If you were nervous for your first day, you are not alone. I walked into HNI on my first day a nervous wreck. I had no experience in the insurance field, I had never worked in an office before, and I was coming to the realization that I had parked outside of the daycare center next door instead of the designated HNI parking lot. All these thoughts resulted in some shallow breathing and sweaty palms.
But looking back, I see how silly these feelings were. The awesome HR team will fill your first few days with meetings and activities so that you can ease your way into your position and get to know your fellow employees. Everyone is willing to answer your dumb intern questions. I promise you that after a few Potbelly runs with the team, you will feel right at home.
What to Expect
The internship scene was new to me when I first started at HNI. From what I could gather (mostly from television), intern work typically consisted of mindless paperwork and maybe a few coffee-runs here and there. I’m lucky to say that neither of these were included in my summer experience. I worked as a data analyst in the marketing department. Most of my time was spent updating and creating graphs and visuals so that clients could see their insurance history instead of simply reading it. But, what really made my HNI experience great was the freedom and opportunities that HNI gave me. In my time, I was able to write some code for web tools, explore some data trends, and even stutter my way through a presentation to a real live client! I never felt like I was treated as a lowly intern in my summer at HNI.
What did I learn from HNI?
- Small details can make or break a project
- Don’t wear a tie on your first day
- Learn from your co-workers. They have so much to teach you
- Databases are painfully unforgiving
- Be active and ask your co-workers if they need any help
- If you ask anyone in marketing who the best ping pong player is, they will tell you that it is them
If you want to know what a job at HNI is like, just ask around the office. Everyone will tell you that HNI is unlike any other place that they have worked. The unconventional environment really allows people to share their ideas and personalities. That’s probably why it has attracted some of the most talented and energetic people that I have ever met.
From the sales team to the IT department, you can always find a laugh. And, a quick look at their sales growth will tell you that with playing hard comes working hard. Be prepared for both, and you’ll do just fine. So, leave the tie at home, park in the back lot, and get the most out of your time as an HNI intern.