Magazine article HRMagazine

On the Talent War's Front Lines

Magazine article HRMagazine

On the Talent War's Front Lines

Article excerpt

If anyone understands the challenges of hiring and retaining highly skilled employees, it is Keith Peden, senior vice president of human resources and security for Raytheon Co. in Waltham, Mass. Approximately 40,000 employees of Raytheon's 68,000- member workforce are engineers, so Peden and his staff focus heavily on recruiting, hiring and retaining the most coveted of all workers-those with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. Peden recently spoke to HR Magazine about the chal- lenges his company faces in recruiting the best and brightest and then main- taining a corporate culture that keeps highly-sought-after STEM employees on the job.

What are the top challenges that you face in your job today?

Our toughest challenges-and I think these are probably the top challenges of any employer-are hiring, keeping and developing talent. The global market- place doesn't stand still or wait for you to catch up. You have to keep pace, and I truly believe that the differential of what makes an organiza- tion a world-class company or an also- ran is its people. This is why Raytheon invests nearly $200 million each year in its talent development initiatives.

What is HR's role in ensuring that Ray- theon maintains a corporate culture that supports its talent development efforts?

First of all, we are committed to the concept that a com- pany reinvents itself through its talent. The innovative skills of our people is what makes the difference and how we as an organization adapt and survive in today's rapidly chang- ing business environment. So, in HR, we really focus on what we can do to develop our talent pool. We do this in a pragmatic way by carefully examin- ing the competencies and then provid- ing guidance on what employees need to build their careers.

How would you describe the corporate culture at Raytheon?

Our corporate culture is one of innovation and inclusion. Inclusion has a slightly different context here than the typical concept of diversity and inclu- sion that most HR people are famil- iar with. In this case, inclusion means getting every engineer on our project teams focused on collaboration. It's all about thought processes and mak- ing sure everyone's ideas and input are sought and valued.

Is this collaborative culture a strong selling point when recruiting?

Absolutely. If, as an organization, we aren't providing an atmosphere that encourages collaboration and inno- vation, or providing the technology needed to support that culture, then the company will have a throwback atmosphere that won't attract the best and brightest candidates. …

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