Living Well

Talent Acquisition & Development

Attracting talent through Southwire’s website, sustainability program, competitive benefits and general outreach; providing employees with opportunities to advance their skills, experience and career through training, personal development programs and plans, coaching and more

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Our Approach

As Baby Boomers leave the workforce, experts estimate that the United States may soon have a personnel deficit of 20 million. Both Generation X and Millennials will need to take leadership positions—Millennials at a younger age than previous generations of leaders. In the past, leaders spent time learning on the job; in the future, employees will need to learn more quickly before taking leadership roles. For Southwire to attract and retain employees and develop leaders to continue our prominent role in the market, we must leverage technology, give employees experiences they would not receive elsewhere and help employees connect to our culture. We plan to enhance our talent acquisition management and development through our new Human Capital Management partnership with SAP SuccessFactors starting in July 2016.

Recruiting

We developed our current recruiting process in 2014 and completed the implementation throughout all Southwire locations in 2015. This new process seeks to strengthen our talent acquisition and track the status of recruits through weekly reporting. The formal programs we established provide a consistent recruiting platform throughout Southwire. We now process professional openings in a consistent, structured manner, supported by a recruiting software and applicant tracking system that tracks applications and key metrics such as:

  • Time to hire
  • Candidate diversity
  • Total cost of recruitment for open positions
  • External offers accepted versus rejected
  • The number of positions filled internally versus externally

We also track turnover rates and conduct exit interviews to determine the reasons employees leave and the consequent cost of employee turnover for the organization.

Leveraging technology for professional recruiting became a key objective in 2015. In the fourth quarter, activities to implement and launch a new recruiting software and applicant tracking system were set for launch in the first quarter of 2016. Social media recruitment and branding campaigns will become recruiting platforms for attracting candidates to Southwire.

Southwire continued to enhance our college recruiting and college relations programs in 2015. Southwire Professional Staffing joined the Georgia Association of College and Employers (GACE) as a participating member. Additionally, college-recruiting activities continued at Georgia Tech, Southern Poly, North Carolina A&T, Auburn and Purdue, as well as the University of West Georgia, Mercer University, Mississippi State, University of Georgia, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Slippery Rock University. In 2015, Southwire established relationships with Clemson University, Georgia State, University of Alabama and the University of Mississippi.

Southwire enhanced and expanded the Engineering Co-op program to include the Electrical Division and the Corporate Logistics Group. The Co-op program has expanded from six co-op students to 25 students. Our Corporate Accounting and Finance department created a Finance Rotational Program to recruit eight entry-level new hire students graduating in May 2016.

Partnerships previously developed with Georgia Tech’s Office of Minority Educational Development (OMED), Auburn University’s 100 Women Strong, North Carolina A&T’s Engineering School and the University of West Georgia (where we sponsor the Southwire Sustainable Business Honors Program) continue to strengthen Southwire’s branding and community relations in a mutually beneficial manner. For example, some Southwire Sustainable Business Honors Program students intern at Southwire, providing us with an emerging talent pipeline.

Our other educational recruitment programs include the Southwire Engineering Academy and the 12 for Life® program. Southwire actively works with students in these programs to increase their familiarity with a variety of working environments, while affording Southwire opportunities to train and develop a potential source of future leaders and technical support ready for immediate professional assignments with limited on-the-job training after graduation. To learn more about these two programs, visit our Giving Back section.

Performance Acceleration

External research indicates that engaging in conversation and developing corrective actions is more effective than ratings systems. In 2014, rather than adopting a ratings system, we introduced Performance Acceleration, a framework for informal and formal feedback between managers and employees. In 2015, Southwire built on this framework by launching Performance Acceleration for all salaried employees; we trained 325 leaders on this process. Once we train 100 percent of salaried personnel managers, we will also train newly promoted leaders and new hires.

The Coaching Guide, rolled out in 2014, acts as a catalyst to the Performance Acceleration process by helping employees better understand their personal strengths and gaps to close. The process focuses on the Essences of Southwire—leadership skills and attributes unique to the Southwire culture—and articulates the specific implications these leadership traits have for fostering our culture and driving high performance. We also developed a performance guide for managers that illuminates how certain behaviors, competencies, and creating a “line of sight” for employees to connect to Southwire’s vision and strategy contributes to our company’s success. As part of the roll out, Southwire completed training across the organization.

Executive Leadership Assessments

In 2014, we administered executive leadership assessments that included personalized growth plans to one-third of the executive leadership team. While we had plans to assess an additional third in 2015, we put this program on hold while we launched our Performance Acceleration program. In 2016, we will continue our executive leadership assessments.

Southwire Leadership Academy

We established a leadership academy to augment and develop leadership traits, enhance succession management planning and groom individuals through a production management approach. Southwire aspires to graduate 150 senior leaders by the end of 2018. We identified 22 high-potential leaders to attend in 2015, and 25 more will participate in the Leadership Academy in 2016.

Emotional Intelligence

The body of work surrounding emotional intelligence suggests that it accounts for approximately two-thirds of a person’s success in a leadership role. To assess and build the emotional intelligence of Southwire’s future leaders, RocheMartin’s Emotional Capital Assessment was introduced to the Leadership Academy. In order to build these key competencies, the weeklong academy includes group exercises to build awareness and acceptance by the participants. After the event, one-on-one coaching is provided for participants to help them learn their emotional intelligence strengths and opportunities for development as they grow in their leadership competencies.

Alumni Experience

Taking place approximately six months after the week-long Southwire Leadership Academy, the Alumni Experience is designed to immerse future leaders of Southwire in a “Day in the Life of the CEO,” which uses real examples of a CEO’s life and the challenges of running a business with competing and sometimes conflicting priorities. The attendees gain an understanding of what it means to lead an organization with the size and complexity of Southwire. The program gives particular focus to Southwire’s distinguishing characteristics as an organization: driving for results, creating a caring culture, and investing in the communities in which it operates. The design of the Alumni Experience encapsulates building these traits as fundamental to the success of the organization’s leadership.

Training

Southwire offers a series of professional skills development courses through our web-based learning management system. In 2015, the system underwent major revisions that enable us to better track, trend and analyze utilization.

To train hourly employees for new opportunities, we analyzed various positions, created a list of associated competencies required and matched employees based on their skill set and role.

Our Performance

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Talent Management

To maximize our dynamic talent management processes, we set three central long-term goals:

Goal 2014 Baseline 2015 Performance
Graduating 200 supervisors from Leading in an OPS Culture by year-end 2018 50 graduates 0 graduates
Graduating 200 managers from Southwire Management Training by year-end 2018 0 graduates 0 graduates
Graduating 150 senior leaders from Southwire Leadership Academy by year-end 2018 48 graduates 70 graduates
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In 2015, 21 percent of Southwire’s salaried managers participated in the voluntary performance acceleration program, falling short of our goal of 25 percent.