in a certain marketing function, or sales function, or manufacturing, whatever it might be, and have them sort of build it up, I think they’ll feel just as excited about about the fulfillment on their side as the intern will, because they are part of the people who put it together.

Andrea Herron 11:47
Yeah, that’s a great tip. And it also makes me think, if there’s someone that may want to stretch opportunity into a supervisory role, or you’re considering moving into that type of position, maybe supervising an intern, or playing a stronger role in that experience, could be a great stretch opportunity for someone on your team.

Yair Riemer 12:05
I love it. And it’s exactly it’s it’s reminded me of a story of exactly something that I did with one of my first ever hires, she was and is still a dear friend of mine, amazing marketer. And that was your first managerial role, right? So we said, Cynthia, you’re doing amazing here, you’re running our marketing automation, or email marketing, content marketing, you should be a leader and build up, build up our internship program and hire, and recruit and manage and have weekly one on ones. And it’s sort of early in her career, it was it was managing six 810 12 people over the summer, you know, after only being out of school for university for two or three years herself. So they went back to their universities or colleges at the end of the summer. But that was an unbelievable stretch assignment. So I never even thought about it at the time. But it’s super, really, really, really great. potential benefit. Absolutely.

Andrea Herron 12:55
Right. There’s a tip for you all out there. All right. So I guess shifting a little bit into your current venture that I know does a lot of things. But one of the larger focus is career coaching. And you know, that is such an area that I think is beyond what even HR professionals who may coordinate those groups even understand what really happens aside for maybe a resume review, which there is certainly value in but kind of what are some of the main goals or drivers for people opting into career coaching?

Yair Riemer 13:29
I think people you mentioned it earlier, some people need more communities, some people need more social interaction as social creatures than others. I think the main benefit that’s realized and what people sort of maybe instinctively realize is, they’re yearning for career pathways. They’re yearning for interaction, professional development, even just to be offered something from your company, even if what that offering is, ends up being great or only good or even below average, even the potential that an organization is giving me something to better my career to get some courage and some confidence is almost like a basic need that’s being fulfilled, like I’m being heard that I can move to the next to the next step.

The way I think about career coaching sometimes is I’m a huge analogy, person is sort of the way I think about being supported by others in our life outside of work. So we have doctors, we have personal trainers, we want to get in shape. We have financial advisors, you spoke earlier about taking a math class and doing your taxes. We have accountants, right? Instructors, therapists, and it’s pretty crazy, because the one thing that we’re doing for 40 or 50 hours a week, we don’t have one of these built in support systems there and that’s our career. And that’s our jobs, right. So I think when that light bulb goes off for someone where they can have someone who’s there walking through step a step b Step C How do I get from row a row B? How do I speak more confidently and communicate more confident with my team? How do I learn to internalize feedback better grow or lead leadership coaching and training is a pretty big part of what we do. So I think those are the big benefits, which is there’s someone in your corner, that’s neutral, that’s not judgmental, you can talk to your friends, your family member, your spouse, even your boss and mentor. But this is a neutral person that has this pattern recognition where they’ve done this with hundreds of 1000s of people. And they can sort of provide you with non biased sort of a framework to better yourself in the role. So once people have that first coaching session, that take that first assessment, they realize, wow, I can, I can be curious and come out of some self awareness. That sounds

Andrea Herron 15:47
like something really, most people could benefit from just having anyone to talk about those things, which is pretty rare unless you seek it out, or you have a professional network. And there are good groups out there. But I mean, that really is a service that I think is more broad and deep than most of us kind of realize. I think

Yair Riemer 16:09
that’s right. And I think, unfortunately, historically, most organizations have only provided career coaching to high performers, or executives or leadership training or on retreat, it’s been expensive. And, or to unfortunately, for low performers to turn it around, it’s a management issue, you’re not doing well, you’re not a great manager, whatever that means, however, we’ve been able to quantify that.

But the really amazing thing and the power of technology is that we can democratize that, right? That’s what we’re trying to do it into, we’re trying to say you can be an entry level, first year accountant, HR generalist recruiter, or you can be CHRO, a VP of HR director of HR, wherever you are in your role, or in your career, excuse me, you can benefit from these conversations, which have typically only been reserved for more more senior or managerial roles and organizations. So we’re trying to expand it, we’re trying to organizations believe that they should provide it to everyone, it will take time.

But I think with the importance of sort of the whole human and especially coming out of a pandemic, and the need for people to feel comfortable, have a support system have that self awareness, I think that we’re just going to see more and more companies have this as a must have instead of as a nice to have benefit.

Andrea Herron 17:23
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, as I think the the war for talent, the market is hot, you know, there, there are benefits and perks that are going to set different companies apart. And so this could be, you know, an interesting thing to consider when you’re looking at your, your budget and what you’re offering and who you’re offering it to, you know, to your point, if you only have so many dollars in Yeah, you probably want to target your high potentials or your succession plan. But if you know, if we’re able to make it more accessible, or just spend our money differently, that could really be a value add to the individual, more than probably a lot of other benefits that are offered.

