Arconic: Identifying the best candidates and validating hiring decisions
The customer support is amazing. I think that’s why we’ve stayed with Thomas for so long, because there is always somebody who will take time and really work with us on the profiles.
Several members of Arconic’s workforce have longstanding tenures with the company, but with the arrival of new hires into the business, there was a need to proactively integrate and develop the team. Introducing more diversity into the business initially increased conflict levels within the team during the ‘storming’ phase of its formation. Angela explains, “It is about bias as well. We have people who have been in roles for forty years, and when someone new tries to fit into their role, integrating them can be challenging. Comparing the role requirements with the individual’s behavioural profile helps to validate that new hires are right for the role.”
Initially, Arconic used Thomas assessments within its recruitment process to identify the best candidates and validate hiring decisions. Arconic uses Thomas’ Behaviour assessment when hiring for senior management roles, and increasingly for supervisory and team leadership roles. Angela continues, “The more that we used Thomas for that, we started to move into a development focus. That’s where I think Thomas comes into its own. I can benchmark people, and find the roles that are most suitable for them. This enables us to have structured career conversations around their reports.” Angela says that individuals usually recognise themselves in their profiles, but that they can then “reflect on the statements in their reports, which they can use as a platform to think about their options, where they want to go and where their strengths are best used. We are now much more focussed on the succession planning and career development processes”, Angela concludes.
Arconic also uses Thomas assessments to build high performing teams, proactively addressing issues that could impede team functioning and fostering team integration through teambuilding sessions. Angela explains that during teambuilding sessions, participants “use the Teams tool and talk about the group’s strengths and learning opportunities. We also look at the underlying traits that can affect different team members’ perceptions of each other, but which they might not understand. This helps our people understand themselves in the context of other people’s profiles. They can then see why an individual might be hesitant to join in or focused on accuracy for example. This understanding helps the team start to make accommodations for each other and helps us build sound teams.” All participants in Arconic’s teambuilding sessions are able to review their Thomas Behaviour profile in light of those of their teammates, enhancing both self-awareness and trust.
Angela enthuses, “The Thomas profiles have been crucial in our strategy of ensuring that people have a career pathway that is tailored to their needs and their strengths.” The Thomas assessments can even be, in Angela’s words, “a retention tool” in that they are “an incentive to stay because they enable us to have a conversation about where an individual fits within the organisation.” Angela has managed to retain several employees who have been retained in this way. "We have managed to retain an individual in one department who was not happy there, and so we asked her to take a Thomas assessment and transferred her to another part of the business where she is now much happier. So we have managed to retain people as a result of using the tools.”
Arconic are also able to overcome resourcing challenges through the use of Thomas tools. Where the company has identified roles in which people are not flourishing professionally, or in cases of employee turnover, Angela employs Thomas assessments to help her select the right candidates. In the process, she says, “it often becomes apparent that the job design needs adjustment, and we can then review how the job is resourced. Ultimately, no one can be superman, with strengths in every area. This helps us to identify where we are asking the impossible in a role. We can review whether we really need someone who is as forceful and self-starting as they are steady and compliance oriented. It drives discussions around job definition, which I think can be really helpful.” Ultimately, Angela says, “When we redesign roles using the Thomas tools, we get the right fit. That’s why I like using Thomas.”
Effective conflict resolution is essential for any business. At Arconic, Angela says that the impact of Thomas assessments in this area has been “powerful”. She explains, “With mediation you can get the situation resolved, but you don’t really get to a point where both parties understand why they are fundamentally approaching things in a different way. Instead, conversations typically focus on the issue at stake and how we are going to approach that going forward. When I have used Thomas for conflict resolution, it has been really helpful, because when you create a compatibility report, you can often see immediately that the profiles are incompatible in some areas. Both parties can look at that data and understand each other’s perspectives and motivators." With collaboration central to the enterprising new engineering solutions Arconic has in its sights, the business is in a strong position to achieve its mission of “advancing the world, together”.
Angela concludes, “The customer support is amazing. I think that’s why we’ve stayed with Thomas for so long, because there is always somebody who will take time and really work with us on the profiles. The training is fabulous as well. Even through Covid, Thomas was still offering training. Overall, I can’t fault Thomas.”