November 17, 2009

Alcoa: Australian Mining Employer of Choice

Alcoa of Australia took out the ‘Employer of Choice’ award at the annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards last week.

The Awards recognise excellence in the Australian mining industry, while the ‘Employer of Choice’ award is presented to an organisation that has successfully attracted, trained and retained staff through innovative and unique strategies that promote the company as an employer of choice.

Alcoa was recognised for its commitment to the work/ life blend, diversity initiatives, successful employee engagement programs, strong safety record, employee volunteering programs and the lifestyle that a career at Alcoa offers.

Alcoa’s Executive Director of People, Environment and Corporate Affairs, Mr Kim Horne, recognises that people are Alcoa’s success.

“We simply could not run this business without talented, dedicated people – and so it’s people who are our number one priority. Providing equal opportunities for both men and women to realise their career potential have been central strategies for Alcoa for many years.”

With 60 per cent of Alcoa employees having been with the company for more than 10 years, Mr Horne largely credits this to Alcoa’s flexible work policies.

“Businesses which take the issues of work/life blend and diversity seriously will stand a far greater chance of attracting the right people who will be the best fit for the organisation, and who will be best placed to assist in delivering bottom line results,” he said.

Mr Horne acknowledges, however, that there is always room for improvement when it comes to people management.
“Every year we survey our people, globally, and by listening to them we know we still have a number of areas that we need to change to ensure we better accommodate both the demands of the business and individuals’ personal needs – and we are absolutely committed to improving in these areas.”

Mr Horne said working for Alcoa is somewhat unique in the mining industry, in that you can have a fulfilling resources career without having to relocate to a remote location.

“We are located in some of the most pristine areas of Australia and our geographical location is a big draw card.”

He said community engagement is critical to how Alcoa does business, and the company rewards its people for supporting the communities where they live.

“The Alcoa Foundation matches our employees’ volunteer time with grants to their chosen not-for-profit organisations.”

Last year, our people generated more than US$300,000 in community funding, in addition to Alcoa’s regular community partnership program.
An ‘Employee Suggestion Scheme’, one of Alcoa’s successful employee engagement tools, offers employees cash incentives if they come up with smart business ideas.

“Our philosophy is that we have a more productive and engaged workforce if our people are encouraged to make suggestions for business improvement are in turne listened to by the business. Last year we accepted over 10,000 suggestions,” Mr Horne said.

The company’s return to work rates following maternity leave remain high at around 90 per cent and data suggests that the organisation’s ability to offer part-time work for women returning from maternity leave has had a significant impact on the retention of women.

Alcoa also has one of the lowest lost workday injury rates in Australia – its performance better than the mining, construction, agriculture, forestry and fishing and even retail trade industries.

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The Australian Mining Prospect Awards were announced on Wednesday 11 November 2009 at a gala ceremony in Sydney.

To read more about flexibility, diversity and the work/ life blend at Alcoa, visit:

For employee case studies, visit: