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Growing Green Jobs

Podcast with SCE staffing, performance assessment, and talent planning expert, Paul Boyett

 
Paul Boyett, Director of Talent Management SCEPaul Boyett

Welcome to a special Talent Acquisition Channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio brought to you by Riviera Advisors. Joining Peter Clayton from Riviera Advisors' 10 Anniversary Celebration is Paul Boyett, Director of Talent Management in Corporate HR for Southern California Edison. Paul is responsible for providing governance, consultation, and guidance attracting and managing organizational talent.

Southern California Edison, an Edison International company, is one of the nation’s largest investor-owned utilities, serving nearly 14 million people in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California. The utility has been providing electric service in the region for more that 120 years.

"Southern California Edison is certainly going to grow the number of green jobs at our company in the future but more importantly, we know that there are going to be many more jobs created across the nation and we’re making investments with our community college system in our service territory to really help prepare the workforce for those opportunities. Whether it’s in the area of engineering around solar systems or systems and technology, or even things such as installing more energy efficient lighting or appliances to basic home repairs, we’re really expecting to see that there will be a growing number of opportunities in the workforce and also for our customers to save money and really help protect the environment." -Paul Boyett

Interview Trascript, Paul Boyett

Welcome to a special Talent Acquisition Channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio from Riviera Advisors 10th Anniversary Celebration in beautiful Long Beach, California.

Riviera Advisors is a premiere global human resources consulting firm that helps organizations worldwide improve their internal recruiting and staffing capabilities. Visit rivieraadvisors.com/podcast to access all of our interviews with HR and talent acquisition leaders recorded at the 10th anniversary celebration as well as many thought leaders in HR and recruiting, recorded at IACPR, SHRM, ERE and other high profile conferences and events.

Hi, this is Peter Clayton reporting. Joining us today is Paul Boyett, director of Talent Management in Corporate HR for Southern California Edison. Paul is responsible for providing governance, consultation and guidance, attracting and managing organizational talent. Southern California Edison is an Edison International Company, is one of the nation’s largest investor owned utilities, serving nearly 14 million people in a 50,000 square miles service area within central, coastal and southern California. The utility has been providing electric service in the region for more than 120 years.

Peter: Paul, thank you for joining us today on TotalPicture Radio.

Paul: Thank you for having me.

Peter: You have a really large workforce, obviously, both union and non-union. And you have, as you told me, an ageing workforce with a lot of skilled workers close to retirement. What steps are you taking to recruit and train the large number of skilled workers you’re going to need over the next 10 or 15 years?

Paul: For us at Southern California Edison really the most critical step in the process begins with planning and knowing about the jobs that we have today but also the jobs we’re really going to need in the future. At our company we talk a lot about our talent pipeline, which essentially means that we have a steady progression of people and jobs from the entry level to the senior level positions and sort of steadily moving upward into higher levels of contribution and where we have shortfalls or overages and in the area we either recruit into those roles or we direct people into training or other opportunities.

Peter: So far Edison has invested over $2 million in green jobs education initiative in California. Can you tell us a little bit about this and your focus on renewable energy resources?

Paul: The tagline in Southern California Edison’s advertising is “Leading the Way.” I think this is especially true in the area of renewable energy and renewable energy sources for things such as smart metering and our readiness program for the electrification of the transportation system, such as electric cars, the Leaf, the Volt and things that you’re hearing a lot about these days.

Southern California Edison is certainly going to grow the number of green jobs at our company in the future but more importantly, we know that there are going to be many more jobs created across the nation and we’re making investments with our community college system in our service territory to really help prepare the workforce for those opportunities. Whether it’s in the area of engineering around solar systems or systems and technology, or even things such as installing more energy efficient lighting or appliances to basic home repairs, we’re really expecting to see that there will be a growing number of opportunities in the workforce and also for our customers to save money and really help protect the environment.

Peter: That’s a really interesting perspective because as you say, there is all this new technology coming out and in addition to the smart grid and the smart meters as you mentioned and all these new electric cars; you’ve got to prepare for that because that’s coming, right?

Paul: Definitely. And we know, for example, today, we have sort of a traditional peak where people go home from work in the evening and they start using their appliances and what have you but we also know when people start plugging their cars into the grid, we really want to try to kind of have a peak in the evening off hours so that we don’t continue to add to that where we wind up having to build new generation to support it.

Peter: One of the articles I read about one of the electric cars is they have these meters set up so that they actually recharge between midnight and 4:00 a.m. or something like that when the peak usage is down.

