Veritiv: A Career Conversation with Shreya Patel

What motivated you to join Veritiv?
I actually wasn't too familiar with the company when I first applied to it, but I think what really stood out to me was their Handshake application. It was different than the other internships I was looking for because it explicitly said in the job description "Hey, you're not going on coffee runs or making copies."  The description emphasized that I would be working on meaningful projects that would contribute to the organization. Additionally, upon further research on the company website, I liked that Veritiv was diversified into different segments. Both of those factors really contributed to why I applied to the internship.

How does Veritiv convey to employees a sense of belonging?
We do this in a couple of different ways. Our CEO conducts monthly webcasts which are really impactful to all employees, whether you're a truck driver to a senior leader. He often brings in speakers from our different segments and updates us on the business, where we are headed with the future of the company, and a session for Q&A. Secondly, we recently launched a couple of ERGs (Employee Resource Groups), which I believe is already having such a great impact on our people. It’s creating a sense of community and a sense of comradery to accept our differences and grow together. Lastly, we have an internal communications site that acts like a social media platform where employees can share posts with other employees, and we can like and comment on these posts. Corporate news is also shared on this platform, but I love seeing what other employees are up to all across the nation!

How are you supported in your professional development and growth?
Every employee has a one on one with their manager every week or two. We’re able to create and talk about our goals for the year and communicate our career aspirations. We also have a program where employees are able to explore different functions, roles, and pathways for careers at Veritiv. There are career maps that show both vertical and horizonal pathways. This is  something I have personally used to see the different avenues I can take my career toward in human resources. I have also read stories on our internal communication site of employees starting out as warehouse workers and working their way up to corporate manager roles. It is so inspiring to see the growth opportunities here.

How does Veritiv support you in maintaining a healthy work-life balance?
We returned to office in March and right of the bat, we had a hybrid schedule where we come in every Monday and Thursday.  We've adjusted our core office hours to be from 9-3 to give employees a little more time to account for traffic and such. We have two weeks of remote work to use throughout the year as well. Veritiv also offers benefits starting day 1, which I feel that not a lot of companies have. It’s a great selling point for us because employees are able to enroll in benefits with no wait period.

How do you know you are making an impact with the work you do?
One of the reasons I chose to go into talent acquisition after my internship was because I love helping people and I think it's really rewarding to see my work help someone further their career. The first person I hired was for a customer service position and it was really great to see that she was a mom who wanted to get back into the working world. I loved being able to guide her through the recruitment process, letting her know which hiring managers would ask which questions, and how to prep for them. Coaching her, and others, through the process has been so rewarding.

What makes you proud to represent this company?
Definitely our work culture. Coming out of college, you have a lens on corporate America as an intimidating place to be. Since my first day at Veritiv, everyone was just so welcoming. Walking through the halls, I would talk to and run into leaders and they would introduce themselves and encourage me to never hesitate to reach out for help. It meant a lot to me that they went out of their way to make me feel like a part of the Veritiv team.

How do you feel like you've grown since working with Veritiv?
My confidence has grown a lot. Growing up, I always hated calling people on the phone. Being in this role has definitely changed that a lot for me. I'm meeting and coaching people through the hiring process, which has been great, and I've seen that as a confidence booster for myself as well. I've also grown in not being afraid to be curious. Asking questions and asking for help, I've learned, is more of a sign of strength than a sign of weakness.

What advice would you give to emerging professionals seeking their first opportunities?
Going back to not being afraid to ask for help and being confident in yourself! I'd say to network with individuals, because you really want to absorb as much information as you can to learn in a company or an industry. I would also suggest always asking recruiters how their recruitment processes are laid out because it may be different from company to company. The recruiter is there to help you so asking them will only benefit yourself!

How do you define success for yourself?
I think success is putting in 110% of effort into whatever I'm doing and knowing that I'm doing the best I can. It's okay to make mistakes and it's okay to not know what you're doing as long as you ask for help along the way. Learning from your experiences and growing your skillsets is what success is all about.

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