Case Studies

These case studies illustrate how Alcoa is acting upon its commitment to sustainable development throughout the world. We are pleased with this progress, but look forward to achieving even more.

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Worldwide - 2008

Talent Acquisition Program Builds Future Leadership Strength


With almost 60% of its leadership eligible to retire within five years, one Alcoa business unit has created a talent acquisition program that allows it to fill a vacancy two years before it occurs. The program is also expected to improve retention and diversity and reduce costs.

Launched in April 2008, the Acquiring Talent Program within Alcoa’s Global Rolled Products, Hard Alloy Extrusions, & Asia business is designed to develop and retain global leaders—both current and future—to build organization and employee capability, achieve diversity goals, and support the business unit’s initiative to fill 70% of open leadership positions with internal candidates by 2010.

In a rigorous, quarterly recruitment process, contract recruiters conduct the program’s initial global sourcing phase, seeking out candidates with leadership experience. Recruiters pay particular attention to the gender and racial diversity of the candidates and make a special effort to reach out to top talent who might have less relevant backgrounds but possess the skill sets that Alcoa values. Competency tests and online assessment profiles follow, with successful candidates being invited to an assessment center where final screening is conducted. A formal interview process follows.

“Talking to Alcoans before joining the program made me understand that Alcoa is a company that is goal driven, asking a lot from its employees,” said Federic Narbel, project manager at Alcoa’s location in Samara, Russia, who was hired through the Acquiring Talent Program. “Most important, Alcoa is a company that values team effort and respect of its values. I was, and still am, attracted by challenging tasks and have been given very interesting assignments thus far.”

During the program’s two-year training and on-boarding period, new hires are trained by staff members—some of them senior—whose roles they expect to eventually fill. In this way, hires are placed with mentors who help them navigate their new positions. With a minimum of two rotational assignments and one relocation, these employees are also exposed to the full range of what their new positions entail.

In the first round of sourcing in 2008, 60 candidates were screened at the assessment center and 20 subsequently were interviewed. Of the nine candidates hired, three were female and five came from minority backgrounds.

“This program will definitely impact my career in a multitude of ways,” said Chaya Davis, an Alcoa Business System specialist at Alcoa Lafayette Operations in Indiana. “It will allow me to gain valuable leadership, business, and life skills. I will be exposed to various areas within the business and learn how each of these areas work together to make the company function as a whole. This program also gives me the opportunity to utilize my knowledge and skills outside of my specific area of discipline, thus broadening my areas of expertise. Since joining Alcoa, I have been exposed to and involved with finance, labor relations, cost reduction, and safety initiatives.”

Adds Narbel, “Having the program endorsed by key executives gives us the possibility to interact with senior decision makers within Alcoa, thus benefiting from their experience, constructive feedback, and knowledge, while also creating the necessary network to identify future opportunities within the business. In addition, being rotated through various locations enables us to create a knowledge network that will increase our efficiency in problem solving and solution identification in our future positions within the company, as we will have access to a broader source of knowledge.”