Introduction: Motivation for this Internship and Acceptance
In this paper I will evaluate my experience as an internee in one of the finest diamond companies in the world called Rosy blue. The company is located in Belgium in the epicenter of the diamond capital of the world namely in Antwerp. The reason why I chose this
business field over another field is related to the fact that I am passionate about precious stones. In French they are called “des pierres précieuses”. Ever since I can remember as a young boy I thought precious stones were like a call from the wild because not only are they often unmatched in their beauty but also in their uniqueness because they are quite rare. The fact of going out and finding these precious stones through excavation never ceased to appeal to the Indiana Jones side of my personality which is attracted by the quest of going far beyond traditional boundaries to seek things out of the ordinary like beautiful gems.
The fact that we had to select a company for an internship came as a happy demand because I am eager to get some practical experience next to my theoretical basis I get in university . I started to browse the web to see what companies existed that I would be interested in doing an internship for during a two month period. I fell on the Rosy blue website relatively fast and completed a demand to do an internship there. To my biggest surprise they accepted my demand for an internship yet they told me they could not guarantee me to work in the divisions directly dealing with diamonds because they only give people this opportunity who are actually on their payroll which I was not going to be, sadly enough.
Nevertheless I was still very excited about this new opportunity on the horizon because I know it is very difficult to get any type of internship, paid or not, in these times of economic recession. In any case, even though they couldn’t guarantee the internship of my dreams I decided to go through with it thinking that it would be an introduction to the diamond business and perhaps a foot in the door for the future.
The company does preside over a complete training and development division which is exclusively dedicated to the training of their employees. They call it “The Rosy Blue Academy”. On their website we get an overview of what the latter consists of. It is threefold and new employees learn about the business, can develop social skills and obtain different types of training for professional development.
When I first got there I was told that I would work in their Human Resources department and learn all about the management of employees. I figured it could also be interesting because Rosy blue claims that one of the main reasons why they are so successful worldwide is because they say their most important assets are the people they work with. I knew the basic elements of Human Resource management in business because we have learned about it in university yet I never expected that HRM really is at the heart of a company at least this is the case for Rosy blue. Somewhere it is logical that HR stands at the core of a company because it deals with all the company divisions and with all the people who are working in the company. It functions as the glue of a company because it is the element that keeps all fragments together so the company can operate like a well oiled machine where each chain smoothly spins with the other chains.
2. Job Description and Analysis of the Job.
I was an assistant of the Human resource manager and this entails that I had to do everything my human resource manager would ask me to do. This consisted primarily in doing administrative tasks like writing emails for my boss replying to demands from employees who had questions about their work or paycheck or insurance or when they wanted to take a day of. My boss would dictate me what I had to reply to them explaining me bit by bit what the company rules were related to paychecks, absences, incoming phone calls, insurance procedures, bonuses and so forth.
I came to understand the responsibilities and tasks that come with a job as a Human resource manager simply by observing my boss. She exemplifies what it means to be an HR manager. If I could typify my boss she was very nice but very precise in her work procedure and extremely busy multitasking many different things at the time dealing with demands, people walking in who had questions, organizing meetings and briefings, dealing with the training program, making sure everything was ready and functioning properly for the courses and meetings, explaining things to the new employees, recruiting new job candidates and interviewing them, following up with everybody about how things are going at work, dealing with problems between employees who don’t get along well, listening to people’s personal issues or challenges relating to their job and so forth. As an HR manager you have to be a caterpillar doing many things at the same time and managing it all. You also have to be a diplomat and be clear about the company rules but also considerate in the way you communicate with those rules with the employees and considerate in general of people. One requirement definitly would be that you have to genuinely like people and human contact. An HR person must possess the quality to be able to speak with candor and structure their work and work affairs in general.
She was always mediating between people and the requirements of the job making sure people were doing their job the way they are supposed to in compliance with the company rules.
Very importantly she had to follow up their time and work tables. Not that she had to complete that for the employees themselves but she had to make sure that every employee filled out their time table of hours worked properly including filling out their extra hours if they’d worked extra hours. She had to keep track of all that because at the end of the month she would be in charge of paying the personnel together with the CFO.
3. Work Performed and Learning Outcomes
My activities on the job were helping her to prepare documents for meetings, printing them out and putting them in binders, picking up the phone when she was out of the office and writing down who had called, from which company they were, at what time they had called and the reason of their phone call. It was manageable but not always easy because one cannot be sloppy. When somebody calls in you have to make sure you get all the information right even though sometimes you have to ask their name 3 times before you get it right or ask the person to spell it out for you. The same counts for writing down the phone numbers. One is not allowed to make mistakes or writing down a phone number missing a digit else my boss cannot call that person back. Sometimes it is hard because people speak fast or with accents or are in a hurry or don’t explain properly what it’s about because they suppose you already know about what they’re calling for which is not necessarily the case.