Paul: Right, and the rates are low, so that really helps consumers and it will help us as well and keep us from having to build new generation to support that.

Peter: What are some of the talent management practices you’ve implemented that have been particularly successful over the last several years?

Paul: As I mentioned, really the heart of our talent management practices at SCE starts with planning. We’ve worked with several other industries and I’ve certainly worked in a number of different companies and I can say that really energy and utility businesses tend to be managing for the long term, and I do think we tend to take more time in the sort of the planning phase and have the tolerance for that than some of the industries that I’ve been in. And it’s really kind of core to part of the way that we run our business so it’s not a surprise that HR and talent management practices sort of follow in that path.

As for the talent management practices, we really spend a considerable amount of time and attention on hiring well for each role. SC is fortunate that once people come to the company they tend to stay with us for a good portion of their career, if not their entire career. So really rigorous attention on our hiring practices, testing and overall selection is really foundational not only to involve those of us in HR but more importantly those that are making the decision, the hiring managers, to make sure that we’re making the best hire every time.

We’re also really focused on our internal development and movement across the company and across the organization. It’s typical in our company, every so many years that people move into different areas within the company to really give them a broader perspective of the business but also to help them contribute their knowledge that they’ve learned in one area and sort of cross pollinate that in other areas.

The last area that I’ll mention is our emphasis on performance management and coaching. At SCE, we want our people to perform well in their current roles but we also want to grow capabilities in the future, so we spend a good amount of time each year on the effort of performance management and making sure that the feedback that managers are providing their employees are really helping them in their present roles in preparing for the future.

Peter: To that point, Paul, I would imagine you do a lot of employee assessments and employee evaluations, their attitudes towards the company as well and employee engagement has become really, really important especially as the economy starts recovering, right? And so I would guess you really spend a lot of time taking the pulse of your employees to make sure that they are engaged and that you are giving them the training and the skills that they need to move forward in their careers.

Paul: Absolutely. We have a number of mechanisms from employee opinion type surveys, all the way to sort of establishing rigorous performance management goals that are very measurable kind of things so that we can really help people to understand sort of what their levels of contribution are and then, of course, we want to reward that effort as well.

Peter: Everyone knows the press loves Google, they love Apple, they love Facebook and Twitter and lots of other great California based tech companies but you need a lot of engineers too for your growth. So how do you get on a college grad’s radar screen and make what you are doing as interesting to those college grads as what Google or Apple is doing?

Paul: We definitely engineers of all sorts, whether it’s electrical, mechanical, civil, nuclear or software engineers and they’re really all in demand specialties. As you mentioned, we have a lot of competition for that talent. SCE has a really robust college internship program for summer and year-round interns and particularly in the engineering disciplines, I think we’re highly competitive and very attractive. But we also have a number of other disciplines such as finance, communications and technology that we have and the economy has been softening over the last couple of years and Southern California Edison has continued along with a number of other utilities to really sort of spotlight our career opportunities in the future. We know that over the last couple of years we’ve sort of gotten a second look by a lot of those schools and a lot of those students because some of the slowdown in hiring in some of the other more traditional firms that you mentioned that are great talent competitors for us.

Our intern program has really provided great opportunity for the interns to really gain valuable experience and really check out Southern California as a potential employee. Our managers have a great opportunity as well to really get to know the interns, to evaluate sort of their program and their ability to contribute and as well as the overall fit to our company. Our internship program is really a vital part of our overall talent management program and it really serves as a key feeder pool for the key positions in our company.

Peter: We’re here at Riviera Advisors’ 10th anniversary celebration. You’ve worked with these folks; what advice can you share with us regarding working with a talent acquisition consulting firm such as Riviera Advisors?

Paul: I think it’s a great opportunity to really evaluate how we’re doing and sort of evaluating how we’re doing things today and how we can really improve services in the future that we deliver to our company and to potential candidates.

Having a third party come in and provide an objective view of what you’re doing sometimes maybe it can be a little bit sensitive but we all want to do well in our areas when we know that we have areas for improvement and it’s really vital to sort of ensure that we’re really attracting new talent into the organization. It’s a very competitive marketplace and we really need to make sure that we’ve got the pulse on what we’re doing and make sure that it’s sort of up to par with what our talent competitors are doing.

The other thing we have to focus on is really retaining our talents so that we’re not just sort of looking externally at the talent but we’re also really looking at the talent base that we presently have and that we’re also continuing every day to kind of earn that relationship with them as well about the opportunity that we have for the company.

