Learn. As students, we hear this word a lot in school, but what does that really mean in the working environment? This semester, I had the privilege of doing my first co-op as a Talent and Marketing Intern at Semios, a tech company in the agricultural industry. Going into this role and company, I didn’t have any real work experience in HR, so all I was really looking for was to learn. Semios’ culture showed me their way of learning is more than that and is encompassed in their core values: taking initiative, speaking up, taking risks, and valuing team spirit. Their values of doing, learning, and growing not only helped develop my skill sets and experiences but also helped me realize how important it is to find an organization that supports and cultivates their employees’ growth and the overall work culture.
Doing means taking the initiative to try something new and being open to opportunities outside of your comfort zone. I was surprised my managers were so willing to help me learn and gave me opportunities to carry out tasks I didn’t have any experience in. I wouldn’t say I was a natural at conducting my first phone screen, but I was grateful that my manager gave me an opportunity to do it so I can learn. Doing also means speaking up and taking risks. Sharing ideas was always encouraged at Semios, which contributed to building a culture of learning from one another. This made me feel more comfortable voicing my ideas and opinions and allowed me to contribute to the team.
Learning means reflecting on the tasks you’ve done and looking for opportunities to gain experience from it. With every job-research assignment, collaboration with hiring managers, and interaction I’ve had with candidates, I learned more about the recruitment process and the importance of creating a positive experience for the candidate when they interact with the company. One of the biggest takeaways I got from my first co-op term is to not be afraid to ask questions, no matter how “dumb” they may seem. I didn’t want to seem incapable of figuring things out, but I realized it was always better to check with my managers before proceeding with something that may require more time and work to fix. They know and understand that I am there to learn, and that’s the point of being a co-op student.
Growing means “doing”– except doing better and knowing what my strengths and weaknesses are. Since I came into this role not having any HR experience, identifying areas where I could do better and grow in was a humbling experience. Through many conversations with my managers and colleagues, I found areas where I could improve on and incorporated that into my work. It was also surprised to realize that I had strengths to contribute. I feared I would not be taken seriously because I barely had any industry skills and experiences. I later discovered how I could use my strength in planning and organizing to create and implement processes that supported HR responsibilities.
In my first co-op, I learned many valuable lessons at a company that really knows how to put learning into practice and integrate it into their culture. Find an organization that really supports your learning and teaches you to be humble. Do. Learn. Grow.
Beyond the Blog
For more opportunities like Travia's, visit SFU Beedie's Co-op page!