After a couple of weeks I started to get to know some people who called in from within the office and outside. The people from outside the company were usually people form Rosy blues’ other offices around the world or just people who have dealings with HR like security or insurance companies and so forth. I realized quickly that I had to keep my eyes close to the ball else I’d make mistakes which wouldn’t make me look good at all especially when you are working at the bottom of the ladder. Another requirement for this type of job is that not only does one need technical baggage related to the legal procedures of the company and business aspects one also has to be extremely flexible in communication and good with computers and computer programs.
Human resource management In Rosy blue requires communication skills and diplomacy. First of all a lot of the interactions in the office happen often in different languages. While the main language spoken in the office was Dutch and English one also needed to speak French and be fluent in all of the above languages. For Flemish people this is somewhat easier than native French speakers yet it was alright, I managed fine. I was amazed by the flexibility my boss showed, jumping from one language to another when the situation occurred that people spoke to her in different languages. In Brussels communication usually remains primarily in French. I guess this also reflects the fact that Rosy blue is a global company and this fluent communication reflects their aptness on an international level rather than a local one. So my day –to-day job really consisted in dealing with the administration and the duties that came with it. I became familiar with all types of forms from each department of Rosy blue and the types of activities they performed. I saw benefit forms, compensation forms, executive letters that had to be signed and classified, training documents and so forth.
The hardest part to get used to was the way the computer was organized and finding all the different folders and files and under what to save all new files. It is not difficult but can be challenging in the beginning when you don’t know yet where everything belongs and needs to be saved under. Thankfully my boss was patient with me when things went somewhat slowly in the beginning.
I had to familiarize myself with computer tracking systems which was not easy in the beginning because it has its own lingo. They were also testing a new program that consisted in a more efficient tracking program so I had to learn the new program as well as master the old one. I had to be flexible in learning new things all the time. I also had to enter data from employees in the HR files where everything is carefully stored. Adapt information where needed and save it in the right places.
A couple of times I was allowed to attend an employee meeting with my boss and I was told to take notes and observe how such a meeting proceeded. All new employees were called in to have an evaluation of their situation and all questions of employees would be addressed and be resolved or answered by my boss. I noticed that the most complex element of the HR job is to be able to deal with people properly. One has to have social skills and understand where people are coming from and make sure everything always happens in good order.
My boss constantly double checked if the employees understood what was asked from them and if they had any further questions. I was amazed by the fact that she really insisted on being clear and straightforward about the company regulations and demands. An emphasis lies on safety and health report. For example when people are sick she is following up on them and giving the message to the other personnel.
Something that the other assistant s were mainly working on was rather odd for the Human resource department but I after I asked why it was I understood how their job fitted in what HR also consists of. A small group of other internees that were placed in the HR department were charged with the task to do research about the “ethical” aspect of the diamond business. In other words their job consisted in writing up papers to show that Rosy blue‘s operations are in accordance with “The Kimberly Process”. In the diamond business the “Kimberly process” is the mot du jour and one of the main factors to be reckoned with if you’re in the diamond business. Because of its importance in the business and from what I learned about it, I will summarize what The Kimberly Process really consists in.
On the Kimberly process website I found the origins of the process. It is a certification system through which the international trade in rough diamonds since the end of 2002 started to be framed with certain technical modalities. The goal is to make sure that buyers of diamonds can be assured that the purchased diamond is not a so-called “conflict” diamond.
The term conflict diamond or also called blood diamond refers to the phenomenon that primarily occurred in Africa where certain rebel movements provided themselves revenue with the sale of diamonds which were taken from regions where they exerted control. These revenues consequently were used to buy weapons for example. In this fashion the purchase of a diamond contributed indirectly to all kinds of atrocities.
The Kimberly process is a reaction on this phenomenon with as its goal to make sure that similar diamonds can no longer enter in the middle of this worldwide trade in this primary stone.
The uniqueness of the Kimberly process consists in the never before seen collaboration between three totally different actors, each with its own interests: states, the diamond industry itself and NGO’s. The Kimberly process does not exist under the form of an international treaty amongst countries and did not lead to a founding of a separate international organization.
