Positive Changes at Volvo Cars

Today we had the opportunity to visit the worldwide headquarters of Volvo right outside the city of Göteborg in Sweden. The day was full of a range of activities, from hearing the VP of Human Resources Björn Sällström give a company overview to learning about the measures Volvo takes to ensure optimal safety in all of their vehicles. