The ANSA McAL Group of Companies (ANSA McAL) has come up with a tailored way of recruiting people with the aptitude and attitude to make both the conglomerate and themselves successful through its new careers portal.
Launched on March 9, the content on the portal's homepage (ansamcal.com/careers/) as well as the sub-headings under the Careers tab at the top of the screen, combine to give visitors a clear understanding of what the TT-based conglomerate is looking for in its employees.
Under the heading, Work with Us, is relevant information such as ANSA McAL being comprised of 73 companies spanning eight sectors in more than eight territories, with an employee base of almost 6,000 people.
"Staying true to our founders’ values, we are committed to high standards and sound business principals and practices. We achieve exceptional performance and foster long-term confidence and respect while generating sustained growth. As we push further to shape the future, we remain conscious of our duty to serve and strengthen the interests of our people, our country and our Caribbean region."
Beneath this, in all-caps, is a declaration of what the conglomerate stands, including that its people are thought leaders and exemplars and that "together we are family."
This holistic understanding of the group's mindset is one of the main reasons behind its creation. This and the use of psychometric testing tailored to ANSA McAL's needs, were the focus of Business Day's recent interview with group director, human resources (HR) Teresa White and group HR performance management and organisational development lead, Catherine Clarke.
Although recruitment sites/agencies may still be used to hire staff, White said the careers portal is meant to help sort out who's a good fit and who's not, something which isn't as obvious to applicants when a general site just lists the vacancy and required skills.
"It is important that potential employees can find and apply for (jobs) with us as easily as possible, in the context of what we're about and what we represent as an employer brand. This must be very purposeful and conscious on their part when seeking employment with ANSA McAL.
"As to why we would have something at a group level rather than at a subsidiary level, any job in one our subsidiaries is a job in the group. So if I go to work for, say, ANSA Polymer, I am an ANSA employee and that means I can grow and develop into somebody working at say, TATIL, once the skills, mutual interests and career paths converge."
White also spoke about what makes for a successful ANSA McAL employee, which is where the group approach comes in.
"Someone who is straightforward, industrious, spiritual – not necessarily religious – and who has strong family values. Those things are important to us. We're looking very much at a person who fits this description. This is a family, a hard-working one. We want people who are very active and proactive and successful in their own right. People who have strong emotional intelligence."
Adding to White's point, Clarke encouraged candidates to take the anonymous ANSA McAL Challenge to figure out if the group is "a good fit" for them.
"I think it's important that candidates take a look at our website – what our core values are – and see if they are aligned with the organisation before they even apply. Because a lot of the time, when you go onto a job site you're just seeing the logo of the organisation and the job itself but not what that company stands for, what it represents. We've addressed that gap by creating this portal."
Clarke explained that resumes submitted for posted vacancies "go directly to the relevant sectors' HR managers" because the site is organised by subsidiary.
White noted that while there is a "group approach" to the site, the primary responsibility for recruiting falls to each sector's HR manager. "So even though an application comes in to the central repository, it would go back out to them (sector HR managers). I'm only involved in recruitment at the very senior level."
You can search for positions by sector or function but if the group doesn't currently have a job within your area of interest, you can click on the Join Our Talent Network tab.
Once you've completed the form, including uploading a copy of your resume, a statement on the page states that a talent team member "will be in touch to discuss the next steps with you, should a suitable opportunity arise."
White described this as a win-win for both parties because ANSA McAL gets to "build out" its database for future vacancies while the people who have completed the form know the group is aware of their interest and their skill set.
Under the Training and Development section of the careers site, you will find information about the group's investment in programme-based training for its employees. Chief among them is its Executive Masters in Business Administration Programme (EMBA), offered in partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI)-Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business in Mt Hope.
White also highlighted their internship programme which is open to all employees' children, once those children have completed their first year of an undergraduate degree at a university.
"We will provide them with a summer job, with a stipend, in an area of their professional interest. Catherine (Clarke) came in through our internship programme and (now), based on her Masters in organisational psychology with a special qualification in psychometric testing, we're really looking to her to take our use of psychometric testing to another level."
Clarke, who began her internship in the Group HR department in 2011, was re-positioned in the financial services sector upon completion of her Masters in the United Kingdom. Then, in March, she returned to group HR but in a promoted position, responsible for talent.
Former group head of talent, Ena Vieira, introduced psychometric testing in 2016 to better determine the aforementioned best fit. Clarke said as far as she's aware, no other company in TT currently has in-house talent to conduct such tests, far less to tailor them to the company's needs.
"When people hear about psychometric testing, they tend to think of psychological testing because it came about with mental health around the 1960s but it's been significantly transformed to look at behaviour and personality, aligned to workplace competencies. Things like leading and deciding, analytical skills, which really impact your day-to-day interactions on the job."
Asked about her role in expanding its use within ANSA McAL, Clarke told Business Day, "We want to expand it to include aptitude testing – what are your thought processes when making decisions – as well as your technical ability."
The focus for now is on the group's executive management level, which will see relevant staff being assessed on how they handle potential scenarios that can come up in the workplace.
White assured that doing so in no way violates one's privacy, as the focus is on "business-critical roles and workplace competencies. Everything you're assessed on is directly related to the job."
Clarke added to this, telling Business Day one of the least reliable ways of recruiting is via interview, reference check and resume.
"While that's the more affordable way, the more assessments you include inside of your recruitment process, the better the predictability of on-the-job performance. We're going to use psychometric testing for recruitment, for promotional opportunities internally and for team-building. So it has a much wider scope than just recruitment."