Training and Recruiting Workforce-Ready Graduates

Workforce planning lead at NextEra Energy, Inc., Ken Languedoc, shares what business schools are currently doing that helps industry find high-value employees, as well as new opportunities to teach students the skills they need to enter the workforce.


Ken Languedoc: [0:15] I think some things that business schools do well are related to the consistency of the recruiting process. For example, students are encouraged to have a one page resume. There's certain elements that are in a certain order and that's helpful.

[0:30] Accessibility to students through information sessions and coffee chats during office hours are really helpful, and those have been around for a long time.

[0:42] Some things that have been maybe unexpected in my experience in recruiting students is that, as a company that is very conscious of our own corporate values we're committed to excellence, we do the right thing, and we treat people with respect I've found that students have been encouraged by their schools to be very respectful of recruiters and company representatives as their own campus.

[1:09] That really helps with our recruitment efforts because collaboration plays such an important role in our work culture, and respect is the essence of that. If the students are respectful of us and we have a really good rapport with them on campus, even though we know they're recruiting with other companies, that makes a really big difference in terms of our interactions.

[1:32] Some things that maybe the schools aren't doing well and this is a small number of schools relative to all the schools that I interact with would be just the whole career services interaction with industry. I do feel that many schools are very good at this. It's like a concierge type approach.

[1:51] They guide us through the whole process of recruiting and work with us, regardless of how big or small we are as a company. But there are a small number of schools that it's more of an administrative function. They just schedule a room and tell you where to show up, and that's probably an area of improvement for those schools.

[2:08] In terms of partnerships, one thing that would really help is if student groups and faculty members approached us with ideas that they had already come up with. Sometimes, we get asked, "Hey, what can we do for you?" That's a very broad question to try to answer.

[2:25] For me, as a person who interacts with students, business schools and universities, I have to think, "OK, who could I potentially direct this person to, to answer whatever problem it is that we might be trying to solve."

[2:39] If they come to us and say, "We have a problem that we believe is relevant to your industry, your company, your sector and what do you think about that?" that's a much more successful approach to trying to get us to help interact with that organization.

[2:54] Innovation is the core of our business. Making sure that the workforce is able to adapt, not just to the needs of our industry, but to the changes in the workforce in general, is really important. In the past, workforce training and continuous learning had to do with things like being tech savvy.

[3:16] Maybe 20 years ago, that was really important, being able to go from the analog to the digital age. These days, it's far more complex than that. Being prepared to understand how technology, digital transformation is affecting our business and any other business and being able to be equipped to handle those changes is essential.

[3:38] Connections with schools and figuring out ways to ensure that our future workforce has that skill set, the ability to transform, is essential to being successful there.

Filmed at AACSB Co-Lab: Connecting Industry With Business Schools, May 2019.