Members of the Kimberly Process
(Source image: Wikipedia)
This means that there is a lot that needs to be done by researchers from different disciplines to be interested in the matter and to try to clarify things to get a good image of what the current situation is and where it is going. In the case of the fellow HR trainees they had to track all operations from miners and research countries’ political situations and who the traders are in the countries, research people and the diamond trade in general. This task is gargantuan and very complex. Rosy blue is very concerned with their good image. One has to be very concerned with ones image in this business because one wants to certify quality and credibility to the client. No client in their right mind would buy a blood diamond.
There has been a lot of press and controversy about blood diamonds and people are genuinely concerned where a diamond comes from and if it has been extracted respecting human rights. The fact that Rosy blue participates in the Kimberly Process and is very concerned with their correctness in their operations struck me as something exceptional. I realized that the vast company I was working for who employs 13000 people worldwide really cares about what they do and the environment in which they operate.
The research the other trainees do in the HR department contributes to a special document the company publishes called the “Corporate Social Responsibility Report”. From what I learned this is a totally new turn in the companies’ mission. As Iris van der Veken, manager Corporate Affairs Global, states so clearly “Rosy blue today organizes their business, social and environmental initiatives around the concept of an internal CSR model as part f the business strategy and how we have implemented initiatives such as Best practice Principles and UN Global Compact around the world in a structured manner”. According to her the company aspires to operating a sustainable business with more transparency, accountability and open dialogue. Thus, the HR department of Rosy blue is not only concerned with the internal ethics but equally with the external global ethics.
Everything I had to do as an assistant to the HR manager was part of the classical HR function’s description namely learning how to recruit people and understanding what type of people the company is looking for. In the hiring process it is important to look if the candidate posses the qualities and values that are aligned with the values the company stands for. In the case of Rosy blue this is accountability, diversity and integrity. With accountability they mainly mean that they are looking for people who take responsibility for what they do. The companies’ intention is to create value for all their stakeholders including their employees. From an HR standpoint this entails that Rosy blue is committed to fostering a workplace that is professional, safe, promote teamwork, diversity and trust.
The department strives to communicate openly about what the company is doing, why they are doing it and how it will affect them. The Human Resource department seeks the employees’ feedback on lots of elements and responds to any concerns the employees have. The idea is that people are happy to work for Rosy Blue and are proud to be part of our group. Yet the HR is not only involved with recruitment but also the laying off of people who are not doing their job well. Furthermore HR in Rosy blue equally evaluates employees in how well they do their job. If they exceed normal expectations they will get rewarded for it and get a bonus or get promoted. In a way it is logical and only fair to the other employees to reward who is doing a good job. Psychologically it creates a positive atmosphere to recognize good performance and to keep growing and moving ahead.
As a conclusion I can say that I learned that the Human Resource department consists in one of the most important departments of a company if not the most important one. This is because the HR department is at the core of a responsible and efficient company. If the Human resource department is effective in the execution of its tasks the rest of the railings and sailings of the company will go smoothly. Without the HR department there would be quite some chaos. Employees would not know to whom to direct themselves with day-to-day questions and for technicalities. There would be less structure and transparency between the different departments and employees from different departments. People would not have clarity about available benefits and how the company compensates their employees and if there are opportunities to grow within the company. HR envisions the growth of different departments and sets up a frame in which this can happen. On top of that the HR department takes care of the administration relating to all of the above and employment in general. Without HR the companies’ performance would be drastically lower. I am happy to have learned and seen the real value of the HR department of which I had a skewed view before I started the internship with quite some prejudices and with a slight disappointment not going to be working with the diamond sector yet it was surprisingly interesting and a very enriching experience to work in HR nevertheless.
Furthermore I do understand now much better the challenges of the diamond business in today’s’ world even though I wasn’t working in it directly. It is a big industry and has lots of potential especially in a place like Antwerp which operates as the heart of the diamond sector worldwide. I can say that I see an ensured potential for growth in this business field thanks to Rosy blue’s ethical approach to diamonds. Rosy blue attempts to set an example for the whole diamond business by being ethically responsible and therefore continuing to grow amidst the economic crisis.
To avoid bad press and a bad image all the diamonds of Rosy blue are accompanied by the Kimberly certificate with which the place of origin of the diamond can be traced. Rosy blue considers it to be their personal business to take the lead in the battle against blood diamonds. They say that the Kimberly Certificate has been launched in Antwerp and that all the certificates for all the diamonds are stored carefully in the accounting books of the company. They want to develop the idea that Antwerp is the epicenter of jewels and diamonds.
My boss told me that recently Rosy blue made new agreements with the Belgian government that they will report all their transactions in a specific way so that they can have a sort of auto-regulatory system that checks if businesses operate in a healthy fashion. It is a new control system that is intended to set an example for diamond and precious stones’ businesses worldwide. This way Rosy blue aspires to strengthen their position in the global market.
