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Building a Plant and a Culture by Hiring the Right Talent


Discover how MAU helped a major Automotive Manufacturer open it’s first US Plant.

In 2016, based on the desire to increase the market position and presence in the US, Volvo began the construction of its first US manufacturing facility in Ridgeville, South Carolina. Initially, Volvo’s goal was to produce more than 60K cars per year. The facility was to be the production home of the S60 model, half of which will be exported globally. In 2018, it was announced that a second model, the XC90, was expected to be produced in Ridgeville as well by 2021.

The Challenge

With no manufacturing footprint in the United States, Volvo was relying on a global team to lead the construction and start-up in South Carolina. In terms of building its future workforce, Volvo needed to overcome a lack of familiarity with the local and regional labor market.

The specific challenges were:

❌ No dedicated recruiting staff in South Carolina

❌ Limited experience recruiting highly specialized skill sets

❌ Inability to conduct high volume recruiting

❌ Lack of staff to manage the process (Interview through Onboarding)

To do this they sought a partner already established in this market which could proactively identify experienced candidates for hire that would create a workforce which aligned with the company’s culture. This partner needed to have previous experience working with talent in Automotive OEMs, Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers.

The Strategy

This partner was MAU Workforce Solutions. Volvo’s local executives and key stakeholders trusted MAU’s ability to deliver talent in a highly competitive market. MAU had the experience to quickly scale their recruiting team to meet Volvo’s hiring demands.

Volvo had a strong product brand founded on their standards for safety, quality and sustainability. Developing and positioning Volvo’s employment brand was the foundation of the recruiting strategy. MAU needed to leverage the excitement about Volvo coming to the area by promoting the impact and opportunities that Volvo would offer. A talent community was created utilizing various digital platforms that delivered dedicated Volvo messaging while serving as distribution channels to increase awareness of Volvo’s employment brand.

MAU was able to flex both onsite and offsite resources onto the recruiting team to meet the ever growing demand of hires Volvo needed to make. These resources were not only experienced in recruiting processes, onboarding, etc., but also brought specific technical expertise, as several of them were engineers by trade, had worked in manufacturing and therefore, possessed a solid understanding of the technical needs of positions within the automotive manufacturing industry.

MAU designed a selection process that would ensure candidate fit aligned both technically and culturally with Volvo. To do this, MAU had an onsite team that was immersed in Volvo’s culture by working with the team on a daily basis in addition to participating in formal cultural training MAU’s onsite presence allowed the recruiting team to develop relationships and build trust with the hiring managers, developing first-hand knowledge of their soft skill requirements, along with the technical requirements to identify the right candidates for their positions.

MAU’s recruiting team identified candidates with OEM, Tier 1 Supplier and Tier 2 Supplier experience, as well as those with experience with other world class manufacturers. MAU also performed behavioral assessments to assist in making sure the candidates were the right behavioral fit for Volvo. MAU’s technology solution included utilizing its proprietary, web-based transparency allowing Volvo’s hiring managers’ real time access to key recruiting data (candidate status, cycle times, etc.). The MAU onsite team also met regularly with the hiring managers to discuss candidates and recruiting strategies.

The Outcome

MAU’s dedicated onsite and recruiting teams, innovative candidate sourcing strategies, and experience recruiting highly specialized skill sets in a manufacturing environment produced significant results. Some key results related to MAU’s recruiting and hiring strategy include:

    • 8,000+ Visitors to a Volvo-dedicated webpage within 14 days of its initial launch.
    • 26,723 Job Applications were processed in a one-year period.
    • 50+ Salaried Associates were hired within the first 5 months of the project.
    • 200+ Salaried Associates were hired within the first 2 years of the project.
    • 92% of Hiring Managers were satisfied with the strategy implementation.

While global expansion brings a competitive advantage, developing and hiring for operations overseas is considerably more complex than doing so domestically. Volvo outsourced its hiring to MAU to develop a recruiting process for all salaried positions, allowing Volvo’s leadership to focus their energy into core activities of greater value in their expansion process in the United States. Today, MAU continues efforts to identify, interview, and recruit talented professionals who are ready to empower the competitive value of Volvo Cars.