Talent retention poses a challenge across industries, particularly in the semiconductor industry where the demand for skilled professionals continues to rise amid the evolving work landscape. Many HR professionals wonder how they can nurture and build talent within the semiconductor sector to ensure sustainable success.
In an exclusive interview with People Matters, Arindam Chatterjee, HR Leader at Texas Instruments India, shares strategies to overcome the challenges of talent engagement and retention in this dynamic industry.
Here are the edited excerpts:
What strategies/ initiatives has Texas Instruments implemented to build and utilize talent within the company?
At TI, we believe that innovation is the key to sustainable growth and success. That's why we're committed to creating a culture of innovation where all employees feel empowered to bring their best ideas to the table. Our leaders play a critical role in fostering this culture of innovation. They are experienced mentors who coach and encourage fellow employees to contribute to global innovations through our robust research and development initiatives.
We have also implemented several initiatives to celebrate and encourage innovation. For example, the TI Technical Ladder is a program that guides and supports eligible employees to develop into technical leadership roles. It recognizes employees for their technical contributions and offers a growth path that is parallel to the manager track.
We believe that treating all employees with equal importance, regardless of their experience level, is crucial to fostering a culture of learning, growth and belonging. This is why we offer a variety of innovation programs and resources to both new college graduates and experienced employees.
What specific programs or collaborations have TI incorporated to meet the demand for skilled talent in the semiconductor industry?
The semiconductor industry is growing and evolving rapidly, and there is a high demand for skilled employees. We run several initiatives that help us develop and nurture the next generation of semiconductor talent, preparing them to come on board and succeed.
It is important to foster and develop semiconductor talent from an early stage. That's why we offer programs at universities such as a TI-sponsored Research Associateship in Analog and Mixed Signal VLSI Design with IIT Madras. This program provides students with a year of classroom learning coupled with a two-year opportunity to gain industry exposure through an internship at TI, where they get direct guidance from TI’s technical leaders.
TI’s internships are intensive and are designed to give students hands-on semiconductor industry experience. They have the opportunity to participate in projects that address real-world problems while working alongside the world’s smartest people. Most interns go on to join us as full-time employees after graduation. We offer a technical and professional skills training program called Career Accelerator to all of our new college graduates to ensure they have the resources they need to succeed as they ramp into their roles and grow their careers at TI.
Another one of our flagship programs in India is WiSH (Women in Semiconductors and Hardware), which provides second-year women engineering students with an immersive, hands-on mentorship experience at TI. Through this program, we aim to inspire and support young women to pursue a career in semiconductors and hardware.
How does TI approach talent search and recruitment to ensure they attract the best candidates for their workforce?
Our people are our greatest asset, and they complement the focus we have on R&D, design, and sales in India. Having the right talent mix is essential and we seek candidates with both theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as the right technical know-how.
Many of our employees in India are recruited through college and university placement programs. We also encourage our current employee population to explore lateral moves that can help them develop skills in other functions throughout their careers.
Our programs for hiring and developing new college graduates are a key part of our strategy for developing a qualified workforce of technical talent in our India team.
Our approach to welcoming new employees and nurturing existing ones has always been rooted in valuing individuals who bring diverse backgrounds and skill sets. For our incoming employees, we have carefully designed comprehensive programs that introduce them to our company culture and values. Our structured onboarding approach helps employees excel in the semiconductor industry.
In the context of the semiconductor industry, how does TI prioritize creating a more diverse workforce? Additionally, what are some DEI initiatives within the organization?
At TI, we believe our diverse backgrounds and perspectives are what make our products more innovative and our company stronger. We work to create an inclusive culture where we respect and encourage ideas, and where our people know that they can succeed and build long-term careers. For example, TI created the WiSH program previously mentioned, to inspire and support young women to choose and pursue a career in semiconductors and hardware.
Another initiative at TI – Women for Technical Leadership (WFTL) program-- equips women with the skills and confidence to excel in their roles. TI also has the Women’s Employee Network (WEN) which hosts regular events featuring women leaders who share their professional experiences and valuable insights, while fostering a collaborative and supportive community.
The WEN is one of our 15 employee resource groups in the TI Diversity Network (TIDN) that has helped educate and elevate topics that matter to employees. For example, the Pride Employee Network is our employee resource group for LGBTQ+ employees and allies. Pride engages employees through social and educational events focused on increasing the inclusion and understanding of the LGBTQ+ community, and coordinating volunteer opportunities with nonprofits that support those communities. Through the TIDN, open dialogues on relevant diversity topics engage leaders, managers, and employees, helping create a workplace where everyone feels welcome and valued.
In your experience, what are some talent training and development programs that have contributed to TI's expansion in the semiconductor market?
Our focus on training our future workforce has helped equip our engineers as they join the industry. For example, WiSH and the Research Associateships in Analog and Mixed Signal VLSI Design, and other university initiatives with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have proven to be instrumental in creating a talent pool of skilled engineers in this field.
We also offer a variety of training and development programs for our employees. Our comprehensive online learning platforms, mentoring and career development sessions, as well as professional development and assistance programs, encourage continuous learning. It has helped us to build a strong team of engineers and other functions like finance or human resources with expertise in critical areas in the semiconductor industry.
What are the key challenges in hiring and retaining skilled talent, and how is TI addressing these challenges?
With the anticipated growth of semiconductors in electronics, there is a greater need for skilled talent. TI sees three ways to address this challenge:
- Nurturing skilled talent: The industry requires talent with specialized skills and knowledge. The education offered in many institutions has not been standardized and requires a curriculum boost. Students must have access to practical applications in addition to theoretical concepts. Programs in collaboration with educational institutions have proven beneficial here. From our experience with the WiSH program, we have seen it is imperative for students to discuss semiconductors and hardware from an earlier stage before they begin planning specializations so that they can make an informed decision.
- Effective career development initiatives: At TI, besides the various career development opportunities available to employees, we also provide them with options to follow their interests. Opportunities like job rotations enable changing career paths and provide a holistic path for development. TI also offers a variety of benefits to employees and fosters diversity and inclusion.
- Shared company culture and values: Employees are more likely to stay with a company that has a strong culture and values, and that provides them with opportunities for growth and development. We ensure that in our workplace, employees feel valued, respected, and empowered. We also support employee volunteering and giving in the community. Since 2015, TI employees in India have volunteered over 70,000 hours to help solve challenges impacting their communities, including education, hunger, water conservation, women’s empowerment, and humanitarian relief.
As a result of these efforts, TI has been able to hire and retain a strong team of skilled employees.
What is the impact of collaboration with industry partners on TI’s talent-building efforts?
Collaboration in the industry is a critical component of TI's talent-building efforts. Through these efforts, we are able to provide our employees with access to holistic training opportunities, and state-of-the-art facilities and resources. This helps us to attract and retain top talent, and to develop a workforce that is equipped to meet the challenges of the future.
For example, the collaboration with IIT Madras to launch the TI-IIT Madras Analog Design Center (TI-AMDC) in 2019 provides employees with access to state-of-the-art facilities and resources, as well as the opportunity to collaborate with leading experts in the field.
We also collaborate with industry organizations on various training and development programs. For example, our partnership with the Automotive Electronics Council (AEC) India to offer a training program on automotive functional safety helps TIers develop the skills and knowledge they need to design and develop automotive electronics products that meet the highest safety standards.