Mohawk Industries: A Career Conversation with Jessica Nguyen

What motivated you to join Mohawk Industries?
It was an opportunity to step outside of higher education and try the corporate world while still doing what I loved – helping students. I had the opportunity to expand my skillset and find ways to improve the intern program so we could give interns the best experience possible. 

How does Mohawk Industries convey to employees a sense of belonging?
Our Communications team does an excellent job of ensuring everyone is included and supported throughout different times of the year and certain holidays. The individual business units also do an excellent job of hosting different events for their employees and ensuring everyone gets to participate in events and feels included and supported throughout their work here. Within the plants, HR does a great job of really talking to and listening to employees to find out the best ways we can show them appreciation and making them feel like they belong to the Mohawk family. I think the length of time that some of our people have been here (20+ years) is a nod to how well Mohawk makes its employees feel like they belong to the family and are supported in multiple different ways. 

In what ways has Mohawk Industries supported your professional development and growth?
I just hit my 2-year mark with Mohawk last week and on the same day, I graduated from our RISE Leadership Development program which I was nominated into the year before. Mohawk has a Talent Development team and a pyramid of leadership development programs for people at all levels throughout the organization to assist with their professional development – whether it’s through ASPIRE, ASCEND, RISE, or LEAD or just through taking advantage of their class offerings throughout the year – Mohawk provides opportunities for enhancing communication skills, leadership skills, software (I.e. Excel courses), and more. They also cover the cost for certifications and trainings that are useful to your role. For example, I was able to complete my SHRM Talent Acquisition certification last year which Mohawk covered. 

How do you know that you’re making a difference/having an impact with the work that you do?
Mohawk loves to celebrate wins so we’ve been recognized and noticed several times already for increasing the intern program with extra days off work, gift cards, and other gifts. Mohawk also loves to celebrate its people in general with Employee Appreciation week events and other opportunities so we can acknowledge how other teams or members have helped us, along with leadership showing their support, so you get the acknowledgment of your impact from all sides. 

What makes you proud to represent Mohawk Industries?
I am continually blown away by the ingenuity, innovation, and care that Mohawk puts into it’s products, people, and customers! I’m amazed at the progress we’ve made as a manufacturing plant but also of the amount of care the employees here put into the environment, making our products and plants better for everyone, and how everyone takes pride in their work and the value they bring to the company. I think our commitment to people (inside and outside the company) and the environment are what make me most proud to represent Mohawk at every school event I attend. 

In what ways do you feel like you’ve grown since working for Mohawk Industries?
First, I would say, I’ve grown in understanding how a Fortune 500 company works and how flooring products are made! Beyond that though, I’ve had the chance to participate in two leadership programs with Mohawk and GACE since being here which have both helped me grow as a leader when it comes to influencing, effectively communicating, and effectively running a team, department, or project. I’ve also had the opportunity to grow a program, host events, and be innovative in my own ways to make improvements to the intern program. Mohawk has also provided me the chance to present at GACE and NACE (Georgia and National Association for Colleges and Employers) which has allowed me to practice and improve my public speaking skills! 

What do you wish you had known about the professional world when you were a student?
I love this question because they are so many things that I wish I had known as a student before entering the work world! First would be to learn about all of the other “things” outside of just salary a company offers – such as health benefits and cost to you, retirement plans, tuition reimbursement, professional development/training/certifications, and their growth plans for their employees. Second, do your research ahead of time for the industry/company – make sure you’re getting into a role with a company or area that is growing, not declining. For example, I used to work in career services at an institution and we had a pharmacology program that a lot of students went into but pharmacy jobs were on the decline making it very hard to get a job after college so looking at the viability of a role before you enter the workforce. Also, intern/job shadow/work PT in as many roles as you can to help you find your right fit!! I focused on being a mediator and going to law school for YEARS and then when I got to college, realized I really hated my law classes and that law school probably wasn’t for me. All of my experience and internships had been in mediation though so I had to learn how to make that pivot to something else. If you start off more well-rounded in your experiences, making a career change is a little easier! Plus, it helps you really narrow in on what you enjoy (or don’t enjoy) as a job. Lastly, I will say I wish someone had warned me about office politics. I’ve encountered them everywhere I’ve been and they are different at each place, but it’s something I wish I had known about up front and had experience navigating before entering the workforce. I think the transition would have just been less stressful if I’d known about certain things that would happen or I would encounter going into the workforce. 

In thinking about emerging young professionals, what advice would you share to those seeking their first opportunities?
Be open to all opportunities! Don’t focus on just the money! Think about what you can learn/add to your resume from a role, what the growth potentials are, and how everything can benefit you in the long run. Salaries will even out over time as you get promotions, move roles, or move companies, but not all experiences and training are the same. Find people on LinkedIn that work or worked at companies you’re interested in and don’t be afraid to reach out and network! They can help you land a role but also give you a glimpse into the culture of a company which is another thing to consider before accepting any job offers. Finally, research beyond your typical roles – find out what all is out there that could align with your strengths – there are so many opportunities that college students may not be aware of (I know I’ve encountered tons of roles in my lifetime now that I never knew existed or thought about as a student). Also networking and talking to people in the industry can help you get a clearer picture of what actual day-to-day work is like in their role. That’s another thing that might be different in your head versus reality – find out before you take a role! 

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