News Article

Talent Identification & Recruitment Strategies

Tue, 12/01/2015 - 17:57

Moderator Gerardo Kanahuati, Managing Director of Hays Mexico, opened the debate by asking the panelists what they, as HR leaders, are doing to identify the necessary talent and to attract talented professionals into their companies by implementing best practices and challenges in the recruitment process.

Silvia Mendieta, Director of Human Resources Operations at Audi Mexico, said that the OEM’s primary approach to recruitment is to make HR staff understand the installed processes. However, the radical difference in Audi’s recruitment operations is to include recruitment staff that is well versed in engineering, since the company mainly recruits engineers.

Adrian Monter, Director of Human Resources at Grupo Mexico’s Instructive Division, stated that the main challenge for mining companies is the scarcity of specialized talent. A situation that has impacted Grupo Mexico’s operation is that training is provided in specific areas as new technology is acquired, but other companies doing the same create a niche segment for candidates. The company’s best practices include training in-house talent by recruiting graduates and giving them the opportunity for international experience, which will transform the employees into loyal assets. Montier believes that “The key element is to make Mexican talent stay in Mexican companies”.

Patricio Gil, CEO of Blackhawk de Mexico and Vice President of the American Foundry Society, mentioned that the company was founded in a time of turmoil due to a talent crisis. At the time, the average worker was 29 years old and there were only three specialized engineers. In order to turn the situation around, the company sought retired engineers and paired them with young talent. “This strategy delivered a 30% compound growth for the company,” he claims. Currently, Blackhawk includes three talent groups. The first includes those individuals with qualifications in metallurgy, the second is focused on people familiar with the automotive industry, and finally the administrative staff. Each segment has different strategies but all focus on developing local talent.

Kanahuati then asked the panelists to discuss the skills that are lacking in the current talent. Mendieta pointed out that there are two gaps: supply chain and technical development. They tackled the second issue by implementing the German model of dual education two years ago. The OEM expects to start its operations in Puebla in May 2016, having recruited the first generation of 87 graduates from mechatronics engineering. “We expect to generate 100 graduates per year through this program and we are betting on the development of local talent,” she stated.

Monter added that for ten years, Mexico did not produce enough engineers so now there are no optimal candidates to assume managerial positions. “Some leaders are close to retirement and they have not been able to pass on their knowledge,” he laments. “The succession plan we are developing now is a challenge because we need trained and experienced talent, and the generational gap limits the empowerment of younger talent. However, some of the more experienced people are now working as advisors to guide them through the process of greater responsibilities.”

For Blackhawk’s strategy the main issue was motivation, but they faced the problem not with competitive wages but by improving the employees’ quality of life. Therefore, the company implemented clear working hours and respected them, allowing employees to engage in other activities. Another fruitful tactic was restructure and optimize the company. “We removed supervision levels, simplified the KPIs, and shortened the meetings”. Blackhawk was subsequently named foundry of the year.

Kanahauati moved to another question, in an attempt to identify the most scarce jobs and talents. Mendieta pointed out that, for Audi, the main problem was the location of the plant since it is situated 100 km away from the main city. Moreover, the compensation package was equal to that offered by competitors, even though the brand is perceived as premium. “We had to think of innovative ideas to retain our talent,” she stated.

Gil mentioned that the main problem for the foundry is not the lack of qualified technicians or engineers, but their level of English. “It is a pity because there are several training programs in the US but our workers cannot participate because they do not speak the language,” he lamented. Gil also suggested that school programs should focus on teaching how to learn, instead of just teaching specific topics.

Finally, the moderator asked how the digital revolution and digital tools have changed the way recruitment works. Mendieta mentioned that HQ wanted to move toward a fully digital approach, but due to a need to adapt to the local environment, some computers were installed in the region to allow candidates to apply for the vacancies. For Grupo Mexico, tools such as LinkedIn are relevant but the most effective tool for talent acquisition is the image the company portrays.