Forging top talent

From the shop floor to the executive suites, Alcan turned to performance development and succession planning software to catalogue its staff following a giant merger
By Todd Humber
|CHRR, Guide to HR Technology|Last Updated: 11/04/2002

Succession planning poses a serious challenge for HR in any organization. But imagine working in the HR department of a giant, multinational corporation, striving hard to assess the existing talent, when thousands of new employees — who you know nothing about — are suddenly dropped in your lap.

That’s the problem Alcan faced when it merged with Alusuisse Group in 2000, creating a combined workforce of 48,000 employees worldwide with head offices in Montreal. That’s when Alcan’s HR department sprung into action in an effort to get a grip on exactly what it was getting from Alusuisse in terms of human capital. Guy Delisle, the director of executive performance management at Alcan, said it was key for the aluminum giant to get a handle on what it was getting from Alusuisse to ensure it didn’t lose top talent and to target rising stars for promotion.

“When you merge with a new corporation, one of the key issues is to have a good idea of the quality of the talent pool because there are a lot of players you don’t know,” said Delisle. “So one key element, right at the beginning, is to have a good knowledge of the quality of the talent pool.”