When someone says “human resources,” you might not be overwhelmed with excitement, but for CU Denver student Brandon Wiegand, there’s more to it than just handling employee concerns. “Human resources has grown into something much more strategic,” Wiegand said. “Today’s generation moves around a lot, making employee retention more important than ever.”
The success of a business today might very well depend on its ability to find and keep employees.
With several members of his immediate family working in the same field, human resources is more like a family business to Wiegand. “I’ve always loved working with people, and at the end of the day, that’s what human resources is all about,” he said.
Pursuing a degree in human resources and business management at the CU Denver Business School, Wiegand has plans to innovate the field. “HR is still prone to taking budget cuts, and I think there’s a lot of potential to create partnerships with other resources that make HR even more valuable,” he said.
Making the most of CU Denver resources
Collaborating with the Business Career Connections office, Wiegand had the opportunity to work as an intern at OppenheimerFunds and put his passion for HR to good use.
“Generally, I worked on finding trends between performance management, employee surveys and things like that,” Wiegand said. As part of an ancillary task, he was asked to research a government grant for for-profit organizations that invest in their workforce. “It sounded like a pipe-dream, but I thought I’d look into it.”
After making a few calls and being redirected through a maze of government organizations, Wiegand eventually discovered the Arapahoe/Douglas Works! workforce development organization. The program offers $6,000 annually for the training of employees hired through the program.
“This kind of opportunity is a great way to show worth and initiative to the company,” Wiegand explained.
Going above and beyond, Wiegand met with a representative of the program and then began to sell the idea internally. “I met with talent acquisition and hiring managers to present the idea and answer any questions,” he said. “By the time I left we had decided to participate and HR, traditionally a cost-center, also became something of a profit-center.”
More than just a student
Of course, there’s more to success than finding an internship. The key to Wiegand’s success is a commitment to self-improvement, something Wiegand learned from his professors at CU Denver. “If not for the courses I took at CU Denver, I wouldn’t have asked for as much feedback,” he said. “I learned to be humble and simply ask where I could improve and how I could do better.”
Along with taking classes and interning at OppenheimerFunds, Wiegand is the president of the CU Denver student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). “There are so many opportunities available to CU Denver students, they should just keep their minds open to the kinds of partnerships that are out there,” he said.
The one lesson we can all learn from Wiegand is that there’s always room for growth. In addition to challenging himself academically and professionally, he is gearing up to be a new father. If hard work is any indication of good parenting, then he is sure to be an excellent dad.