How Home Hardware is keeping co-op students engaged through challenging projects

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Home Hardware Stores Limited head office

By: Maddie Savage (she/her) and Krista Henry (she/her)

Making an impact on the skills development of co-op students helps Home Hardware Stores Limited to keep this next generation of talent engaged in the workplace.

Named one of Canada’s top employers and the Waterloo Region’s top employers for the last two years, Home Hardware Stores Limited fosters an environment that focuses on skill development and provides meaningful work opportunities.

Samantha Zarzycki (she/her), talent acquisition specialist at Home Hardware Stores Limited
Samantha Zarzycki (she/her)
Talent acquisition specialist at Home Hardware Stores Limited

“Co-op positions at the corporate office allow us to provide students with opportunities to gain valuable work experience and gives students the chance to apply the skills they've learned in a meaningful way,” says Samantha Zarzycki (she/her), talent acquisition specialist at Home Hardware Stores Limited.

The company hires students in the areas of corporate finance, marketing, merchandising, information technology and business. According to Zarzycki (BA’09), co-op students have autonomy in their day-to-day work and play an integral role in project planning and management of challenging assignments.

“Some of the key takeaways for the students are building and using their analytical skills to review and analyze data, in some cases support with forecasting, working as part of a team and learning practical business skills. Students have the freedom to interact and build relationships with suppliers and industry experts too,” says Zarzycki.


Students help provide a competitive advantage

Passion, innovation and dedication are some of the advantages that co-op students bring to the organization. Zarzycki believes co-op students are a top way for the company to stay connected to future-ready talent. Students have played a vital role in Home Hardware Stores Limited’s talent strategy for several years and the company has hired co-op students into full-time social media and merchandising roles after graduation.


Students bring a fresh perspective to the projects they support. This is why it’s important to make sure that you’re building a meaningful opportunity that’s going to impact them and give them skills they can take forward in their career. Co-op students should feel involved by applying their skills.



The company is looking for analytical thinkers with a collaborative, flexible and adaptable mindset. These skills help Home Hardware Stores Limited stay competitive as students come with creative ideas and solutions that benefit the business.

Home Hardware Stores Limited is proud of the company culture and mentorship opportunities they extend to students and see their co-op program as an opportunity to support their local community.

“If students are looking for a great corporate culture and an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in a fun and team-oriented environment, they should consider their next co-op opportunity at Home Hardware Stores Limited,” says Zarzycki.

The key to success

When it comes to having meaning and purpose at work, Home Hardware Stores Limited believes strongly in aligning values to attract and retain their talent like co-op students.

“We recommend creating meaningful work experiences for students and allowing them to participate in a variety of tasks and projects to ensure they’re engaged, learning and feel like they’re making a contribution,” says Zarzycki. “Share with the students what your organization stands for to ensure their values align with your company culture.”

According to Waterloo’s Work-Learn Institute, students do purposeful and top-level work when their co-op is with a company whose values align with their own.

“Waterloo co-op students are passionate, they're dedicated and driven,” says Zarzycki. “They think outside the box and they bring a fresh and new perspective to the business that's of great value.”

Home Hardware Stores Limited looks forward to strengthening their brand presence on campus and providing meaningful co-op work experiences to students.