July 14, 2021
Here at Sonoco, we have 20,000+ teammates, across 30+ countries, in 300+ operations. We’re constantly looking for the right Talent to help us charge forward, innovate and become industry leaders in each of the markets we serve. That’s no easy task. It takes a dedicated team of passionate and hardworking people to accomplish these goals. We’re fortunate enough at Sonoco to have a dedicated Global Talent Acquisition team that works hard to find the talent that will set Sonoco apart from other companies as a career employer.
We sat down with Erin Vincent, Director of Global Talent Management, to learn more about her career path, the Talent Acquisition team and its goals, where TA and Talent Management meet for Sonoco and how technology is helping them innovate with data-driven insights.
Sonoco: Why did you join Sonoco?
Erin Vincent: I joined because I knew I could help solve challenges the organization was having with recent projects related to HR Technology, and I felt there was an opportunity to use my experiences to add value across the organization.
S: What has kept you at Sonoco?
EV: I love challenges! I love change, and we've had both, which means there is never a dull moment. We've had a real privilege under new leadership in the last 2.5 years to transform the way we serve our businesses and our employees. We've implemented new technology, new processes, new functions and new programs – aiming at providing the business better data, more resources and an overall stronger employee experience. It feels good to be a small part of that!
Most importantly, Sonoco’s values align with my personal values, and it feels good to be able to be myself, knowing that we really value people at the core of who they are. That is really critical when you are in any HR position.
S: What has it been like transitioning from HR Tech to Talent Acquisition & Talent Management?
EV: Refreshing! One of the things I've always loved about a career in HR is how many times you can reinvent what your days look like but still stay aligned within a meaningful career path. HR Tech was where I felt comfortable and gave me a skillset I can take into whatever my future roles may be. I will always be data-driven and have a passion for continuous improvement, which comes from my roots in tech. The role in Talent Management is a new challenge for me and flexes completely different skillsets, I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with new people and face new challenges!
S: What has been a positive that has come out of taking on a role outside of your comfort zone?
EV: Talent Management has afforded me the opportunity to connect more with our employees and businesses as well as play a more active role in what a career at Sonoco looks like for our employees. I love getting to create things that will help people enjoy their Sonoco experience, and I am very much leveraging technology along the way!
S: How does TA leverage technology?
EV: I honestly think we are all in the technology field these days! It's so intertwined into everything we do. Our recruiters use an ATS and sites like Indeed and LinkedIn to make their lives easier, and we have dashboards with real-time data we use to assess our progress on different searches. We train on Boolean searches to help with finding passive candidates! At any given moment, technology lets us know what our candidate pipeline looks like, how much diversity we have in process and where candidates are in the hiring process. We use social media to do targeted job advertisements and market the Sonoco employment brand. The tech affords us an incredible amount of transparency, so we can go faster and deliver to our customers.
S: The talent landscape has changed a lot in the past year. What has COVID-19 taught you (and Sonoco) about Talent Acquisition?
EV: The labor market has been tough, especially as we transition into a more post-pandemic climate in most regions. There are more jobs than people, and I think overall a different expectation from candidates. We are considering all kinds of creative, new ways to source and create attractive opportunities for people. Overall, I think it's teaching us that flexibility and creativity is a requirement. We can't rely on what worked a year or more ago. We have to be willing to try new things!
S: Where do you see Talent Acquisition and Talent Management converging for Sonoco? Why did Sonoco merge those two functions under the same umbrella?
EV: For me, it's all about intersectionality – when you assess talent through our talent review and succession planning processes, you begin to understand the needs of the organization at a macro level and also in detail within each division or functional area. This information and context really helps our recruiters. Structure really helps information flow within an organization, and I think that was a key driver for creating this team. Having a cohesive function allows us to be strategic and choose whether we develop, train or hire (and what the right mix of all three is) to improve on the opportunities we identify through our assessment process. We merged the functions so we can better support our business leaders with their talent needs and make more informed talent decisions.
S: What are Sonoco’s TA short-term and long-term focus areas (in the next 6 months to a year)?
EV: In the short and immediate term, we're laser focused on trying to fill jobs in our entry level hourly roles. We are partnering with compensation and benefits to see what competitive edge we can get within the market to make roles more attractive. We are also working hard to find out why people leave the organization, especially those who leave early on, so we can try to weed out some of this during the interview process and ensure we're hiring dedicated employees. To balance this, we are really beefing up our marketing and employment brand. We have to continue marketing hard to ensure Sonoco is an employer of choice across 300+ locations worldwide. Our digital marketing strategies will continue to be a heavy focus for us in the short and long term.
Within the next year, we are looking to improve how we operate globally by implementing the technology we use in South and Latin America as well as Germany and next year in Asia.
We also have been and will continue to be focused on improving our representation of diversity at Sonoco, especially within leadership positions. We are fostering lots of new relationships to increase the amount of diversity in our applicant pools. I'm excited to see this across our apprenticeship, intern and Emerging Leader applicant pools as well as our total employee representation. We have been making great strides!
If you’re interested in joining the Talent team or another position in Human Resources, click here to view a list of openings!