By Paula Larson, Chief Human Resources Officer, Newell Rubbermaid

Paula Larson

Paula Larson

As a company rapidly expanding into new global markets, it’s critical that Newell Rubbermaid attract and retain an employee base that closely reflects our consumers worldwide. To do this, we are creating an “I want to work here culture.” My experience shows that many HR functions and companies treat talent acquisition as a “procurement” exercise, rather than a “marketing” exercise that enables potential and current employees to make good career decisions, and adds value for our shareholders.

From a recruitment standpoint, we need to build a reputation for developing great talent and building teams for growth. That reputation depends on hiring the absolute best people from all corners of the earth. To leverage the true power of diversity, we need to ensure that diversity isn’t a “special exercise,” but rather, is embedded in all of our people practices. We want to hire people who want to work in a culture that is all about inclusion.

Attracting great talent also requires being visible and active in communities around the globe. Our best advertisement is our people. When we encourage them to serve where they live, we offer our neighbors a chance to see our team in action, and to see the caliber of employees who call Newell Rubbermaid home. At the same time, we’re building goodwill through our community service and philanthropy. Embedding diversity in community work means building relationships purposefully with a diverse set of partners in our communities worldwide—not as an afterthought. It takes more work to hire a diverse array of talent when companies haven’t grown those relationships.

From a retention standpoint, creating an “I want to work here culture” requires that we foster an environment where making brands matter is achieved, while also offering employees careers that matter. This begins with ensuring that the hiring process—external or internal—is what it needs to be. As we evolve our Strategic HR model, we are offering more HR value-added analysis, and looking at trend data by manager and talent acquisition staff, to be sure we’re focused on filling critical jobs (and integrating diversity expectations within this critical hiring/retention pool). We are evolving our hiring, growing, and rewarding centers of excellence to focus not only on high-potential employees (high performance, high potential) but also high-professional employees (high performance, low potential).

At the end of the day, recruitment and retention is all about creating a high-performance environment where anyone with the skills, and the ability to deliver value to Newell Rubbermaid and our shareholders, is welcome to contribute—regardless of non-job-relevant characteristics.

I’m passionate about my role as the “chief employee advocate,” in addition to managing the business financials, as part of a global executive leadership team. I believe focusing on employee engagement and delighting shareholders are not mutually exclusive objectives. In fact, the power of hiring and retaining a high-performance, global, diverse workforce is critical to achieving our Newell Rubbermaid Growth Game Plan.