Including Summer Interns in Your People Strategy

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Summer Intern 2013

This entry is part of our Summer Intern series at Concur. Our Summer Interns are more than just interns; they are part of our Concur family. So, here are a few of their stories about what they learned while working here at Concur.

Summer has finally hit its stride, which means plenty of sun, fun and vacation time.

But for many of us, summer also means it’s time for internships!

Currently, I’m a student at San Francisco State University, and this summer I’m working as a marketing intern at Concur. Back in 2009, when I was in my early 30s, I decided to change my career path, so I went back to school.  It was a challenge being back in school, but I jumped right in and approached school like it was my job. As my studies progressed, I started making connections between academic principles and my career experiences. I knew that I had made the right decision to go back to school when I began to retroactively apply my new knowledge to past situations.

So this summer, I began looking for an internship program that would allow me to use my newly gained knowledge in fresh real-world situations.  A program that would not only help me figure out exactly where to take my career, but would inspire my passion for the role of “people strategy” in business.

Lo and behold, I found Concur’s internship program, which offers students the opportunity to learn about the company and contribute directly to its success. We work together in our different roles and responsibilities to help Concur grow, and this doesn’t include things like getting coffee for our bosses. In fact, it’s sometimes the other way around. On my first day, my manager offered to grab coffee for me while I was in an introductory online meeting. That simple act of kindness speaks volumes about the culture here at Concur.

In my favorite marketing class last semester, I learned that employees are one of the most vital components of a company’s marketing strategy. Adam Kleinberg, CEO of Traction, stopped by my class to talk about “people strategy”.  Something he said really resonated with me at the time, so much so that I even wrote a blog post about it. Kleinberg said, “If you want to be a great customer experience company, you have to be a great employee experience company.”

The type of people a company hires should be determined by the company’s culture and values. If you take a look at your company, you’ll likely see that your employees embody your values while doing the work of producing, promoting and delivering your product or service – they are the ones who bring your brand to life and create the experience for your customers. If you work hard to design a great experience for your employees, they will work hard to surprise and delight your customers.

I’m seeing that model in action here at Concur. This company truly values all of their employees – and not just its own, but also yours. That’s why Concur is in the business of creating business management solutions that are easy to use and save time and money for everyone at your company.

Here in Concur’s San Francisco office, I can tell that people feel taken care of, and the team spirit pervades daily work life, even though we are all quite busy. The company values our time, innovative thinking, integrity and the drive to succeed. Meetings start on time, participation is encouraged and managers clearly devote extra effort in asking their direct reports what they need to do their jobs better. I feel this even as an intern. And that’s the thing – we’re not “just” interns here at Concur. We’re truly part of the team.

This respectful and open culture clearly trickles down from the top of the organizational chart. Members of the executive team including co-founders Steve and Raj Singh have been fully engaged with us since day one. They have participated in presentations with us and have shown themselves to be open to getting to know us one-on-one. Raj even said in one of our meetings, “Today’s intern is tomorrow’s CEO.” Not every intern is going to be a CEO, but if they’re taking the initiative to seek out a position in the industry, it’s highly likely they will become a future decision maker. Giving interns a great experience is a wise investment that will provide returns far beyond the program.

Last semester, when Adam Kleinberg spoke to my class about people strategy, I remember thinking, “Wow, I can’t wait to be a part of a company that really gets this.” Little did I know that it would happen so soon at Concur.

Now – back to my project of making sure prospects and clients have as great an experience with Concur as I am having! But before that, I’d like to hear about you! What roles do summer interns play in your people strategy?

 

About the Author: A Virginia native, Dwayne Alicie has lived in San Francisco for the past ten years and enjoys making the most of living in this most beautiful of American cities. He has worked in financial information publishing and non-profit fundraising, but his love affair with marketing and communications began early in his life. He recently went back to school to top off his undergraduate education with a degree in marketing. When he’s not thinking about customer experience and communications strategies, he enjoys 90s house music and traversing hills on his bike. Find him on Twitter: @dalicie

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