By: Krista Henry (she/her)
Relying on the perspectives of co-op students to help the company adapt to a changing world paid off for Henkel North America.
Henkel North America (Henkel) operates leading brand technologies in the industrial and commercial businesses. Within Canada, Henkel hires co-op students to help them find sustainable talent that may eventually transition into full-time roles. Across its departments, Henkel hires 10 to 15 co-op students each term.
“Our co-op students are an integral part of our organization and strong contributors in business continuity,” says Tina Sanbalian (she/her), human resources manager at Henkel. “We want our students involved in everything that we do so they feel like a part of the Henkel family.”
Co-op students contribute to areas such as sales, marketing, applications engineering, e-commerce, digital strategy and supply chain at Henkel. Students work on projects including global safety stock calculations, competitive analysis and adhesives recommendations, graphic designs, creative briefs and sales forecasts.
Co-op students take top prize
Henkel prides itself on delivering innovative, sustainable brands and technologies. The company hosts an internal “shark tank”- themed competition throughout their global offices to promote innovation on the team. The competition is inspired by the business reality television series where competitors pitch their business ideas to investors. Two co-op students recently presented an idea to an executive panel, which included the company’s North American president, as part of the internal competition.
“Our students put together a full social media submission with the recommendation to target university students with a unique product offering for back-to-school,” says Sanbalian.
The students won the competition securing $50,000 to implement their winning idea.
The beauty of co-op students is that they provide this new energy and perspective into our workplace. Which ultimately increases our team's productivity and excitement. Their fresh ideas can support expanding our technical expertise by leveraging what they are learning in school.
- TINA SANBALIAN, HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER AT HENKEL
Committing to future-ready talent
The top skills Sanbalian notices in Waterloo’s co-op students are their digital capabilities and their ability to multitask, work independently, communicate and innovate. Henkel tries to stay competitive with their student audience by seeking new ways to provide valuable real-world experiences.
“We find students super impactful. Each term we have managers that make recruiting students a top priority,” says Sanbalian. “We put a lot of time and effort into making sure the co-op students have a good experience and that they are doing something that matters. We hope to bring a lot of them back following graduation.”
Henkel is committed to helping staff develop their skills while encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset. Waterloo co-op students are particularly renowned for bringing an entrepreneurial passion into their work. For Sanbalian, future-ready co-op students also bring resiliency, digitization, collaboration and sustainability into their roles at Henkel.
“We want talent that can anticipate future trends and customer needs faster than the market. We encourage our students to be proactive, show their ideas and really fight for them. Co-op students bring all of that, which is why they are so important to us,” she says.