By Valerie Bordelon
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain
How many people can you think of live by this statement? Or even better, any companies that consistently reflect upon this passage? Maybe nobody, or one person? In your opinion, is it better to live on the side of the majority, be “normal”, follow the herd; or is it better to be a little more abstract, ambitious, and someone who consistently pushes the limits? As a student who is working towards a Triple Concentration in Business Administration, a combination that has never been tried before, alongside being one of 10 students in the history of Colorado State University’s College of Business who will achieve a Triple Concentration, can whole-heartedly say that I truly value uniqueness. Searching for companies that place importance on innovation, achieving market leader status, and live in an elevated class of their own, paved the path for my discovery of an internship opportunity at The Broadmoor Hotel.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Broadmoor Hotel,
“…it is the longest-running consecutive winner of both the AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star awards. Since first opening in 1918, The Broadmoor has offered guests a unique way to experience the beauty of the American West, and continues that tradition through [the] Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star day spa as well as [the] restaurants (including the only Five-Star, Five-Diamond restaurant in Colorado, Penrose Room), 54 holes of championship golf, six tennis courts, indoor/outdoor pools, distinctive retail shops, specialty tours, activities and programs for guests of all ages and interests.”
To have a career at such an elegant and exclusive business would be any college students’ dream. I applied, was offered, and delightfully accepted the Human Resources Summer Internship position, where I was able to work closely with the Benefits Manager, Risk Manager, Employment Office, and Training Department. The amount of knowledge I acquired over the period of 2 ½ months is outstanding, and more valuable than any previous internship I have held. The following paragraphs give a brief overview of what I learned from each department and/or professional I encountered here at The Broadmoor.
The main purpose of my summer internship was to assist the Benefits Manager, Kari. She taught me everything from learning The Broadmoor’s internal system known as Infinium/AS400, signing employees up for benefits, the new Health Care Reform laws and how they will affect The Broadmoor as an entity and their employees, to everyday tasks such as cross-checking 401K deferrals, mail merging invitations for Benefits Orientation, and giving presentations to the new orientation class every Tuesday morning. I was also granted responsibility to create new information for the Wellness Board at the beginning of each month, generate Employee PR pieces that went out every 2 weeks, and my biggest project of the summer, to re-design the Open Enrollment Presentation that will be presented in October 2013 to all employees. Kari did a wonderful job training me in Benefits Management practices and acting as my mentor.
Sandra, Risk Manager, another remarkable woman I was able to work closely with, educated me on every aspect of the job responsibilities she has as a Risk Manager. Tasks include, but are not limited to, background checks, incoming work comp claims and how she asses them, safety inspections, quarterly updates on the number of work comp claims per department, tracking trends in employee injuries, dealing with work comp lawsuits, complying with the rules and regulations of FMLA and the ADA, as well as many other duties. She also gave me irreplaceable advice about life, college, careers, and many more topics that I will utilize daily.
Working within the Human Resources office also allowed me to converse with other members of the team.Although I was unable to spend as much time working with these individuals, they were thoughtful enough to share pieces of information with me about their roles and experiences here at The Broadmoor. For example, I will never forget the conversation I had with our Director of Human Resources about her personal story and the important role that she has at The Broadmoor, or the period I was able to speak with the Assistant Director of Human Resources about her methods of dealing with employee issues.
Moving down the hallway from the main Human Resources office, is the Employment office where I spent all of my afternoons during the initial period of my internship. Here I learned about how The Broadmoor’s Employment Office operates. I learned how Recruitment Managers conduct interviews, screen applications, enter application data into Infinium, prepare folders for New Hires, and make initial interview phone calls. It was incredible to see how such a small team was able to tackle 200+ applications daily, conduct interviews, and make decisions about who to hire and who not to hire so efficiently!
Another very important aspect of a well-run Human Resources Department is the Training Department. This team of four trains every single Broadmoor employee throughout their career, organizes and executes employee recognition events, consistently educate and brainstorm new ways of training, as well as many other tasks. They are continuously under pressure to effectively train new employees, and re-train current employees, on providing exceptional Five-Star, Five-Diamond service – statuses that are not easily obtained in the hotel/hospitality industry. By shadowing a few of their team members, I learned quickly that a career in the Training Department is a huge challenge, because of the amount of employees they need to train. This team does an exceptional job and is persistently overcoming barriers.
As an added bonus to accepting the Human Resources Summer Internship position, I was able to shadow other departments, including Concierge, Front Desk, and Marketing. The dedication, responsibility and stamina that the Front Desk and Concierge employees obtain is unbelievable. They are always on their toes to ensure that the initial Broadmoor impression meets the Five-Star, Five-Diamond standard, and that the guests are happy. The Marketing Department has another crucial role in The Broadmoor’s reputation and future. After speaking with the team, I was given a glimpse into their current marketing initiatives, as well as potential global marketing campaigns. It was incredible to see all of the creative ideas, marketing research, and future plans that make up such a successful marketing campaign. “Exciting” doesn’t even begin to describe what I felt when seeing all of the future strategies The Broadmoor will roll out in the upcoming years.
As the summer came to a close, I had mixed emotions about returning to school. Although the thrill of “seeing the light at the end of the tunnel” (i.e. finally complete my degree) is wonderful, I will truly miss working for these wonderful people and being part of such a well-respected organization. I cannot thank everyone enough for providing me this opportunity, being so kind, and making the summer of 2013 incredible.
Thank you, Valerie for all of your help this summer!