WHY MANAGING IT MATTERS

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Experts estimate that the United States may soon have a personnel deficit of 20 million. With facilities in small towns across the United States and internationally, Southwire must attract employees both to the manufacturing field and to all of Southwire’s locations while competing for talent with other industries that may be perceived as more innovative and appealing.


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Educational Partnerships

Southwire aims to advance and improve educational opportunities and outcomes by working with various state and local educational institutions to enhance the pool of talented candidates for manufacturing and business positions.

Southwire Engineering Academy

Southwire aspires to increase the number of students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The Southwire Engineering Academy (SWEA), a partnership between Southwire and Carrollton High School, focuses on STEM subjects and provides hands-on experience for students to work with our teams on value-added problem-solving projects, data analysis, value stream mapping and more. In 2017, 17 Southwire mentors and coaches provided 5,189 training hours to students in this program. We plan to expand the SWEA program to other regional Southwire locations in North America by the end of 2020.

Participants (cumulative total)
Graduates (cumulative total)

Southwire Center for Manufacturing Excellence and Skilled for Life

The Southwire Center for Manufacturing Excellence at West Georgia Technical College imparts manufacturing and maintenance skills to students and serves as the inspiration for Southwire’s Skilled for Life program in our Machinery Services Group (MSG). Through the Skilled for Life program, students work for MSG and gain invaluable industry experience. The Southwire Center for Manufacturing Excellence also helps some participants attain their GED to work for our company.

Southwire Center for Manufacturing Excellence Participants
Maintenance Certifications
Skilled for Life Participants


Southwire Sustainable Business Honors Program

The Southwire Sustainable Business Honors Program, a partnership with the Richards College of Business at the University of West Georgia, seeks to boost the number of candidates with sustainability backgrounds for high-level executive positions. The academic portion of the program combines business and sustainability learning. In just four years, participants can obtain bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration, along with a certificate of sustainability. Additionally, to provide hands-on experience, Southwire pairs participants with product managers and division presidents.

Southwire’s contribution includes up to 40 percent of the Southwire program management’s time (during the heart of the semester) and approximately $1.1 million to the partnership. Two students, from the first cohort of three students, completed the program—one in 2016 and the second in 2017. The second cohort will graduate three students in 2018.

12 for Life®

Another educational recruitment program is Southwire’s 12 for Life® program, which provides kids at risk of dropping out of high school with jobs inside a modified Southwire manufacturing environment while supporting them in earning their diploma. The program increases students’ familiarity with a work environment while affording Southwire opportunities to train and develop potential employees with limited on-the-job training after graduation. To learn more about this program, visit our Giving Back page.

Total Rewards

To attract and retain talent, we provide a competitive offering of employee benefits. Southwire Total Rewards is a comprehensive offering that connects actions to benefits for employees. For example, rather than simply offering medical benefits, Southwire encourages “Focusing on my Health.” Instead of paying for time off, Southwire promotes “Living my Life.” This approach focuses on the “Employee Experience” for each Total Reward category.

In 2017, Southwire continued our journey toward “ONE Southwire” for Total Rewards. This included adding paid parental leave, vacation buy-up for salaried employees and short-term disability benefit expansion for hourly employees. Southwire offers:

  • Up to four weeks’ vacation (calendar year);
  • Vacation buy-up plan allows salaried employees to buy up to five days of additional vacation;
  • 11 total holidays comprised of set and floating holidays;
  • Bereavement Leave (maximum of four days in some cases);
  • 26 weeks of short-term disability benefits (extended from 12 weeks) for hourly employees;
  • Three days of paid parental leave for mothers and fathers for the birth or adoption of a child (benefit is expanding to two weeks in 2018); and
  • Flexible work schedule policy for maternity transition (salaried employees).

Talent Acquisition & Retention

Southwire’s current recruiting process seeks to strengthen our talent acquisition and track the status of recruits through weekly reporting. We process professional openings in a consistent, structured manner, supported by a recruiting and applicant tracking system that follows applications and key metrics such as:

  • Time to hire;
  • Candidate diversity;
  • Total cost of recruitment for open positions;
  • External offers accepted versus rejected; and
  • 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.

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    2016 2017
New Employee Hires Total 1,570 1,101
Rate 23.0% 15.6%
Employee Turnover Total 950 1,044
Rate 13.9% 14.8%
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In 2017, our Talent Acquisition team focused on candidate experience, recruiting processes and technology standardization across the organization. For production recruitment, we shifted our hiring practices from quarterly recruitment cycles to using a requisition-based recruiting and pipeline building approach. This change in practice allowed us to put the applicant experience first and focus on targeting the right candidates based on company needs.

Technology Platforms

By leveraging technology solutions that maximize our recruiting and onboarding initiatives, we were able to make data-driven talent decisions and build efficiencies into our recruiting processes. Our Talent Acquisition platforms also provided us with the ability to extend our reach through targeted social media campaigns, job board advertising and branded building outreach campaigns.

Consumer-Centric Experience

Southwire also shifted our recruiting approach to provide a personalized consumer-centric experience. These experiences placed special focus on branded touch points from applicant to offer and real-time updates on candidate status. At many facilities, we hosted creative hiring events and showcases meant to build the Southwire brand and engage potential future hires. Robust and branded New Employee Onboarding experiences also evolved to immerse new employees into the Southwire culture on day one.

Inclusive Recruiting

With an ever-changing socioeconomic demographic, Southwire made inclusive recruiting initiatives a priority. Training opportunities for our recruiters focused on bias screening and prevention, manager relationship building tools, negotiation techniques and other useful interviewing techniques. Through strategic partnerships, we extended our talent reach and recruitment marketing efforts to capture more applicants who are non-traditional students, women, minorities, military veterans and those who have alternate abilities.

College Recruiting

Southwire continued to grow our college recruiting and college relations programs, extending our partnerships with historically black colleges and universities, women’s colleges and technical colleges. We hosted our inaugural one-day Southwire University Experience in which 80 STEM and business students participated. Our Talent Acquisition team continued its participation in the Georgia Association of College and Employers (GACE). Additionally, college-recruiting activities continued at Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Auburn University, Purdue University, the University of West Georgia, Mercer University, Mississippi State University, the University of Georgia, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Clemson University, Georgia State University, the University of Alabama and the University of Mississippi.

Partnerships with Georgia Tech’s Office of Minority Educational Development (OMED), Auburn University’s 100 Women Strong 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.

Student Opportunities

Southwire enhanced and continued to grow the Engineering Co-op program, the internship program and part time student program. Our Corporate Accounting and Finance department also continued the Finance Rotational Program to recruit entry-level graduating students. Lastly, our Human Resources department expanded its rotational program to build its pool of potential Human Resources Managers.