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Intern Focus Group Report


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Intern foucs group results prepared for Post Consumer Brands. ,

Published in: Recruiting & HR
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Intern Focus Group Report

  1. 1. Intern Focus Group Report June 28-June 29, 2017 Corporate Communications
  2. 2. Post Consumer Brands – Intern Focus Group, June 28-29, 2017 2 Logistics Wednesday, June 28, 2017 from 3:30pm-4:00pm  Eight interns representing Lakeville, MN; Northfield, MN; and Bentonville, AK  Room LKVL W274  Voice recorded Thursday, June 29, 2017 from 1:00pm-1:30pm  Eleven interns representing Lakeville, MN; Battle Creek, MI; Asheboro, NC; and Tremonton, UT  Room LKVL W275  Voice recorded Main themes  More information and direction was desired regarding orientation and logistics, especially housing.  Most interns agreed that there is less structure and more independence than past internships and this was viewed as a positive.  Everyone has had an extremely positive experience from the interview process to the actual internship and the culture was positively reference many times. Q1: What is going well with the PCB internship program or what needs improvement? Think about HR and your manager separately. There was an understanding of the manager’s role in providing a lot of the logistical information such as dress code and standards and that it varies greatly depending on the department. However, there was still a desire for more information from HR. This conversation tended to skew more negatively. Manager Quotes:  My manager making sure I always had stuff to do was a big positive.  My manager has been crazy busy.  Trying to set up a time to get clarification on projects can be very difficult.  We don't do weekly one on ones.  I see my manager three times a week.  Managers were good with the logistics of it.  Maybe having every manager put an org chart in your packet when you start.  My manager has kind of just been sending me that information as I go through my projects so it's not like – ‘here's all the information’. It's nice to have that instead of just everything. It's a balance.
  3. 3. Post Consumer Brands – Intern Focus Group, June 28-29, 2017 3 HR Quotes:  In the beginning we weren’t given some of the day-to-day information.  HR was not particularly clear on logistical things.  Would have liked some product information, where we sell to.  The IT access that I've had has been a huge pain.  I could have had more information beforehand.  We didn't get a map of the building or anything like that. I have all these meetings and I don't even know where they are.  In that packet they handed out I feel like there could have been more useful stuff in there.  For me another challenging thing is knowing who in my department is in charge of what. Q2: Amount of information? Was there anything you didn’t receive that might be helpful? Anything you did receive that was not helpful? Answers were similar to Q1. Interns would have appreciated more logistical information from HR, but understand that it varies across departments. One suggestion included standardizing what managers should do with their interns so there is a more collective experience for everyone. Almost everyone in both groups agreed a plant tour would be beneficial. Issues with IT and program training were brought up more than once. Quotes:  I would have liked was a general overview of clock Trak.  I didn’t really get that much of a tour.  I didn’t know where the bathroom was, I didn’t know where to put my lunch, little things like that.  Maybe a little bit of an in-depth look at the different departments and what they do.  I also felt that some of the main things like dress code and hours were not talked about as much as they should have been.  I feel like the CBT's could have been distributed over a longer period of time.  I wanted to reference the information [CBT’s] but once I took the quiz it was closed.  A tour of the plant for us working at corporate.  An internship should be getting as much experience as you can in a short amount of time. 0 5 10 Training Logistics Tours More emphasis desired (n=14) More emphasis desired
  4. 4. Post Consumer Brands – Intern Focus Group, June 28-29, 2017 4  Something I wish I had earlier was access to JDE.  I wasn't able to get access to JDE until my fourth week here.  About two weeks in when I started to figure it out for myself my supervisor gave me the training manual. Just having that stuff available right away would have been nice to reference as I was learning. Even just having something to reference would be beneficial. Q3. How did your expectations from the interview process align with the actual experience? Overall, interns had positive experiences during the interview process. Experiences varied greatly between interns, as expected. Those who learned about their projects beforehand appreciated that and those who did not would have appreciated knowing more before the start date. Interns also appreciated the quick contact, but found it to be minimal. A recurring positive theme was contact with managers or supervisors during the interview process. Quotes:  When I went to the plant in Northfield they were asking questions about engineering things which was really helpful for me. It made me know that they care about what my degree is, they care about what skills I’m bringing into the plant and they were able to place me into a spot that I fit really well.  I felt really prepared from the interview process.  They got back to me really fast, which I really appreciated.  Super nice that the man that was talking to me is going to be my manager.  When I interviewed with my manager what I really liked was it was more of a conversation.  Because it was a little more laid back interview it showed that culture that everyone here works really hard but they also like to have fun with what they do. I really liked that especially when I was deciding what offer to accept.  Melanie also had me decide within 2-3 days and that was good.  This internship has been more than I expected during the interview process.  The key thing more me in interviews is that I got to meet with managers in my department so I knew who I was going to be working with, I got to listen to them talk about the business and what they like about their job, it sold me pretty instantly.  Getting that personal connection with someone in the interview that you will be working with is awesome.  Knowing the project during the interview process would have helped make the decision process easier.  It was cool to know what I'd be working on.  It was really neat to know what the project was before I was even hired.  Talking to my manager during the interview was a big deciding factor.
