During my search for a Human Resources co-op placement, I thought I might wind up in an office building in downtown Vancouver sitting at a grey cubical. Instead, I ended up with my own office in a retirement community in Surrey. Now a retirement community may not sound like an exciting place to work, but Elim Village proved itself to be so much more than that.
My first co-op as a Human Resources Assistant at Elim Village was a great learning experience. It was my first real business experience, so I was exposed to a ton of new things. I learned how to do a complete onboarding process including phone-screening, interviews, obtaining references, employee set-up, and criminal record checks. There were also a few committees I got to join: The Occupational Health and Safety Committee (OH&S) and the Social Committee. My duties in the OH&S committee include taking meeting minutes, completing building inspections, and planning and implementing the staff-wellness plan.
Overall my summer last year was very fun and I got to meet new people and try new things. I really felt like I was becoming a part of the team and contributing to the success of Elim. But luckily for me, my experience at Elim didn’t end there!
Going for Seconds
I was fortunate to be asked by my supervisor to stay at Elim Village part-time during the school year. This allowed me to stay in touch with my co-workers as well as take on new tasks. The most challenging task that I was given while working was to facilitate the hiring of two co-op students for Summer 2017. I had to create job descriptions, contact different co-op programs throughout B.C., read through resumes, complete phone interviews, set-up in person interview, and contact the students we hired to get them ready to work at Elim. In the end, we successfully filled the positions and I learned how to better approach time-sensitive work such as searching for co-op students.
After the school year I continued with Elim Village by completing my second co-op term there. My second co-op term was a completely different experience compared to my first. Although a lot of responsibilities remained the same as the previous year, this time I felt very different. I had much more self-confidence, and I also had steadier relationships with my co-workers. I was actually able to self-initiate some projects that would help the HR department and the organization run smoothly. One of these projects was creating a performance review tracker which made it much simpler to keep track of who out of our 300-member staff was due for a performance review.
Another project that I am currently working on and am very excited to roll out in the fall is a mental health initiative for staff. Our main goal is to provide employees with the resources they need to feel supported at work, and overall improve their work part of life. Mental health is something that I am passionate about, so I am eager to see it being discussed and worked on in the workplace.
Overall my two co-op terms at Elim Village have been great. They allowed a deeper insight into the organization that I wouldn’t have achieved had I only stayed for a single term. The staff are passionate about the organization and the values that it carries. I believe that I am very lucky to be a part of something that I can be proud of.
Beyond the Blog
To learn about opportunities like Kaylie's visit the Beedie Business Co-op homepage.