3 key takeaways from this blog:
- You will get the picture that internship doesn’t have to mean to enroll one student to one specific position, but creating a company’s storyline that includes several departments to walk them through
- You will re-think the dynamics of internship programs for undergraduates
- You will get inspired about how to blend your company’s values and internship branding
It may seem that younger generations have easier entry into careers and first internships or jobs. Firstly, we now have young professionals who are true digital natives, and if we were to sum up their general characteristics, we could say that they are connected, confident, progressive, open to change, and proactively looking for meaningful opportunities. Diversity is their norm, and they embrace multiple modes of self-expression.
On the other hand, companies are very much shaping their employer brand strategy to attract new generations, and this speeds up exactly what we stated in the first sentence. This generational shift is transforming the business landscape and HR professionals are rethinking their companies’ value propositions.
But, do all students really know what they want out of their career when they graduate? Some research shows that there is still a need for high-quality information about different professional paths and one of the solutions to this is to organize direct contact of inexperienced students with senior professionals who went down the path of: searching, exploring and understanding what you want to do.
This was the beginning of a story where we were in front of talent acquisition challenges, to meet students who are at the core of our strategic workforce planning. Not only we needed to think of a mechanism to approach younger engineering generations, but in parallel, we had a task to explain the growing change in the telecom ecosystem (telecom operators spin off much of their infrastructure, the industry is changing fundamentally), and appearance of the so-called netcos, towercos or infracos, which is us – CETIN Serbia.
Our goal was to refresh our employer brand communication, spotlight meaningful work in our company, and finally, enrich our talent pool of future candidates.
Following global industry trends, for the first time in Serbia, CETIN was established in July 2020, and a completely new employer brand appeared on the telecommunication market. On the other hand, the same group of talented, highly skilled, and motivated employees who used to work together for years, were brought together in CETIN and were committed to providing world-class telecommunications infrastructure services.
More than 100 employees across our teams graduated from Electrical School of Engineering and another 100 from different technical faculties, and we knew that tons of knowledge and pioneering ventures were at their fingertips.
Also, the average time that they spend in teams together is 12+ years, therefore they have been able to recognize areas of personal development and give advice for good teamwork. These numbers assured us that our attractiveness lies in our expertise, experience, stability, and significant scope for growth in our market.
The narrative about our values: Technology as the backbone of our existence, and our talent brand narrative: People, emphasizing pride of our employees as our main resource, respect, and teamwork, were a steady step towards creating a short tailor-made internship program, as the first touchpoint between undergraduates, and their first internship or job. Our no-goes were to give students be-busy intern work and to box them in the career vision we think is good for them: we actually wanted to inspire them to think of a variety of options.
The program’s name and motto were based on the intersection of the two words: pioneer and knowledge. CETIN, being a leading European integrated telecom infrastructure company and pioneer in implementing innovative operating models, delivered the program’s name – CETIN Pioneers. Further, the fact that our employees deliver the program’s content determined the program’s motto: Knowledge is power, but far more powerful when shared.
How did we do it?
We created a CETIN Pioneers project team and asked our colleagues: What would you tell your younger self?
Having the dedication of our Electrical School of Engineering alumni from different departments, we created a perfect puzzle of topics in a pre-defined order, and we concluded we needed a month to authentically tell our company’s and talent’s story. Didn’t want to overlook the importance of facetime, so the program was held live in our offices, but in a very dynamic way.
We organized two educational visits to our Data Centre (the location where telecommunications and storage systems are) and Network Operations center (locations from which the network is being monitored and controlled), training about Growth mindset, and presented more than 15 topics, 25 career paths through two-hour live sessions, in a group of 8 students. Interns had a fixed timetable, enabling them to keep up with their faculty obligations, but also had enough time to build a sense of belonging to the program and a real connection with the program’s leaders.
Even though we are still on track with the program’s long-term KPIs, our smaller milestones confirmed to us that we are heading in the right direction. We opened a regular feedback communication line and collected impressions from our interns, by asking them several open questions each week of the program: to evaluate programs content, evaluate lecturers, what new things have I learned, what was the most impactful takeaway & open field for suggestions and comments.
We owe our sense of fluffiness to intern’s feedback:
“I didn’t make a mistake when choosing the engineering profession.”
“This program gave me true and diverse insights on what I can do in my career. I feel more ready now.”
This step opened the way for us to spotlight talents early-on, and it is for sure a way to support your recruiting pipeline and be on top-of-mind for the student population when they search for their first jobs. Most of all, this project confirmed that the power of collaboration between business and HR professionals creates the best intern or employee experience.
Looking forward to another Pioneers generation,
Ivana Vlaski, Learning and Development Expert, CETIN Serbia
WE ARE PART OF CETIN GROUP, a leading European Integrated Telecom InfraCo in scale and geographic diversification across four markets. CETIN Serbia was founded in 2020, as a technology company dedicated to offer high-performance wholesale services based on continuous improving telco infrastructure deployment, operations and maintenance and efficient utilization of assets, while the commercial companies, to whom CETIN provides infrastructure as a service, focus on their customers and their communication needs. We provide a comprehensive set of infrastructure services such as Mobile network services, Fixed network services, IT services, Security. We nurture and live our values Customers – We Anticipate and Deliver; People – Respect and Teamwork; Technology – The Backbone of our Existence; Partnership – Communities and Innovators. If there is a singular truth in our world, it’s that we are nothing without the exceptionally skilled, motivated, and talented group of individuals whom we are proud to call our colleagues. We are proud of all our 297 employees working across 7 departments: Finance, Security, Operations, Network Strategy Planning & Development, Corporate Affairs, Commercial Department and Human Resources.
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