First impressions – how did your first few days go?
I had an incredible start at the office. I am working close to the HR Coordinator and the Vice President of Human Resources at Saint Laurent Paris. These are the only ones working within the HR field at the office, so it is not that big as I expected it to be. It is a very big organization, including the other companies with the same owner, it’s a very big company. Besides Saint Laurent there also Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Puma, Tretorn, Bottega Veneta, Stella McCartney and others, they are all in the Kering Group. The office is located right on the 6th floor above the Store on Fifth Avenue, so it’s really “close to the business”.
On the first day I really got thrown in to it. They showed me the showroom, I was in a conference call with a couple of other countries, they took me to an Employee Sale and I met the President of Saint Laurent America! They told me about what´s going to be my main focus project – To update and renew their entire Employee Handbook! Update the new labor laws, new policies and make it more “YSL-ish” since they made a lot of changes in the company after the last version was written.
I also went out for lunch with my supervisor and the Vice President of Human Resources, which was very nice. We talked about work but also a bit about more personal stuff. It´s feels good to learn more about them and get to know them, that makes it easier to work together as a team. I also set up a big excel file to review the participation in their Employee Survey. That´s one of my smaller project aside of the big one. Besides the participation, I do research for interesting articles and texts to post in their intranet to inspire and motivate the employees. I also screened resumes to help them with the recruitment of a new employee. So I had a busy week with a lot of different tasks, really interesting mix of projects.
My last day of this first week I was working until late, I left the office at 7.30p.m., and the last thing I did was to press the print button for the first draft of the new Handbook. That was a great feeling to give it to my supervisor. It is good to show them what I´ve actually been doing this week, and I´m really looking forward to hear their thoughts about it on Monday.
Was it a challenge to be on-time?
There´s not a challenge in being right on time. That is something really important and never an option to me.
Are you comfortable interacting with your colleagues and your supervisor?
The feeling when I´m at the office is really welcoming and warm. All of my colleagues are very helpful and nice. My supervisor introduced me to everyone at the office during the morning meeting. My supervisor is the HR Coordinator and I also work close to her boss, the Vice President of Human Resources at Saint Laurent. Both of them are very nice and helpful. They introduced me to all the people in the building and all the different functions they have in the company.
How is the work – are the tasks starting small as we discussed in the practicum?
The first thing I had on my desk was to read a lot of documents as a good start for my upcoming main project, update the Employee Handbook of Saint Laurent. I read the policies and the new handbook of Gucci, to use this one as a template for the updates. Gucci has the same owner as Saint Laurent so I read their Handbook to see which new laws and guidelines they use. Their Handbook and YSL’s Handbook are in many cases quite alike. So basically, it started quite small with a lot of reading and research. But I jumped on the projects right after that.
Are you taking good notes?
I have my portfolio on my desk and I bring it to all meetings and to every talk with my supervisor. It is good to write everything down, even small things.
Feeling comfortable asking questions?
I feel really comfortable with my supervisors and also my colleagues to ask questions. I ask them questions about my tasks to clarify that I understood everything right. I am also asking questions about more general things. For example, we were talking about the part in the Employee Handbook that’s about that a work is based on “At will”. I asked a few more questions about “At will” and the Vice President of HR told me more about it. I wrote down all the information that she gave me, and that´s really useful later on. So my notes are not only about my tasks and meetings. There is also information, heads-ups and facts in there.
What may you need to do differently to help you get the results you are hoping for?
What I may need to do during my project with the Handbook is to have short meetings with my supervisor to make sure I´m on the right track. We had a small meeting like this before I started working on my first draft. But since they have a lot to do and especially the Vice President have a lot of meetings, it can be hard to have up-to-date meetings that often. It is important then to write down all my questions and thoughts to remember those until next meeting. I will keep taking a lot of notes, because that’s a very easy thing to do and it makes you feel more comfortable and you´re not taking the risk of forgetting important details.
What is one new strategy you may adopt for next week? (Catch an earlier train? Make a to-do list?)
There isn’t anything really special that I want to change right now. But I´m sure that there´s something I´ll have to improve or change during this week also. I am looking forward to keep on working with the Employee Handbook and also my smaller projects beside this one.