An effective recruitment campaign to accelerate the energy transition

With the aim of addressing the challenge of the energy transition, Hera is looking for new skills through the recruitment of 300 resources that will be cultivated in a productive and stimulating workplace.

The process of selection and onboarding of these new resources that will be dedicated to the energy transition stands out for its innovative approach. In addition to accurately assessing the characteristics of the individual against those required by the role, such process provides the candidates with well-structured induction paths from the very first activities of training and induction.

To handle a deeply changing environment, Hera focuses on enhancing the uniqueness of people in close integration with new business needs, by investing in continuous and widespread training. At the same time, the Group is committed to evolving its leadership model and organisation to respond to the socio-demographic transformations underway and the new needs arising from the ecological and digital transition.

We discover more about these topics in a conversation with Alessandro Camilleri, Group Human Resources and Organisation Director.

What are the features of the recruitment campaign that you have just launched to face the challenges of the energy transition?

Through this campaign, by 2023 we will recruit, train and onboard around 300 young resources, of which 250 technicians – hydraulics, thermo-hydraulics and electrotechnics – will fill operational roles and 50 engineers will be dedicated to the Operations and Design areas. This is a major campaign, as it covers about half of the approximately 600 resources that we normally recruit each year. We will give high visibility to these roles, which are crucial in the implementation of Hera’s journey towards the energy transition, as well as in that of our suppliers. After the early training phase, the new resources can be hired within the Group or by companies that are our established suppliers. 

How have you structured such ambitious recruitment and induction?

We chose to work in partnership with Manpower, a leading international company in the human resources sector that is very well structured; in addition, we have involved local institutions. After a preliminary selection implemented through an accurate assessment process, we have designed a targeted Academy path for candidates, which will see both Manpower trainers and Hera Group professionals in action. Participants in this phase will consolidate their own skills and fill any mismatches emerged during the assessment, by using the resources of our advanced training centre in Ferrara. We have also planned induction sessions, with a field simulation of operational tasks of the role that the individual candidate will be assigned to.

Has the pandemic created a permanent discontinuity with the past in people’s expectations?

Covid changed both the scenario and the expectations with incredible speed, therefore today they are different than in 2019. The question “How often will I be able to work from home?” is now frequently heard when selecting new resources. The answer is not always simple. By allowing the candidate to work five days out of five from home, in the roles where it is possible, we may have a solution that also works well from a short-term performance viewpoint. But if that new employee does not enter a system of relationships that can only be gained by experiencing the company’s life, he or she will not have the opportunity to develop a sense of belonging to the Group. However, it is very comforting to realise that many young people show a decreasing desire to work from home, once they have experienced life at Hera…

How do you measure the success of your recruitment campaigns in Hera?

The most natural way is to check retention times following company entry and the differences in performance compared to the rest of the company population in the first two years after placement. At Hera, we typically have a very low voluntary outgoing turnover, around 2%: a score that we consider to be the result of an effective engagement policy at the entry stage, even before than the outcome of an effective retention policy – the latter being a phenomenon detectible at a later stage, as it is often linked to ineffective involvement and motivation on a day-to-day basis.

And how do you generally measure the impact of your HR policies over time?

The most immediate and tangible economic indicator to track our performance is the EBITDA per employee. We started in 2002 from EUR 49,000 and gradually reached EUR 130,000 in 2021 with the goal of achieving a per-capita level of EUR 160,000 by the end of 2025. We also invest very seriously in our people: just to set an example, in one year nearly the whole company population is involved in training, with the aim of achieving improvements in both business processes and performance. And, in any case, we are equally careful to measure even the seemingly more intangible dimensions, such as the satisfaction and engagement of people that work at Hera.

What are the strengths that Hera can leverage when attracting new talents?

We are a company with a 20-year history of growth, a well-structured strategy and very consistent results achieved over time. Our model proves great care for human capital, through training courses, welfare tools and a corporate culture oriented towards the inclusion of diversity. For instance, at the end of September we signed the Group’s integrative contract for the 2022-2024 period, which covers fundamental aspects to ensure work-life balance and provides for economic measures geared to cope with the negative impact of inflation. Hera is also a company with a strong vision of the future: we have successfully taken up the challenge of digitising services and professional activities and today we are demonstrating that we aim to respond to the challenge of energy transition. The level of Employee Satisfaction Index, or ESI, of 71/100 that we achieved in 2021 confirms the soundness of this path towards continuous improvement.

After all, for years Hera has been on the podium of the Top Employer ranking…

Indeed, after achieving first place in 2020 and 2021 for our excellence in Human Resources management, in 2022 we were again on the podium, ranking second among the 1,600 Italian companies analysed. This is the thirteenth consecutive time that we have been awarded this prestigious certification by the Top Employer Institute. Going through the assessment process also represents an opportunity to compare ourselves with specific best practices that we are encouraged to study. Basically, every year we measure ourselves against a rigorous assessment exercise with more than 400 items.

Alessandro Camilleri
Alessandro Camilleri
9 November 2022
Site Manager:
Jens K. Hansen
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Blue Arrow - Lugano