The pulp and paper industry is experiencing strong growth worldwide over the years. However, its positive growth is not followed by a growing manpower. In fact, the industry is still facing the same major issue for more than a decade: an ageing and declining workforce.
In the UK, 33% of its paper and pulp industry workforce has been lost since 1994 due to consolidation, leaving the remaining force to age at a faster rate than other manufacturing sectors. In addition, since 2000 to 2009, experienced workforce with age over 55 has increased with 50% of them set to retire in the next seven years. On the other hand, the number of those under 44 keeps declining.
A decade later, the issue is still persisting. Pulp & Paper Canada conducted a survey in 2019 on retention, reskilling, and recruitment for the Canadian pulp and paper industry to see what has transformed in the human resources of the industry, especially that it has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Turns out, retiring workforce and consequent loss of knowledge remain to be a serious concern. In mill management, 56% respondents were highly troubled by this, with a respondent stating that there were many voluntary resignations and early retirements between 2019 and 2021.
From those data, it could be seen that the pulp and paper industry is in dire need of high-performing talents to fill in the gaps. Retaining an exceptional workforce requires total commitment from the company to invest in caring for and nurturing them, through a supportive environment and talent management.
Talent Management: Definition, Significance, and Relation to Leadership
Talent management supports and leverages people in a company. It attracts, recruits, develops, motivates, and retains the most suitable, high-performing talents there are in the market. Companies might have different strategies on how it is conducted, as some might include all their employees, while others limit it to the influential positions within the company. No matter how, it remains a fact that developing talents is beneficial for the company and its workforce.
Talent management is one of the key functions of Human Resources (HR) of a company, and the process is aimed to drive performance through integrated people management practices. When it is capitalized on its full potential and done right, the benefits of talent management, which are the development of effective teams and sustainable competitive advantage, could be very much useful.
There are several systems that could be included when a company approaches talent management as its business strategy to recruit and retain talented employees:
Recruitment planning meeting
Job description development
Job post writing and recruiting location placement for the posting
Application materials review
Phone or online screening interview
In-house interviews that can involve multiple meetings with many of your current employees
Credential review and background checking
Making the job offer to the selected person
Agreeing on the amount of the offer
Employee starting day and onboarding process
New employee welcome information and introductions
Goal setting and feedback
Coaching and relationship building by the manager
Formal feedback systems such as performance management or an appraisal process
Ongoing employee development
Employment termination by choice of the employee or cause by the employer
These work systems could maintain employees’ happiness and engagement, which are crucial for the success of a business. After all, a company or organization with an empowered and engaged workforce will better compete in the market than the one with a disengaged workforce.
Nonetheless, not every method is liked by or suitable for everyone. For example, according to Pulp & Paper Canada’s 2019 survey, 61% respondents prefer coaching and shadowing on the job, 48% respondents prefer peer-to-peer training, and 31% respondents prefer to attend courses with third-party training companies. That is why the role of a leader is important. HR might be the one facilitating talent management, but it comes to the leader, or in this case the manager, to make sure that its work systems work satisfactorily for all parties and employees are directly benefited from them.
To conclude, many business sectors have been struggling with people management, and it is especially true for the pulp and paper industry. High turnover rate and ageing workforce cost most companies massively on their finances and reputation. Therefore, they need to set their priority straight to achieve better employee engagement and performance if they want to keep competing in the global market.
Understanding talents within the company or organization is the best way to identify the vulnerability, the strength of one’s own workforce, and what needs to be improved. It is through talent management and being actively engaged in it might save a company from losing the best talents they could have had.
BMJ’s Talent Management Program
A successful business has each of its departments operated under and with the necessary amount of loyal, high-performing talents.
At BMJ, we organize a Talent Management Program that involves our managers and board of directors. This essential program is continual, and the candidates range from talented new employees to existing employees who have potential. They are assessed and selected based on the quality and consistent good performance. Then, they will undergo a test by the HR team. During the program, the selected participants are going to be developed through a series of programs: training for knowledge, coaching for mentoring and knowledge transfer, and projects, dominating the program, for field exercise.
The purpose of our Talent Management Program, along with the Individual Development Program held by departments in the company, is to produce the best talents and prepare them to achieve a higher position. Further supported with regular employee training, we ensure that our employees are ready to give their all with both new and existing skills.
The decline of talents is no doubt an issue that many pulp and paper companies have gone through. Nonetheless, with our talent management program, BMJ has successfully retained employees and improved them to be the best they can be. We believe in our talents and are proud of them.