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The Importance of Recruiting and Creating a Diverse Workforce

Episode 49

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The Importance of Recruiting and Creating a Diverse Workforce

In his second appearance on the podcast, Juan Perez, the Chief Information and Engineering Officer for UPS, discusses creating a diverse workforce.

“Recruiting effective, good, solid, diverse talent to tackle some of the problems we have to work on is one of the most important priorities we have in the organization.””—Juan Perez ‏#ITVisionaries

Show Notes

Finding the right kind of talent is a huge aspect of running a successful business. And it’s one of the biggest jobs on the plate of Juan Perez, the Chief Information and Engineering Officer for UPS.

In his second appearance on the podcast, Juan joins Ian to discuss the intricacies of finding, engaging and recruiting talent, and he drives home the importance of building a diverse workforce. In doing so, he explains that you will not only come to better solutions, you’ll do so more quickly and in a way that addresses the needs of a wider variety of customers.

Topics Discussed: Diversity, recruiting, training, ambassadors, innovation, responsiveness, voice technology, growth.

Introducing Juan — (1:20)

  • This is Juan’s second time on IT Visionaries.
    • In this interview, Juan discusses hiring diverse engineers.

How to view the engineering space and what Juan looks for in talent — (2:10)

  • Diversity influences the way technology is built to fit the needs of a large variety of customers.
  • UPS customers are interested in the diversity of the company.
  • “In IT and engineering, we believe a diverse and inclusive team drives innovation faster. It helps us get to the answers we need to the complex problems that we’re dealing with much quicker and much more effectively than if we only have one perspective.”

Being purposeful in finding elite talent — (5:10)

  • If your target is too large, your results will be too scattered to yield results.
  • UPS has narrowed its focus and has become more actively engaged with specific universities and pools of talents to have a meaningful conversation with potential hires, and also to create a mutual interest.
  • People didn’t know the full story of the UPS IT and technology practice, and so the company has become more deliberate in communicating the story about the types of projects and problems it is solving. This creates more natural interest.
  • The process becomes more of a cycle in which people UPS has recruited then go out and recruit others to join them.
  • “We’re very deliberate in finding diverse talent to come into our organization.”

Being present in areas that breed the right type of candidates — (9:20)

  • At recruiting fairs, it’s not enough to simply send recruiters — UPS also sends real employees doing the kinds of jobs they are hiring for in order to provide direct experience to candidates.
  • Juan and his team are committed to finding people who are the right cultural fit for the company, and that when they join the team, they are comfortable and in an environment where they can thrive.

Responsiveness is a major part of the process — (13:00)

  • “The entire recruiting experience needs to be one that makes the candidates feel that they are wanted and that the organization, in the end, is going to provide the right place for them to excel in absolutely everything they do.”
  • “When I think about recruiting, you have to be intentional. You can’t go about this without a plan.”
  • From the top of the organization through all the groups and teams, there have to be understood expectations and open communication.

How technology is streamlining the experience — (14:50)

  • There are digital interactions and automated aspects of the process of initial assessment and contact with potential employees.
  • Video interviews are much more common.
  • There’s more of a focus on connecting with candidates through social media.
  • There is extra effort put into making sure the communication between company and candidates is clear and that it is evident that there are great opportunities available.
  • “When I talk about the great projects we’re building here, I remind folks what UPS does. We are a logistics company. We get things from Point A to Point B, but we do it at scale and we do it in a way that provides incredible service to our customers. We do something that is a very important mission: We get people what they need when they need it and how they need it. To do that… requires incredible engineering and incredible technology. That’s what we’re going to continue to build here.”

What education needs to happen to inform people that these roles are possibilities for them? — (18:00)

  • The trajectory of employees has changed. There is more of a chance for employees to be working on large, impactful projects quickly and early on in their careers.
  • “Even entry-level positions in our company, those individuals, very quickly, have the opportunity to work on very meaningful projects that will have a significant impact on the organization today and in years to come.”
  • Last year more than 200 interns went through the technology department and about 50% get hired after they graduate.
    • There are hackathons for them to demonstrate their abilities and events in which teams can explain their projects and ideas.
    • These events cause interns to become promoters and influencers in terms of teaching others about the types of work being done at UPS.

How voice technology will be used in UPS going forward — (24:50)

  • Juan uses voice recognition on his phone constantly and he is impressed with the accuracy of the technology.
  • That technology will continue to evolve and be used in businesses moving forward.
  • “Since we will be working with a diverse workforce, it’s important that the technology works in a way that it can adjust to all kinds of different voices, accents, and users who will be using the technology to do their jobs.”

Choosing the right people to be ambassadors for your company — (27:20)

  • As part of the diversity and inclusion program, UPS has established a business resources group, which are broken into subcategories such as a women’s resources group, African American resources group, Hispanic resources group, etc.
  • These types of vehicles are used to recruit others who are interested in joining the company.
  • There is an operational mindset in recruiting candidates and UPS engages a number of different people and groups to ensure that they are reaching out to the best pool of candidates.
  • “Recruiting effective, good, solid, diverse talent to tackle some of the problems we have to work on in the organization today and tomorrow is one of the most important priorities we have in the organization.”
  • Information security and recruiting the right talent are the two issues that keep Juan up at night.
  • “We are competing for incredible talent and against many amazing companies that are doing some really cool things as well. So I have to continuously be thinking about how we create this narrative that describes to people the great, cool things we’re doing.”
  • UPS Innovation Center is open in New Jersey, where a number of exciting projects are being worked on.

Creating an environment in which employees can grow — (35:30)

  • UPS offers training programs that allow employees to grow and learn.
  • “You have to create an environment where people feel that they’re learning. The vast majority of engineers and IT professionals we hire in the organization are continued learners. They’re hungry to learn and understand more about the company and about engineering. And if you don’t create an environment for them to do that, you miss a huge opportunity.”
  • The most critical time of a recruit is the first couple of years in a new organization. If those are not successful, if they don’t feel valued or connected with the organization, they can wind up leaving the organization and you miss out on incredible talent.
  • You also have to recruit employees you already have to stay in your organization.

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In his second appearance on the podcast, Juan Perez, the Chief Information and Engineering Officer for UPS, discusses creating a diverse workforce.

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