Building a Better Workplace: My Internship in Human Resources

by Maura Rielly

This Summer, I had an in-person internship in the Human Resources Department at Westbrook City Hall in Westbrook, Maine. Since my senior year of high school, I have had an interest in Human Resources. I was really excited and nervous about this internship because I was going to find out if I really wanted to continue this career path. After having completed the internship, It is safe to say that I really enjoyed it, and I can’t wait to start my Human Resources career once I graduate from Wheaton College. 

I worked with two generalists and the head director of Human Resources. I touched on on-boarding, off-boarding, union rights, benefits administration, labor and employee relations, organizational behavior, and following federal, state, and local regulatory requirements and policies. 

One experience I got to take part in was leading a group exercise to solve a conflict in a department. I thought that a great way to try to repair bonds would be to show appreciation. I had each member in the department go around and say one thing they appreciated about each person. I explained that the appreciation statements had to be meaningful and personal. It was a great opportunity to run a group exercise and to navigate any issues that popped up. I aim to take what I learned and put it into practice when I am in my own organization. 

It was also interesting to have an internship in government during a pandemic. It was our priority to make sure that we were following the guidelines as soon as Governor Mills issued them. I wanted to make the workplace as safe as possible while following regulations because it is such a scary time. 

Overall, the experience from this internship solidified my passion for Human Resources. I want to make a difference in the workplace by making sure it is as safe, ethical, and inclusive for all employees.