Kendal Benzel is the intern for the Campus Relations team in the Office of Human Resources (OHR). She is in charge of communications with interns, applicants, schools and other stakeholders for the City and County of Denver. Her daily duties include: marketing through LinkedIn (Intern Spotlights and Intern Alumni Spotlights, posting hard to fill positions, posting recaps of intern events), Denver Employee Bulletin and OHR Newsletter submissions, and editing and designing professional development workshops. 

In partnership with the OHR’s Professional Development Series for interns, Denver Peak Academy hosted Kendal and 19 other participants for Green Belt Process Improvement Training. Soon after, she submitted two innovations that proved to be very successful. One innovation focused on compiling a list of the 160+ intern contacts and another focused on creating templates for email communications with those interns. In total, these innovations saved over $5,400 in soft dollar savings and time spent completing these processes.

The following are Kendal’s experiences and thoughts during her innovation process:

On deciding what to innovate on…

“The Campus Relations team has been growing since the beginning of the year, starting with just Nicole Kim and her intern Jay and later adding James Warram to help with the majority of the recruiting. When I started with the Campus Relations team in August, there were several opportunities to organize the program better and to help my team save time on repetitive tasks. Because I was in charge of intern communication, I wanted to figure out a way that all interns in the program would be communicated to and that the communication would be consistent. From that, I pulled reports from Workday and started a working spreadsheet of active interns that would help me to know who interns were, what departments they were in, who their supervisors were, and their contact information. I also put together email templates for common communications and edit them depending on the situation or event.”

On the challenges she faced while innovating…

“Some challenges I came across was figuring out if the contingent workers listed as unpaid interns in the system were still active or if they had left the City but the managers hadn’t termed them in the system. I didn’t want to waste time sending emails to interns that were no longer interns so I compiled a list of unpaid interns who exceeded a certain date of hire and sent emails to their supervisors to review and term if they were no longer with the City. This encouraged the supervisors to term their inactive unpaid interns which cut down about 15 interns who were still active in the Workday system. After that clean out, I was much more confident in my list of interns and could just continue updating the list every week.”

On her advice to interns that want to innovate…

“Take a problem and do everything you can to solve it. Plan it out, try it, and if it doesn’t work the first time,change it and try it again. No problem is solved with just one solution.Innovation is not just about making your team’s work easier or your successors job easier, it’s about making you a better problem solver and a more efficient and effective employee regardless of where you work.”

The City and County of Denver Campus Relations Team

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