  5. 5. Post Consumer Brands – Intern Focus Group, June 28-29, 2017 5 Q4: How are you settling in outside of your internship work day? Is there more PCB could do to support the rest of your internship experience outside of work? More interns than not would have preferred more guidance with finding housing. It was suggested to connect interns based on more specific locations. They were satisfied with the amount of intern events. Quotes:  Pretty much everything outside of the office I’ve done on my own.  I talked to my manager beforehand and ask for suggestions but for the most part I figured things out on my own.  I’d almost rather do it on my own than have someone guide me through things like that.  The intern events they have already have were good and helped me become more familiar with the other interns and managers.  I hate spending three months looking for a place to live, I don’t really feel like I have time for that.  I struggled finding a place to live.  When I asked for a list of places people have lived in the past they wouldn’t give me one.  It [housing] was kind of overwhelming especially with graduation.  I underestimated the hour long commute from Minneapolis to Northfield.  They should have seen that I’m living in Northfield and put me in contact with the Northfield people.  When they sent out the list of people they only said if people were local or not local to Minnesota. Minnesota is a really big place so that wasn’t very helpful.  I emailed some people and got zero responses and then I emailed again and got zero responses again.  A little bit more direction would have been helpful.  I think the fact that they paid for housing was awesome, that was really unexpected.  A list saying where we are all living over the summer would have been cool, we kind of just figured that out slowly over the first couple weeks.  It would be cool for people who aren't local here to have a list of cool things to do in the Cities.  Not much to do in Battle Creek. Assistance with housing (n=9) More guidance Less guidance
  6. 6. Post Consumer Brands – Intern Focus Group, June 28-29, 2017 6 Q5: When you get back to campus, what would you tell your friends about your internship experience? Would you recommend or refer others to apply and if so, what would you say? Interns have had an overwhelmingly positive experience. The majority agreed that the flexibility and less direction is a positive but a few desired more direction. Many interns at PCB feel that they are making an actual impact with their projects. Most participants also agreed that the people are approachable and kind. The culture was positively reference many times. Quotes:  You get a lot of free cereal.  I make improvements almost instantly which is super great.  They want to see you succeed.  Everyone at Campbell Mill wants to do everything they can to help us out.  The engineers are super supportive.  If you’re looking for a good learning experience where you’re not going to be too overwhelmed and you’re just going to enjoy your time and take some good lessons out of it then you’re really going to enjoy this.  They’re super flexible and super friendly and very open to any ideas you have.  They’ll let you be a part of any project you want so it’s really up to you what you make of it.  This culture and this atmosphere is really supportive and really helpful in a lot of ways so I definitely recommend it for that reason.  I don’t have day-to-day responsibilities or project.  The team just wants me to dabble in everything and learn how everything works.  I kind of wish it almost had a little more direction and day to day, but everyone in this office is some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  I feel like I’m doing real work.  My projects are making a real impact and there have been some instances where I knew more about my project than my manager did and that’s a really cool feeling.  You aren’t just shadowing someone of doing a project that’s already been worked on. It’s your own and you really get to play a part in it. It makes you take pride in your work when you know that what you’re doing is making a difference.  I wouldn't recommend people for full time jobs because I want that full time job, but for internships yes.  It's a lot less structured than then other experiences I've had.  It's a great place to come in with almost nothing and grow from there and figure out what you like and what you don't like.  The culture is a huge piece of what makes this such a great place to work.  Here it seems that the competitive energy is focused outward, the win together kind of thing you can see it.  Not competing against each other, you're working together to compete against everyone else.  Everyone wants to help you no matter what it is.  Even if you don't like your specific role you can still find something else you might like to do.  I have yet to meet anybody who is standoffish or grouchy.  The culture here really is special.  They put a lot of trust into the interns. I'm not doing busy work, I'm doing actual stuff.
  7. 7. Post Consumer Brands – Intern Focus Group, June 28-29, 2017 7 Suggestions based on focus group responses:  Standardized check-list for managers to provide less varied experiences for intern and to ensure basic information is shared (department dress code, hours, organizational chart, etc.) and tasks are completed (IT access, training)  More focus on cross-functional learning and broad company operations and overview (information about products, plant tour for corporate and sales, corporate tour for plant interns)  Establish department key contact individuals for interns  More housing guidance  Add facility maps, organizational charts and information about the local area to the first-day packets  Continue fostering the successful company culture and intern projects Conclusion and limitations: Post Consumer Brands interns report that they are extremely satisfied with the internship program. One month into the program, interns feel they are making an impact on the company and are excited to recommend this internship program. Interns found some confusion during the first week, with the most common problems being not having access to IT or programs and not having some logistical information. Overall, with limited resources, there may be small changes PCB can make to the internship program. Limitations include a participant sample from only one intern class, convenience sampling, group setting and a limited timeframe. Future studies might include a survey to compare to focus group data.