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June/July 2009






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Diversity In Action

‘Internal placement’ is a principle at International Paper

The company looks for techies with good industry experience. Once in, an internal review process leads to upward mobility, with diversity a focus


'I come from the field, and I consider myself a poster child for internal career opportunities,” says Quinn Thompson, director of global talent acquisition for International Paper. Thompson is talking about the way the company looks to fill jobs and develop careers. “International Paper is very strong in internal placement,” she says. “We have very rigorous people-development processes and career-path planning tools, and an annual people review process.”

In the company’s many manufacturing facilities and paper mills, jobs from maintenance mechanic to ME are waiting to be filled. The mechanics need technical certifications, and most engineering jobs require a BSME or BSCE and five years of paper industry experience.

A good knowledge in areas ranging from laws and regulations to pressure-vessel inspection and fire codes is a plus, of course. There are also research opportunities, with folks posted at some larger facilities. Some IT people are needed in areas like business analysis and LAN support.

Thompson notes that all jobs are posted internally, and techies with both industry experience and internal experience at the company are naturally considered first.

Once in, a robust internal interview process can lead to upward mobility. “We look at our talent on a regular basis to see who is ready for new opportunities. We identify people who are ready for ‘stretch’ assignments in different businesses and at higher business levels.”

Of course the company also hires externally, but with fewer engineers coming out of colleges in the U.S., “We understand the need to look at talent globally,” Thompson says. “There is also talent coming from other industries into ours,” she notes.

International Paper tracks participation of women and minorities in its hiring programs. “Diversity is one of our focus areas,” Thompson emphasizes. “We post openings on a variety of niche boards, as well as the more general sites.”

External recruiting is outsourced for “a good majority of our entry level salaried positions,” Thompson explains. “For each job there is a strategic search agreement in place, with part of the agreement being where we look for talent. We focus on diversity wherever we can.”

IP has conducted several diversity forums for its women in manufacturing, Hispanics and African Americans. There’s also a mentoring board.

The diversity initiative is directed by a diversity council that includes senior leaders in the organization. A director of diversity and inclusion oversees supplier and employee diversity.

“We have a lot of opportunity to offer; and we are always looking for diverse talent,” Thompson concludes.

D/C





International Paper

www.internationalpaper.com

Headquarters: Memphis, TN
Employees: 61,700, two-thirds
in the U.S.
Revenues: $25 billion
Business: Paper and packaging; distribution in North America

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