Even though the diamond business sometimes still has a dirty image the new ethical initiatives Rosy blue is taking are meant to build up a cleaner image for them. Yet we still don’t know 100 % sure how many diamonds still enter the market without control. Even though countries and companies from more than forty countries have signed the Kimberly protocol there are still questions raised about the efficiency of its application.
The bad image of diamond business has existed for a while but has been especially triggered by the movie “Blood Diamond”.
The Belgian and American diamond industry was quite worried about the content of the movie before it was released because it shows how the diamond industry sponsored the civil war in Sierra Leone because they kept buying this countries’ diamonds for millions of dollars, from dictators as well as from violent rebels. With that revenue the dictators and rebels continued their killing of civilians of their country. To counter this negative news caused by the movie “blood diamond” many diamond businesses have published large advertisements in newspapers, sometimes the size of a full page, in which they emphasize what there has been done to counter the so-called conflict diamonds.
3. Company Description
The information below stems from the Rosy Blue website and Rosy Blue was founded in the company description one discovers that the company was founded in 1960 by Meta Arunkumar and Bhanuchandra. Bhansali on the straightforward values of Honesty and Integrity. Back in the day the business was simply called B. Arunkumar and consisted in a small workshop where diamonds were polished and a small office. Over the past 50 years slowly but steadily it has grown into Rosy Blue Group and now is one of the world’s most successful diamond businesses with offices in 14 different countries spread over all the continents of the world. The largest offices are India ( 44,4%), Belgium ( 22%) and Sri Lanka ( 13,3%). Bhansali states that one of the main reasons for their success throughout the different generations is thanks to their ethically correct business code and solid sense of responsibility. He says that Rosy Blue adopted the Kimberly process and the ideas of corporate social responsibility before everyone else and that this vision ensured their continuity over the decades.
Rosy Blue People in the World
Rosy Blue operates on different levels and does not only do sales for example. They are inherently linked to the big mining companies such as BHP Billiton Diamonds, Rio Tinto Diamonds, Alrosa and the Diamond Trading Company. The mining companies do the mining for them and deliver the rough stones. The manufacturing department and their skills are often described as unparalleled in quality as well as in quantity. Rosy Blue really considers their most important sector the manufacturing sector.
Rosy Blue aspires to be tremendously efficient and produce a vast scale of stones so that they are always able to deliver to their clients who buy their jewelry. The company finds it really important to have state of the art factories that are very well equipped and allow the employees to be efficient and innovative in applying their technical skills. Rosy Blue is a key player with a global client base and wants to maintain their reputation of excellence. Their diamond range of production varies round diamonds from 0.005pts to 10cts to calibrated princess diamonds from 0.03pts; to 10 cts+ and a large variety of different fancy shapes. The worldwide offices allow Rosy Blue to place a big spectrum of rough and polished diamonds from small cuts to large stones. Interestingly enough the distribution centers of Rosy Blue diamond’s vary from the upscale shops on the Place Vendome in Paris to the Wal-Mart in Bentonville, Arkansas. Rosy Blue is proud to be in a privileged position because of the entire local polished sales they have been able to obtain a 5% market share in all trading centers. They also have a solid marketing and sales team that pushes to extend their global reach with co-branded and private label marketing programs together with retailers.
Rosy Blues’ expertise is what allows them to fulfill demands from customers efficiently and in time. With their team of global buyers and manufacturers they are able to obtain goods from the markets all over the world. Rosy Blue really benefits from the economies of scale with a 1, 8 billion dollar business, they can get really good value unlike most of the competition.
The jewelry manufacturing branch of Rosy Blue is called “Inter Gold”. It is one of India’s biggest jewelry companies and they provide jewelry to many businesses. The distribution and marketing network is spread all over the world with special competence offices in the USA, Europe, Japan and Asia. Each of these expertise competency offices also has a local service desk.
The Rose Blue Retail chain is called “Orra”. In India ORRA is the largest jewelry retail chain which sells exclusive and specialty diamonds. In India ORRA has 35 shops spread over 23 cities. After two years of launching the ORRA brand they already were in the top 5 of India’s finest jewelry brands. Rosy Blue’s remarkable efforts have been rewarded with the nomination of being the 2005 “Best Jewelry Retail Chain of the Year”.
Rosy Blue website: www. Rosyblue.com
The Kimberly Process website: www.kimberleyprocess.com
The Orra website: http://www.orra.co.in/
The Wikipedia website: http://wikipedia.org