I really see also consultants as a great way for me to continue to learn and grow my professional skills and knowledge. Consultants have a great opportunity to work with many different companies and many different environments and industries than I do. So it’s really great to hear other organizations and industries address some of the challenges that I face in my role as well.

Peter: That’s really interesting. What are the criteria you’ve used in the selection of a consulting firm to work on talent acquisition issues?

Paul: I think first and foremost, you really are looking for expertise but beyond that I think one of the most important thing that you have to really focus on is really a partner that you can trust and respect and that will have credibility within the organization that you’re a part of. Without those things most engagements don’t really get off the ground.

Peter: Paul, what’s unique about your industry when it comes to recruiting?

Paul: That’s an interesting question. Electricity is really kind of foundational to the economic growth of any particular area and sort of the lifestyle that we all want to have. Oftentimes people don’t see us as a broad based employer within our service territory that you mentioned, the 50,000 square miles. People oftentimes will see our crews and bucket trucks working on the lines or what have you and many of them don’t recognize that we have many other types of opportunities, such as legal, finance, planning, HR or technology that are also vital to our success. So we oftentimes find ourselves having to kind of introduce our self as an employer to people.

Peter: Back to this 10th anniversary theme, what changes have you seen in the past 10 years in talent acquisition?

Paul: I think the biggest thing is just the competitiveness of talent and sort of kind of the ubiquitous self service technology options that are available in all aspects of the hiring process, which really allows in many ways for a far better information flow and an improved sort of cycle time as far as reducing the time to fill critical jobs. We know that as the economy heats up over the next year or so, companies will be aggressively working to really fill their roles with the best talent available and so we’re certainly doing that. So I think technology, sort of the cycle time reduction are really key to the biggest changes that I think I’ve seen.

Peter: One last question for you, what is the talent management team you’re leading at SCE focusing on in 2011?

Paul: I think continuing to make sure that we have great hires in every position that we’re filling is always a key thing, but one of the other areas that is occupying a good bit of our time and attention right now is we’re implementing a new staffing system this year (Taleo), which will really help us improve our staffing processes for our candidates, our hiring managers, as well as for our staff. That’s definitely something and sort of ties back to the ubiquity of the technology and really improving the experience for every one involved.

Peter: Great. Paul, thank you very much for taking time to speak with us today on TotalPicture Radio. It’s been great meeting you here.

Paul: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.

We’ve been speaking with Paul Boyett, director of Talent Management in Corporate HR for Southern California Edison.

We’re always interested in hearing from our listeners, please share your thoughts and opinions on our podcast today. Visit the Talent Acquisition Channel on TotalPicture Radio. That’s totalpicture.com to add your voice to this discussion. And be sure to visit rivieraadvisors.com/podcast for a complete library of thought-provoking in-depth interviews on HR and recruiting, including the complete transcripts from these discussions from Riviera Advisors 10th anniversary celebration.

To learn more about Riviera Advisors real world experience and leading and managing corporate internal recruiting and staffing functions, please call toll free 800-635-9063 or visit rivieraadvisors.com. Riviera Advisors is a member of the Asher Talent Alliance, a global alliance of talent acquisition providers working together to benefit the unique and individual needs of their clients. To learn more about Asher, visit ashertalent.com.

This is Peter Clayton reporting. Thank you for tuning in to TotalPicture Radio, the voice of career and leadership acceleration.

Paul Boyett Biography

Paul Boyett is Director of Talent Management in Corporate Human Resources for Southern California Edison, where he is responsible for providing governance, consultation, and guidance with attracting and managing organizational talent. Talent Management’s primary goal is to hire, develop, and retain the most qualified employees to increase customer satisfaction, quality, productivity, and safety, while decreasing costs. At SCE, Talent Management provides expertise in the following areas: staffing, performance assessment and testing, and talent planning.

Prior to joining Southern California Edison in July 2007, Paul was the Senior Vice President of Leadership, Learning & Organizational Effectiveness Process Executive supporting Global Capital Markets and Global Technology, Services and Fulfillment for Bank of America, where he was responsible for talent management programs and processes, as well as business management functions.

Paul is an active member of several professional organizations: Human Resources Planning Society, Society for Human Resources Management, American Society of Training and Development, International Society for Performance Improvement, American Management Association, Academy of Management, OD Network, and the Human Capital Institute.

Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.

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