By: Krista Henry

Talent development is part of the secret to success at Hubhead Corporation. The multi-national organization is utilizing student talent for fresh perspectives and to build their talent pipeline.

A provider of software solutions, Hubhead hires Waterloo co-op students as inside sales representatives, software developers, plant maintenance master data analysts, marketing specialists and technical writers.

Co-op is a great opportunity to hire students and see how they perform so that we can consider them for full-time positions upon graduation. Students bring new ideas to the table, uncover new opportunities for us and we're really focused on growing our inside sales team.

Jacquelyn Blustein (she/her), Hubhead’s territory account manager for North America

Currently five former co-op students are working at the organization in full time roles. While 25 students have returned for multiple co-op work terms. Blustein credits the intentional effort the organization puts into developing a great work environment.

“An intern at Hubhead is treated like a full-time employee with the same tasks and responsibilities. It’s great to see students come on board that have no sales experience, are not sure about sales as a career and at the end of their terms want to consider sales in the future,” says Blustein.

Fostering a strong work ethic

Hubhead is looking for emerging talent that are self-motivated, creative, detail oriented, coachable and lifelong learners. They hire Waterloo co-op students because on top of all these things, they also bring additional skills—like being technically savvy.

Jennifer Chan headshot

Jennifer Chan (she/her)
Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies student

One such student is Jennifer Chan (she/her), a Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies major in the Faculty of Arts. Chan has worked with Hubhead as an inside sales representative for three work terms.

“The work environment is absolutely the reason I returned to Hubhead!” says Chan. “Everyone is so incredibly friendly and warm. I was never afraid to ask questions because they are willing to help. The job itself was very fun!”

According to Chan, opportunities to host meetings and reach out to potential clients on LinkedIn provided meaningful work. This helped to build her self-confidence.

“I loved the satisfaction I felt when one of the potential clients I managed to book a meeting with seemed very interested in our product. This meant that I was prospecting the right groups of people and I learned how to assess the fine details to figure out what worked,” she says.

When the time comes, Chan plans to use the experience she gathered at Hubhead into the working world.

Tips for student retention

How does Hubhead achieve such strong retention and satisfaction from co-op students? Blustein gives
her tips:

Two people smiling associated with a lightbulb and gear

1. Show impact on the organization

“We really treat co-op students like full time employees. It makes them feel welcome. We show them that they are part of the bigger picture and team. Being a small company, the impact that you can have is huge and they are able to see that.”

2. Provide targeted events for social interaction

“Before COVID-19, we always organized lunch when co-ops students came in. And, we did a departure event at the end of their work term. We let students take a vote on what they wanted to do
to make it fun for them and to make them feel valued. We try to keep that up remotely during the pandemic. On their first day, we Uber them lunches. Every Friday, we do a virtual event where we play games.”

Calendar with dates marked for events

Mentor teaching three co-op students new skills

3. Mentorship and development are key

“I really try to be a mentor for them and have an open-door policy. They really value this as I have students that have left and continue to stay in contact with me. They reach out for advice, references and for issues they are dealing with. The learning curve they receive here, and the sense of accomplishment along with their pay, really keeps them coming back.”