Recruitment, Development and Retention for International Paper Employees

Nov 16, 2023 1:20 PM ET

Originally published in International Paper's 2022 Sustainability Report

Since our people are our greatest competitive advantage, it makes good business sense to attract and retain the most high-caliber talent, to provide that talent with competitive compensation and generous benefits, and to develop their skills with training, educational benefits and advancement opportunities.

Especially in the current tight labor market, marketplace competitiveness requires keeping the workforce pipeline filled with top performers, developing their skills for 21st century demands, and keeping them engaged and satisfied.

Attracting superior talent 

Emphasizing external recruiting in all facets of our business — manufacturing, supply chain, finance, etc. — we enhanced our internal processes and maximized our recruiting expertise to better attract and hire talent.

Throughout 2022, our revamped, mobilefriendly careers website and simple application process continued to drive increased application completion rates, resulting in more than 240,000 applicants, nearly doubling the number from 2021.

In 2022, our focus on recruiting enabled us to fill 10,000 hourly vacancies and 1,200 salaried vacancies — all in a highly competitive labor market that was more challenging than in previous years, even pre-pandemic.

Academic recruiting 

International Paper recruits co-op students, interns and recent graduates from more than 45 schools, with a focus on 11 core universities, as well as technical schools across the U.S.

In 2022, our college recruiting efforts resulted in 123 full-time hires, of which 73 were from our internships and co-op programs that provided 226 students. These students have applied their academic learnings to our businesses in engineering, global supply chain, information technology and other disciplines.

In 2022, the American Opportunity Index, which analyzes and scores corporate performance in worker access, mobility and wages, ranked International Paper 9th out of the top 250 U.S. public companies.

Developing employees 

International Paper’s people strengthen our success. We’re committed to helping every employee reach their full potential through a range of training, education and leadership development programs.

To help employees prepare for long-term success, we offer a series of capability-specific training initiatives, including:

  • Global Manufacturing Training Initiative
  • Finance Training Initiative
  • IT University HR University
  • Supply Chain University

Building leadership skills 

In 2022, with an eye on succession planning, we relaunched our global training programs to develop new leaders across the company. Our International Paper LEAD program equips new and experienced first- and second-level leaders with the skills to build an engaged team, develop employees’ skills and enable an inclusive culture.

Another program, our Leadership Institute, encompasses multi-day immersive experiential workshops that build management skills and leadership capacity through skills development, assessment, feedback and coaching. In 2022, we added to the Institute’s course offering with a multitude of new online courses.

In addition, our diversity-focused leadership development programs have proven to be highly effective. Among them: our EMEA Women’s Mentoring Program and SAIL (Shaping Allies and Inclusion Leaders).


The MyLearning Platform 
IP’s MyLearning platform offers employees on-demand online courses, from new-hire orientation and onboarding to essential skills that improve the way employees think and work together. Last year, 3,245 new e-courses were created and 3.4 million courses were completed by employees, including learning activities to develop technical skills and essential leadership and interpersonal skills.

Retaining talent 

Over the past few years, keeping talented employees has been a challenge for all companies. So we’ve doubled down on our retention efforts, providing not only competitive compensation and benefit offerings, but also continual engagement.

Our highly competitive compensation and benefits package is designed to attract, engage and retain a skilled workforce by rewarding superior performance. As part of our continual evaluation and enrichment of these programs, in 2022 we added benefits for part-time employees and we extended the company’s annual incentive plan available to entry-level employees.

A key component of retention is employee engagement. We believe that everyone — employees, managers and senior leaders — plays a role in creating a culture that values mutual respect, active listening, open communication and contributions from all. We engage employees by:

  • Enabling them to pursue purpose and meaning by understanding how their strengths fit into the company’s mission and vision
  • Sustaining a workplace culture that facilitates efficiency, teamwork and innovation
  • Cultivating a sense of pride and commitment through meaningful experiences that are safe, open and trusting and that contribute to personal and professional growth and development


The Stewardship Action Network
One way we engage employees is through our Stewardship Action Network (SAN), a voluntary group with a mission to leave the planet in better shape for future generations. SAN’s three objectives are:

Educate employees on stewardship concepts and the role they play

Connect like-minded employees to share ideas and experiences

Empower employees as advocates for Vision 2030

About International Paper

International Paper (NYSE: IP) is a global producer of planet-friendly packaging, pulp and other fiber-based products, and one of North America’s largest recyclers. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., we employ approximately 39,000 colleagues globally who are committed to creating what’s next. We serve customers worldwide, with manufacturing operations in North America, Latin America, North Africa and Europe. Net sales for 2022 were $21.2 billion. Additional information can be found by visiting

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