Recruiting, Training, Retaining: Q&A with Amy Webb

With a focus on developing products to mitigate climate change, Tronox’s Specialty Chemicals & Materials business works to find and retain the most adept and innovative employees to help fast-track CristalACTiV™ products for new technologies.

Amy Webb, VP, Global Talent, Diversity & Inclusion, discusses how we recruit, train and retain talent at Tronox.

Tell us a bit about your role at Tronox and your previous experience.

My role is the Vice President, Talent and Diversity & Inclusion. Our group is responsible for the career planning and development of our employees across all functions in the areas of professional and leadership skills. We work to find solutions for learning needs and offer options for self-service.

My career started as a Laboratory Technician, and I moved into my first leadership role as the Quality Manager. From there, I enjoyed roles in operations management, SAP Project, Continuous Improvement. I moved into HR eight years ago and thoroughly enjoy helping our employees navigate their careers.

 After 26 years with Tronox, what do you think sets us apart from other companies?

I believe Tronox is unique due to the family atmosphere, outward mindset culture, global exposure, community involvement, and challenging opportunities. When you visit our sites, you can feel the closeness the employees share. As a global company, we have a unique opportunity to engage with employees around the world working on complex issues, such as our sustainability programs, process improvements, and capital projects.  Our employees enjoy working within our communities where they help those in need and mentor students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).  In an effort to attract more females to our industry, we are intentional in educating young women in our communities and offering opportunities at our various sites.

How does Tronox invest in its people and develop its talent?

For the development of our employees, we follow the 70/20/10 practice – 70% focuses on activities, 20% on coaching/mentoring, and 10% on education. Our learning platforms for executive education and business-related topics offer activity-based education. Activity-based development is accomplished through secondments and projects, as well. We also offer a mentoring program where employees can be partnered with senior leaders for career development discussions.

What is special about how Tronox recruits, trains and retains our Specialty Chemical & Materials (SC&M) resources?  

Within our SC&M business, the technical expertise is specialized and requires a specific skill set. When recruiting, we ensure the candidates have the technical skillset and innovation mindset. As part of our development process for the technical areas of our business, we complete assessments on our employees to understand their gaps. The assessments cover modeling, intellectual property, product development, and customer applications. Using this information, we develop specific plans for the employees to increase their knowledge through education, mentoring and activities. Succession planning and career paths are used within our organization to target the development of our employees to connect their future goals with the needs of the business.

From a people perspective, how do the needs of the Specialty Chemical business within Tronox differ from the rest of the organization?

The needs of the SC&M business differ due to the specific nature of skills needed within our R&D, Marketing, and Sales teams. Our business rapidly changes to match the dynamic market, and we need talented employees who are passionate about learning and innovating. We recently opened a new R&D lab and have technical employees with varying levels of educational backgrounds, so our employees can learn from each other, especially our experienced talent. In addition to our technical needs for the R&D segment of our business, we also need employees for the marketing and sale of our products. Our Marketing and Sales teams must be able to adapt to the changes within our growing business.

What is most rewarding about your role as an HR leader as it relates to recruiting, training and retaining talent?

In my 26 years with Tronox, I have met colleagues who I consider dear friends, traveled to many countries experiencing new cultures, broadened my business knowledge through career changes, participated in countless projects, and developed my leadership skills.  When I am able to talk to the many talented future and current employees, I love to help them see their potential even when they may not see it themselves. Creating ways for our employees to navigate their careers brings a smile to my face. We have a tremendous past and a very bright future, I am excited to be part of the recruitment and development of our employees.


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