An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage”, said one of the most revered CEOs of his generation, Jack Welch- former CEO of GE. Getting selected as a summer HRLP intern at one of the world’s most celebrated companies, GE, was an opportunity of a lifetime for me. It was my chance to bring these coveted words of Jack Welch into life. Hence, I eagerly waited for April 9th with umpteen enthusiasm and energy to embark on my internship journey.
I remember the day when I got my project charter a week earlier. That day was spent amidst the whirlwind of fragmented information gathered from connecting to college seniors, alumni and professors. However, right at the outstart my mentor and buddy mentor made me feel at ease on the first day by acquainting me with different departments or product lines of GE Healthcare. My summer project was on re-engineering the Sales Incentive Plans for front-line sales employees and sales managers. Since then I went on to handle various responsibilities such as redefining sales incentive parameters, building dashboards, benchmarking and improving communication channels for employees. The major learning from the project was how HR intervention, in terms of SIPs, align with the organisational goals of that FY and can help achieve these goals.
GE sets the bar extremely high for its intern right from Day 1. Without any handholding, I took the complete ownership of the project. I interacted with Strategic advisors to the CEO of GE Healthcare and Regional Heads of Sales division to comprehended the business and sales cycle of various GE Healthcare products. In this process, I constantly lived the GE values: speaking with candor, taking accountability and building collaboration. Another valuable lesson that GE taught me was the importance of crisp communication with top-level management. As the top-level managers have packed calendars, I learnt the art of focussed communication and asking the right questions to the right people.
Being an intern, of course, I was fresh into the system. However, whenever faced with setbacks, I kept pushing myself more. As my project involved intense data collection and analysis, I made it a point to keep asking questions and never take no as an answer from any stakeholder. With all the required data at my disposition and immense help from all the departments, I began the analysis of data collected to make my final recommendations on the sales incentive plan for the next FY. In this process, I learnt how to carry out stakeholder management and maintain everyone’s expectations in the organisation.
Taking constructive criticism positively during weekly meetings with my mentor was one of the highlights of my internship. Working and improving on his feedback translated into a successful final review presentation and I was offered a PPO in September this year. The phenomenal change that GE brought to my work style and thought the process was the biggest reward of my internship journey.