Yair Riemer 18:03
totally right. And I think the cost of replacing someone who left not for salary, but for a career pathway, or lack of training or lack of professional development, it will pay off significantly if you provide them that career pathway and training and professional development. So yeah, I think it’s, it’s something that I’m really happy to see more and more each leader HR leaders prioritize and something that especially as people are working from home for the first time in the last two years, than they ever have before. How do they manage their communication? How do they manage their productivity, their stress, and I think there’s so many topics now, that that people need help with. And if an organization says we hear you, we’re providing these, your loyalty back to that organization will increase?

Andrea Herron 18:46
Yeah, so we had a previous guests who discussed the benefit for companies with employees, who helped them build, promote or understand a strong personal brand that also kind of overlapped with your professional brand. And there was some concern around is there a perceived conflict there? Am I just going to promote this person so that, you know, out in the world so they can leave and get a better job? So have you seen anything like that as you build people skills and confidence that they are on a one way ticket out? Or the opposite? Where it becomes more valuable to the business and they feel it maybe a greater sense of loyalty?

Yair Riemer 19:24
Yeah, I mean, I think if you’re on the way out, you’re on the way you’re on the way out, right? I think I think an organization has to put in a great team, you know, great challenges, great professional career pathways. So building someone’s courage, confidence, job skills, communication skills, self awareness, I think that only leads to further retention and growth, because then they can see a career pathway and a career track and they’ve they’ve been they’ve been trained. They’re so on the personal brand side. I mean, you know, I think I think it’s really interesting. I think it’s really cool when companies help individuals sort of build up build up their personal brands because it shows that If your brand is has humans behind it, instead of just a corporate corporate logo, and if you trust your team and your people, people from a recruitment perspective will realize, Wow, there are people here and so actually will attract more people there. I actually think career coaching works in a similar way, which is if people see other people in their organization, getting professional development, talking about the training they’re receiving, that’s going to help both internally and externally, people realizing this organization cares about my future. So there’s going to be the rare situation where someone gained something here and moves on. But overwhelmingly, the majority will, will have a mutual benefit to the company.

Andrea Herron 20:37
Yeah. And to your point, if someone really wants to make a personal decision for change, they’re going to do that either way. But there’s not, that doesn’t take away from the value and in the benefit of all the things that we do to keep our employees satisfied. I’m, I’m curious, then on a similar vein, you know, what do you see the role of the human resources or people function in the protection and promotion of the employee brand? Have you seen that shift throughout your career?

Yair Riemer 21:07
Is it something I’m super passionate about, because I got my career started sort of in the marketing side, where I was a marketer and, and helping build, you know, brand brands or startups. And I view HR, actually, with an unbelievable responsibility around marketing, I view HR with an unbelievable responsibility of being the store of an employer brand. I think that, you know, HR, and I’ve been working in kind of HR tech or ad tech for for 10 or 15 years, at first was viewed much more in the box, at least the beginning of my career 1015 years ago, much more about benefits and programs and compliance.

But now, it is the most strategic role in an organization from a people perspective in terms of attracting, retention, the great resignations. So it’s been an awesome shift to watch, I think, especially with remote work. I mean, now, if you’re an HR leader, how do you manage communication, collaboration and culture remotely, you’re one of the most important people in the whole company, right? The CEOs have figured out that HR leaders out to figure that out. So um, so and you see more chief people, officers and CHR OHS now in the boardroom, on board seats, becoming CEOs. So massive, massive shift, I think, for me in the last 1015 years, working with HR leaders seeing their importance within the organization, rightly so sort of develop and increase. But yeah, you are the we are the first line of defense, HR is the first line of defense for anyone coming in, or leaving the organization. So that is a pretty amazing responsibility. And we shouldn’t take it lightly. And so we need to, we need to do everything we possibly can to showcase our company, in that in that best way.

Andrea Herron 22:45
Yeah, I, I agree, there has been just a monumental shift in the importance of HR. from a leadership perspective, I think it’s always been important. But you know, for better or worse, we are all now subject to the whims of social media post, you know, Glassdoor reviews, or whatever reviewing tool. And so how we treat people in the interview process all the way through the employee lifecycle to offboarding. And how that is handled matters. Now more than ever, I mean, people are so used to reading reviews before they go to a restaurant before they book a hotel. I mean, before we do anything, we’re, we’re crowdsourcing, what we can expect our experience to be. And so that’s another area that I think will be interesting to see how it evolves and how we get more strategic and market, you know, around that brand for the whole lifecycle, not just while someone’s on the payroll.

