At Domtar,people are our greatest asset, and we’re always looking for new talent that can help drive the business forward. With many of our long-term employees looking ahead to retirement, we have made recruiting the next generation of top-tier talent a priority.
“Many of our colleagues have moved up within our organization and held their positions for a very long time,” said Erin Boswell, a talent acquisition partner for Domtar corporate and the Pulp and Paper division. “But now a lot of our industry is planning to retire within the next five years, and it’s important that we expand our recruiting platforms to secure top talent to be their successors.”
To remain attractive to the next generation of employees, Domtar’s recruiting and outreach programs have been rebranded to better focus on growth, sustainability and innovation. Recruiting has also become a team effort, with a core recruiting platform shared by talent acquisition partners across the company and supported by human resources managers and engineers at our mills.
Pulp and Paper Recruiting
One of the primary ways Domtar finds employees is through college recruiting fairs. But Boswell said just showing up at a career fair isn’t enough to keep the talent pipeline full.
“Now we want to tell our story and educate students about the opportunities available at Domtar,” she said. “We’ve started rebranding ourselves and creating relationships with professors, institutions and academic organizations at core schools.”
These efforts continue the work individual mills have done to create greater visibility among engineering disciplines outside of the traditional paper science programs. These include programs in electrical, mechanical and chemical engineering; sustainability reliability; and process controls.
For example, in response to a growing need for employees with process controls experience, Domtar worked with Ohio’s Miami University to develop a curriculum and offer scholarships and internships to students who choose to minor in the subject.
“We see this as a way to grow our presence at the university and to influence other schools and industry organizations by showing them the value in this program,” said Erin Saueracker, a talent acquisition partner at Domtar. “While that may seem contrary to keeping talent within our organization, process controls is one area that needs more attention from the industry in order to grow.”
Outside of engineering recruiting, Domtar’s corporate information technology division is working with the supply chain management associate degree program at Greenville Technical College in Greenville, South Carolina, to create a partnership that will enable Domtar to hire graduates well-versed in SAP and to provide a growth platform for new talent.
Domtar also partnered with Clemson University to bring industry expertise to the school’s graduate-level accounting and finance curriculum, and we have strong ties with other universities where we offer scholarships, internships and cooperative education programs.
“We have a great relationship and a strong brand among the top pulp and paper schools, but now we need to connect with students in other disciplines to show them that a paper mill has sophisticated and challenging roles that use the skills they are developing,” Boswell said. “Getting in front of students, rebranding ourselves and our offering, and being able tell our story to a wider audience is the key to growing our network.”
Boswell also points to the work that individual mills are doing outside the corporate recruiting platform to promote the industry and Domtar to students and institutions. They partner with local high schools and colleges, providing scholarships, hosting mill tours and presenting case studies to college classes. Alumni from our internships and co-ops, as well as engineers and other mill representatives, also invest their time in the college recruiting platform.
“We’re being proactive instead of reactive,” she said. “We can’t rely on our name to attract people to our company. That might work for students with paper science degrees, but it won’t necessarily in other areas. We need to relate to all students that what they’re learning in school touches on all of the areas in our industry and our company.”
Personal Care Recruiting
The work that has been done on the pulp and paper side is part of a larger recruiting platform that also meets the resourcing needs of Personal Care. In 2016, the divisions began working together to cross-market job opportunities and potential candidates in order to fill positions across the company. This helps Domtar recruit at a higher volume, which in turn makes the company more attractive to a wider range of potential candidates.
Ashley Endy, a talent acquisition partner for Personal Care, is an active participant in the university platform, but she also networks and recruits online to develop relationships with industry organizations that might be a good source of talent for Domtar.
“It can be really challenging to find those higher-level employees and draw them away from where they’re currently working,” Endy said. “But having someone who has been on the front line and has worked with products like ours and seen how the quality can affect the patient is really key. They know what works and what doesn’t and what we at Domtar can do to improve our products.”
Endy spends a lot of time introducing candidates to Domtar and explaining that the Personal Care division makes products that help make life better, especially for those who can’t help themselves. She also explains that the division is young and growing, with a culture of excitement and innovation.
“I want them to understand the scope and the opportunity with Personal Care,” she said. “It’s more of a startup within this larger organization, and that is appealing to a lot of people. They won’t be pigeonholed into one position, but instead they can expand their role and wear multiple hats.”
At the same time, candidates want to know that Domtar is really investing in the growth of Personal Care and viewing it as a path forward for the company. Endy regularly uses the Domtar Annual Report, the Domtar Sustainability Report and the Domtar Newsroom to highlight the company’s thought leadership, innovation and direction.
But for Endy, recruiting efforts always come back to the simple fact that Domtar Personal Care products and employees make a difference for consumers.
“I try to explain not only what we do but the why behind it,” she said.