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Considered internships as a way to tackle NZ's talent shortage?

Crowne Plaza Queenstown and Holiday Inn Queenstown Remarkables Park recently hired for a new role within their organisation – an HR Administration Intern. Despite not having offered this position in the past, they were blown away by the amount and quality of the applications they received for this role. In a time where many are experiencing staff shortages, this organisation’s experience is a great example of how we can and should look towards our country’s young people to fill gaps and create a pipeline of talent in the HR industry.   

HRNZ touched base with IHG Area General Manager for New Zealand, Tim Pollock, and his HR team to learn more about the new role. It was the Queenstown Human Resources Manager, Brooklyn Middleton, who ignited this role, thanks to her interest in teaching and growing talent. Check out our Q&A below to find out more about the role, why it was developed, and how it will be operated.   


Please tell us about your organisation’s internship programme/ position.  

“This Internship Position is designed to be an introduction to the duties an HR Administrator in a generalist position would undertake. This role is working alongside Brooklyn in supporting two of our IHG Queenstown hotels - Crowne Plaza Queenstown & Holiday Inn Queenstown Remarkables Park. This internship will run from Mid-November until early February to coincide with University Holidays. It will cover a number of areas including:  

  • Employment Agreements  
  • Using HRIS systems  
  • Maintaining employee files  
  • Learning about and assisting with Onboarding Processes & trainings  
  • Learning about initial stages of Recruitment including creating/posting adverts and how to complete initial screening of candidates  
  • Learning our IHG Performance Management cycle and what managing performance looks like on a daily basis  
  • Being involved in Colleague Engagement Strategies  
  • Building relationships with key stakeholders and learning about adapting to meet the needs of these stakeholders  

This role will allow the intern to explore all areas of HR in a role that is truly generalist. There are many areas within the HR Function that a student could choose as a career path, we are hopeful that this position will assist them in deciding what parts of HR they enjoy - or if they enjoy a little bit of everything! Along with gaining insight into the "behind the scenes" of a hotel and just how fantastic they can be.”


How have you structured the internship position? How does the position fit within your team and contribute to the work you are doing?  

Brooklyn answers, “although training can be time-consuming, having someone in this position allows me to focus on the strategy of the business instead of daily administration tasks.  

This role is a hands-on Monday-Friday full-time position. There will be daily, weekly & monthly tasks that must be completed but outside of these, there is scope for the student to put what they have learned into practice and explore the areas they are most interested in. The role will be mostly self-driven, with help from myself as their Mentor and a few key teachings I intend to pass along. They will be able to choose which areas they really want to delve into. I will encourage them to push themselves, but it will be up to them just how much they get out of the internship.” 


Why did your organization decide to create this internship position?  

Tim answers, “this role has been created due to our current HR Administrator taking a well-deserved holiday over Summer. We were exploring other options for some coverage such as Secondments from other NZ/Australian IHG hotels to assist remotely, however the thought of creating a new internship opportunity excited our team. We knew this was an opportunity with great possibilities. This position will help our hotels run smoothly and also allows us to create a potentially career-changing opportunity for one of our rangatahi.” 


What do you believe to be good/ beneficial about creating an internship position?  

Brooklyn believes it to be “the two-way learning. Having a student who has been studying formally towards a qualification in Human Resource Management will be a challenge for myself, as I have been in the thick of the practical work for a while now. I will need to be prepared to be asked questions that I may not know the answers to right away!   

It has been a while since I studied HRM, so many things have changed and I am aware that how we are operating may not be the best way of doing things anymore. This idea can be uncomfortable and perhaps confronting at times, but I am ready to face this head on and explore new ideas.

Interns and Graduates possess an enthusiasm that is hard to compare. They are smart, switched on, and ready to absorb all that they can and make as much of an impact as they can - who doesn't want someone like that in their workplace?”

Tim adds, “with the staffing shortages we are facing in Hospitality, we have been working hard to attract new pools of talent to the industry. We believe that it is a fantastic place to grow a rewarding career that can take you all over the world! Yes, we need Housekeepers, Food & Beverage Team Members, Front Desk Agents and Chefs in our hotels, but we also need people in Leadership roles and areas such as Marketing, Sales, Finance, HR. We are hopeful that this opportunity may encourage Hospitality as a valid career path that may have not been considered previously.” 


Are there any encouraging words you would provide to employers considering creating an internship position within their organization?  

Brooklyn answers, “although this programme has yet to commence, we have been absolutely blown away by the talent that applied for this position. The selection of a candidate has been a rigorous and challenging process. Speaking to students, who are so eager to learn and have such a passion for getting into Human Resources, has been really invigorating and inspiring. I have even put aside a few CVs to share with our other IHG hotels if they find themselves searching for an Administrator in the future.   

This type of role may require you to think differently and put additional time and effort into training and mentoring - but that is a small price to pay in comparison to the value the role will bring. It is a position that will develop and push you, add value to the company, and bring an injection of enthusiasm and new ideas.”