Yair Riemer 23:39
Yeah, I think so. Here’s what you hit on hit on the head, Andrew, I think which is really cool. 10 years ago, let’s just say roughly 10 years ago, 2010 2012. I think if you searched on LinkedIn and you typed in employer brand manager, that job or that role or that title, you wouldn’t find anyone. Two years ago, two, three years ago, let’s just call it 2019 2020, you’d probably find about 2000 results, because I’ve tracked this over the last 10 years. And now if you search for employer brand manager, role job, number of people on LinkedIn open positions 8000 employer brand managers out there on LinkedIn. Okay, in terms of results. So HR is marketing, HR is reputation HR is that that Yelp review, you’re not going to take your your car to the mechanic with a one or two star Yelp review, you’re going to take it to the four or five star Yelp review. And you’re not going to try to work at the company with a one or two star Glassdoor review, right. Or comparatively, right. And so So I think it’s a really it’s a really cool maturation, but it’s also one where, okay, we are being measured by these KPIs. There are these review sites there are things that are intangibles like referrals and word of mouth, but then there are things that are public for everyone to see, like glass door so so we better get it right. We better get it right. We better have our onboarding processes, right. We better Have our employee engagement and and career development proceeds. Right? And we better treat people right on the way out. Right, provide them outplacement, or severance or, or some help if we have to let them go. So I think, yeah, it’s sort of the golden age of influence of HR. In my mind. I’m here for it. Yeah, exactly. You’re leading you’re listening to,

Andrea Herron 25:24
we are trying to be the change we want to see. And one thread that kind of feels like it was running through this conversation, and many others really, is flexibility and being authentic and genuine. And just being a person. Like, we have to let people be people and it just keeps coming up. Because the world shifted, everything is different. But what’s not different is that we’re also just people doing the best we can.

Yair Riemer 25:53
Right? That’s exactly right. And I think, you know, one of the things that we’ve tried to do in the last year to add into, we’ve put all of our career coaches through a certification or training program on coaching during the pandemic in stressful situations, because what we saw was, people have changed in the last year or two, and they’re more anxious, and are more stressed. And we’ve seen that in the HR market as leaders with the explosion of telehealth and mental health, which is amazing, and kind of removing the stigma and creating technology and programming around that. But um, so we sort of approach career coaching, from a kind of a whole human perspective where we say, Listen, you know, we’re more than just our career wellness, we’re social, physical, you know, mental wellbeing, stress change management. So it’s Yeah, I think it’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s a really important reminder, for HR, especially in a fast paced environment and environment, to make sure that we keep that those core principles for all of our employees, especially if we’re not touching and seeing and being able to be with them every day around the cubicle, like we were, how do we how do we manufacture those moments? How do we create those check ins? Over zoom? Or over a call? Right? So I think that’s, that’s going to be one of the the biggest challenges in the coming years for companies.

Andrea Herron 27:07
Absolutely. And we’re all going to figure it out together this week. And speaking of people, your person, and at the end of all of my episodes, I like to ask a very humanizing question of my guests, which is to tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know, you have anything good for us to share?

Yair Riemer 27:31
I think most people wouldn’t know that I switched schools in first, second, third, fifth, and sixth grade, across two different countries, three different states. And so there were certainly some downsides to the experience. But I think for me, when I look back on it, you know, 30, plus years later, 30 to 35 years later, I think it helped me relate to people and understand different cultures and try to be as self aware as I can, because I make a lot of mistakes. And I try to learn from them. And so I think, meeting different people and having to put yourself out there more and having to communicate is was probably a long term benefit of so many, so many switches, but that’s something that probably many people don’t know, why would that didn’t stay in one place the whole time that they probably don’t don’t even remember me anymore, right? Because I’ve moved, moved around so much, but I’d say that’s probably one that very few of my colleagues or, or even some of my, my friends sort of from adulthood, wouldn’t you wouldn’t know about my childhood.

Andrea Herron 28:40
That’s a lot of moving and a lot of making of new friends. And you know, Little did you know, it was probably preparing you for your career and how to help other people do transition and you know, find their way when they’re uncertain. So, funny how that works out.

Yair Riemer 28:55
Yeah, the buddy system is real. the buddy system helps if you’re, if you’re a parent, or if you’re a child, and you went through to a new school or a new place, HR, onboarding, your first day, having a plan schedule, you know, that’s, that really is helpful. And so, so it’s, it helps when you’re joining a new company, and it helps when you’re joining a new, a new school or making a move, move as a kid, it’s having a support system. Yeah, I

Andrea Herron 29:19
feel like we always remember the people we onboard with, I still remember the people I went through my first day orientation with and there’s some special kind of bond in that in that new buddy. So that’s another great tip. All right. Well, thank you again, so much for joining us here on the HR scoop. It was a pleasure to talk to you. I think our listeners got many, many takeaways, and it was really great. So thank you for coming.

Yair Riemer 29:43
Thanks for having me, Andrea. Appreciate it.

Andrea Herron 29:47
Thank you for listening to the HR scoop podcast. Please take a moment to rate and subscribe on Spotify, Apple, Google, or directly at WebMD health services.com/podcast

The HR Scoop

Humanizing Well-Being, Part #2

Season 2
July 22, 2021
The HR Scoop

Humanizing Well-Being, Part 1

Season 2
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