Sappi’s Creative Approach to Employee Recruitment, Retention and Pride

Sappi gets creative in its efforts to recruit employees, elevate brand awareness and educate the public on the sustainable products it creates
May 23, 2023 8:30 AM ET

One of the most significant business challenges we face is hiring the next generation of workers and retaining our top talent. The manufacturing industry in the United States now relies on a mature workforce from the baby boomer generation, and a significant number of employees will be retiring in the next few years. During 2022, the loss of these skilled workers coincided with one of the tightest US job markets in decades.

Compounding the labor shortage was the “Great Resignation” that followed the onset of the COVID pandemic, together with fierce competition for a smaller pool of candidates. All these factors have made it increasingly difficult for employers in our industry to find and hire good workers. Sappi is therefore being more creative and aggressive in our efforts to recruit employees, elevate our brand awareness, increase our visibility on social media, and educate the public on the premium and sustainable products we create.

To improve our recruiting efforts, we have added a number of new recruiting tools to our toolbox, including hiring a dedicated internal recruiter from Gen Z who can speak the language of that younger age group.

We have also increased our participation in job fairs and enhanced our presence on recruiting sites such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Indeed. We have increased the financial incentives for employees to better identify successful candidates for open positions. Sappi employees across the company are recruiting at high schools, trade schools, colleges and universities, using newly printed collateral targeted to both the hourly and salaried workforce. We have significantly expanded our presence on social media to showcase the Sappi culture and the benefits of working at Sappi, spotlighting employees and demonstrating the advantages of sustainability in our industry, including our ability to provide renewable, recyclable, woodfiber-based products that can replace plastics.

We have invested in radio and television ad campaigns, and we continue to advertise in the specials sections of daily papers that highlight the forest products industry and careers in engineering. To promote employee retention and pride, we have revamped our employee newsletter, which we will publish at least three times a year, distribute throughout our facilities and mail to every employee at their homes.

By far the most significant investment we have made is creating an extensive video campaign that highlights our people in various positions throughout the company. These videos showcase our world-class manufacturing and research-and-development facilities and demonstrate the impact of the sustainable and environmentally friendly work we do at Sappi. Our career-specific videos are used for recruiting in positions for research and development, forestry, sales and engineering.

This is a new world for recruiting. We are taking our message to potential employees wherever they are, whether it is online, in print, or on social media or TV and radio. As the labor market continues to shrink, these efforts will become even more vital.