A Special Report is content that is edited and produced by the Special Reports unit within The Irish Times Content Studio. It is supported by advertisers who may contribute to the report, but who do not have editorial control.

US companies find new ways to attract and retain staff

Initiatives include training and development programmes, clear career progression incentives and volunteering projects

A workplace that fosters collaboration and creativity will attract graduates who are looking to align themselves with organisations who they feel their core values match with. Photograph: iStock

A workplace that fosters collaboration and creativity will attract graduates who are looking to align themselves with organisations who they feel their core values match with. Photograph: iStock

 

Ireland’s growing economy means US companies based here are increasingly looking at new ways to retain and attract talent. These include programmes for life-long learning, graduate programmes and internships, as well as connecting the right initiatives to the right people at the right time.

Modernising the work environment is a key component in attracting and retaining talent, Gerard McDonough, director of People and Organisation at PwC says.

A workplace that fosters collaboration and creativity will attract graduates looking to align themselves with organisations who they feel their core values match with.

“If there’s disjoint, there won’t be longevity. They might go in because they are attracted by compensation but that’s not going to keep them there,” McDonough says.

Software company Salesforce opened its first European office in Dublin in 2000, just a year after the company was founded in San Francisco.

Candidates want an employer who shares their values and philosophy, Terri Moloney, director of employee success at Salesforce says.

“Ohana means ‘family’ in Hawaiian and represents the idea that we are all responsible for each other. It’s a deep-seated support system that we nurture inside our company that extends to our customers, partners and communities.

“While we do have a competitive benefits package – with everything from wellness reimbursements to seven days of volunteer time off to support the local community – we consistently find that it is our unique culture that is at the core of what makes Salesforce a truly great place to work,” Moloney says.

Keeping employees engaged is key to long-term retention.

“Everyone on the team has what we call a V2MOM, which outlines their vision, values, methods, obstacles and measures as they plan their focus for the year. It’s done by every employee in the company, cascading down from senior management and is shared with everyone on the team to see. We find the V2MOM keeps all our employees aligned and accountable but, importantly, it gives each of us a clear vision of how we grow our company and our careers,” Moloney says.

A global research-based biopharmaceutical company founded in 2013, AbbVie has a significant footprint in Ireland, employing more than 700 people at five manufacturing and commercial sites in Cork, Dublin and Sligo.

Future opportunities

Focusing not only on current roles but on preparing for future opportunities, in order to retain staff is vital, Caroline McClafferty, Abbvie’s HR director says.

“We support a wide range of training and development programmes to help our employees build the skills they need to master their current role, while preparing them for changing demands and possible future career advancement opportunities,” she says.

She says that while Ireland has a highly developed talent base, it is important to help cultivate and foster the future talent pipeline too.

“AbbVie supports a number of science education programmes for children and students of all ages, and the company aims to leverage its science and business expertise to positively influence local communities. Many of these initiatives, which are delivered by AbbVie employees, aim to encourage greater student awareness of the rewarding career opportunities that can be unlocked by studying STEM subjects,” she says.

Giving back to the community is something that is really valued by the Salesforce team.

“Our 1-1-1 model of integrated philanthropy contributes 1 per cent of Salesforce’s time, technology and resources back into Irish communities. Last year, our employees in Ireland donated more than 35,000 hours in volunteer time. Employees can take up to seven days volunteering time off per year. This volunteering time can include anything from coaching a local soccer team, to pro bono support for the charities using Salesforce technology or supporting grantees such as Citywise, St Peter’s School in Bray and St Dominic’s College in Ballyfermot,” Moloney says.

AbbVie in Ireland is also incentivising career progression within the organisation, with novel initiatives such as its Intern of the Year award and the Operations Development and Technical Development programmes, which are two-year global career support initiatives focused on identifying high-potential talent and providing them with a broad base of skills early in their AbbVie careers.

“AbbVie works closely with our university partners on educational collaborations to provide career pathway and relevant experience for PhD students, including the Marie Curie International Training Network,” McClafferty says.