Attracting the right talent

At the 2023 IPF in Baltimore, our Business Development Director Jeff Anderson chaired a panel of senior figures from the leading US offshore wind developers and solutions providers.

In the fifth part of this series, key decision-makers from Vestas, Attentive Energy, RWE Renewables and Atlantic Shores share their real-world insight into attracting the right talent to their organizations.

Jeff Anderson
Let’s talk about attraction. How do you ensure that the best talent is being attracted to your organization?

Amy McGinty, VP Offshore Construction, Vestas
People look at organizations and ask, “am I going to be comfortable here? Is this a place where I’m going to feel welcome, included?” With every hire we make sure that we’re bringing diversity in all aspects into the team and then making sure that they feel included.

There are studies that show that your direct manager is the person that has the most influence on whether or not you stay in your job. We have a leadership program that is being rolled out for every single manager in the organization this year, including executive leadership. It’s a huge focus for us, not just in offshore wind, but across the whole organization globally. Because that manager level is the key to retention.

Everything we’re doing is geared towards making sure that people feel, once they join, that they belong, that it’s a place they want to be for a long time, that they can bring their whole selves to work and apply themselves every day.

Nathalie Jouanneau, JV Strategy & Portfolio Manager, Atlantic Shores
For us to attract the people we want, we show up in the right places. So we show up here. We show up in events for our communities. We have a lot of work fairs planned. We show up at events with our University partners – Rutgers and Stockton, in particular. 

Very practically, one of the things that I do when I interview people to come in is leave them as much time to ask questions about me. Because whether you just get out of university or you’re a 20-year veteran from another industry, you’re picking me as much as I’m picking you. It’s like a dating exercise!

If I’m interviewing for a role that’s a direct supervisor and I’m going to be their peer, I’m really going to ask questions about culture. I’m going to ask them what they want to know about the joint venture, what is important for them in terms of culture? Because I want to understand how they work and how they think. I’m also always trying to be very transparent on work-life balance, the effort that’s involved, the fact that there’s a lot of work to be done. But I’m respectful and open that we’re looking for self-starters. I give people the chance to learn about our company, and find out whether they are a cultural fit.

We want to attract people, and we need more people, so we want to attract the right people. If our answers don’t match their criteria, then they will be better and happier in other organizations as well.

Claudia Soltys, HR Business Partner, RWE Renewables
What comes to mind is relationship building. It starts with that first contact with the candidate. So the recruitment process is key, and that recruiter that is assigned to bringing those individuals in – they play an important role, that continues throughout the process.

It’s important that we build warm relationships and that people feel like they are able to be transparent and open. You know: this is what we’re like, this is where we are right now, this is where we’re going – be open and provide as much information as you possibly can. And then answer as many questions as you can, because listening to those individuals is key. When you know that person is going to be perfect for your culture, for your company, those relationships continue. So when they first come in, have that red carpet onboarding for them, and make sure the company is there, the company is present, and is able to answer anything for them.

Damian Bednarz, Managing Director, Attentive Energy
My favorite question from candidates is: “Can you tell me what a typical day is like?” That’s a scary one.

Nathalie Jouanneau
What’s exciting is that there’s no typical day! Which works for certain personalities, not for everyone.

Damian Bednarz
Our culture and values system is built upon a sense of ownership. That person, first as a candidate then a team member, should feel that ownership: ownership on the strategy, ownership on initiative, ownership on things that – when they go through hard times, when they are successful, when they celebrate the wins  they can point to.

And regardless of where they go next, they can look back on their experience and say: “I was at Attentive Energy, and I did this, and I owned that, I owned this initiative.” And that, to me, is super-important. You have to work at creating that. And retain that ability to do so, for as long as you can, until the organization gets larger and larger. But I think it’s an important step for anyone that starts in your team.

Read part one, with real-world insight on offshore wind hiring strategies and scaling-up journeys.

Read part two, on retaining talent and nurturing corporate culture

Read part three, on retaining culture in a new joint venture.

Read part four, on training strategies for new team members transitioning into offshore wind.

Read part six, on salary and compensation.

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