Cara Chennault-Reid, Koch Industries corporate human resources director, shares her point-of-view
Submitted by Koch Industries
In today’s competitive business environment, everyone is trying to attract and retain the right employees. Businesses that implement a creative approach to hiring, offer stimulating jobs and foster a culture that promotes “contribution-motivated” employees have a distinct advantage.
A contribution-motivated employee proactively looks for ways to enhance their job and work environment and create value for themselves by creating value for others. They are naturally curious about how things work, are eager to learn and have a restless discontent for the current state. They also have a drive to grow and change, and they embody the belief that, in being willing to improve themselves, they can better the lives of everyone around them. We strive to nurture these employees by helping them develop and grow and increasingly believe in themselves and to fully become what they are capable of becoming.This means we must break down barriers and old paradigms of who we believe can be successful and what is required for a job – this requires taking risk and thinking differently about talent in the marketplace and our own workforce.
When it comes to filling jobs, businesses need to employ a creative mindset that removes barriers to finding great people. Unfortunately, some businesses create unintended barriers and some job candidates unwittingly obscure their own capabilities. To combat these challenges, hiring supervisors and human resources can help internal and external job candidates shift perspective and see themselves and their opportunities more clearly. Sometimes finding the right person for the job requires broadening and reinterpreting the idea of an “ideal” candidate, or even helping someone become or realize they are the right person for the job. This may, for instance, entail helping a former military service member with no college degree but years of cybersecurity experience realize that she is, in fact, qualified for a job protecting digital business assets. Or, for instance, helping a hiring supervisor realize that a college degree is not required for a role. We need to step away from former practices of anchoring on artificial filters of success and clearly identify the work and what capabilities are needed. This can open up so many possibilities with improved outcomes.
Of equal importance are employees who have potential but lack relevant skills. At Koch, we value both virtue and talents. Here, a supervisor’s primary responsibility is to help their direct reports self-actualize, discover and leverage their passions to create value and live a life of meaning. Part of that process is helping employees identify their own opportunities for new, valuable skills apart from formal degrees and overrated years of related experience — and providing them the environment and support to do something about it.
A perfect example of the rewards that stem from principles of human progress can be found in the career path of one employee whose career in Koch IT began as a representative on the IT help desk. There, by solving technological problems, he discovered a talent and passion for helping people. His natural aptitude and willingness to grow and contribute was more valuable than a college degree or formal training. Being a contribution-motivated employee drove him from an entry-level position to a leader of Koch IT. A company that approaches hiring more traditionally, or one where supervisors aren’t encouraged to nurture potential, would not have considered him. Not being “résumé qualified” may have dissuaded someone in a similar position from even beginning the application process. In both cases, a business would miss out on a very talented employee who adds tremendous value.
Empowering employees to realize their full potential so they have successful, fulfilling lives not only benefits each individual, but benefits the company. The company itself will be more successful by enabling a culture that seeks and encourages contribution-motivated employees, who are empowered to create long term value that is mutually beneficial for themselves, their coworkers, the company and society.
Creating value. Transforming life.
Our life’s work is to help people improve their lives by making and innovating products and services our customers value. Our focus is on delivering mutual benefit: Win-win outcomes that make life better for customers and employees alike.
Based in Wichita, Kansas, Koch Industries is one of the largest private companies in America. A diverse set of businesses and industries across the world, we work together to keep improving and exploring new ways to make life even better.
Koch companies are involved in manufacturing, agriculture, pulp and paper, packaging, consumer products, building materials, glass, automotive components, refining, renewable energy, chemicals and polymers, electronics, enterprise software, data analytics, medical products, engineered technology, project services, recycling, supply chain and logistics, global commodities trading, and investments. Since 2003, Koch companies have invested more than $150 billion in growth and improvements. With a presence in about 60 countries, Koch companies employ more than 120,000 people worldwide, with about half of those in the United States.
Stewardship in all we do.
Our approach to Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) is different than most. We believe in people and seek a system of equal rights and mutual benefit where individuals succeed by helping others succeed – and where people are empowered to improve their lives and their communities. It’s why we focus on empowering individuals to improve their lives and communities through bottom-up solutions rather than top-down imperatives.
Consuming fewer resources, minimizing waste and constantly innovating to improve our manufacturing processes and performance is essential to the way we do business – benefiting our customers, employees, investors, communities and planet.
Five environmental stewardship priorities.
With more than 300 manufacturing sites across the United States – and about 100 more globally – we’re one of America’s largest manufacturers. Every day, across those sites, we strive to create more value, using fewer resources than the day before. We do it through constant improvement and innovation – both in the products we make and how we make them, and by managing our resources in a way that benefits our customers, employees, partners, community members and society.
Philanthropy. Health and safety. Diversity and inclusion. Meaningful, rewarding careers and community outreach. These are just some of the vital priorities of social stewardship that empower each of our employees to develop, contribute, self-actualize and create value for the world while supporting communities in which we live.
Our management framework, Principle Based Management™, is based on proven principles of human progress and a deep appreciation for the dignity of every individual. Our private ownership, shared Vision, Values, compliance standards and oversight all help us focus on long-term value creation.
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