TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Recruiting talent is an industry challenge. But companies can work around it by focusing on "scaling up talent" from their ranks, especially for hard-to-fill jobs, Terri Von Lehmden, vice president of human resources at Toyota Motor North America, said Wednesday at the seminars.
"What we're finding, and doubling down on, is that team members want to be developed," Von Lehmden told Automotive News. "They want to skill up. They want to be part of the transformation."
Von Lehmden cited a study from PwC that found that 74 percent of employees in the work force "don't think they're achieving their full potential and they're craving more development. So if three-fourths of your work force is wanting and thirsting for more, why not? Why not have them help you solve the problem of all these changes that we know are coming?
"Our role is to understand what our businesses need, and what skills are going to be needed, but it's not as easy as it was," Von Lehmden said of the HR function.
A number of roles exist in automotive companies that were not around a decade ago, such as digital functions. By further developing its employees, Toyota has received greatly enhanced employee loyalty and engagement.
"All of that sparks innovation and passion from employees," Von Lehmden said. "The heart of any kind of transformation is engagement and engaging your team members. And if you don't do that, you're going to be the one left behind."
Von Lehmden said a study estimated that disengaged employees are costing the national economy $600 billion a year, while another study from Harvard Business Review found that 25 percent of high-potential but undeveloped employees are likely to be working for another company within 12 months.
That, she said, "is the kind of statistic that makes me nervous and keeps me up at night."