During my bachelor’s in Global Management of Social Studies at Tilburg University, Human Resources was what interested me the most. That’s why I’m doing my master’s in Human Resource Management at Erasmus University Rotterdam. But because HR is such a wide-ranging field and I wanted to know how HR worked in large organisations, I chose to do some work experience first.

I’m currently doing a six-month internship in the Change & IT department of Pension New Business at Nationale-Nederlanden’s Life business unit. I’m helping the management team with a T-shaped transformation. The idea is that all employees in the department should be able to work in a multidisciplinary way in the future to reduce the transfer between team members.

This kind of transformation is difficult because of the heavy workload. And now the management team is asking employees to develop their skills in a field that’s unfamiliar to them. It’s my job to talk to them about how they can develop and to identify their training requirements. I discuss my findings with the management team. Of course, it’s amazing that I get to attend management team meetings to raise the wishes of the employees. It’s a fantastic way of finding out what it’s like to work in HR.

We start every Monday with a stand-up. Our team spends 15 minutes discussing what work is ongoing, what the action items are and where we’re at. And every Thursday I have a one-to-one with my internship supervisor. Every week is different by the way. Sometimes, I do lots of interviews with employees and at other times I spend a lot of time behind my laptop processing all the data.

I wanted to do an internship at a large multinational, preferably in Rotterdam, where I live. While I was looking, I came across a vacancy at Nationale-Nederlanden. I thought: that’s me! What attracted me to the vacancy was the idea that I would be given the chance to discover all aspects of HR. I had a good feeling at the interview. I absolutely love the work here. You’re thrown in at the deep end, but at the same time, fortunately you’re really well supported by your colleagues and your internship supervisor.

I really like the business culture. It’s direct, respectful and informal. That suits me well because I’m open in my dealings with people. Here, you can have a chat with the CEO in the lift for example. Taking initiative is highly valued. To begin with my work wasn’t very clearly defined. That’s when you need to be assertive and take the initiative to get assignments.

How are projects organised? How are strategic decisions made? What does working life mean? I’m certainly learning a lot from this internship. My colleagues are really interested in my development. And if you make a mistake, it’s not a problem because you learn from it. I can highly recommend an internship at Nationale-Nederlanden.’

Sophie Heering
HR Stagiair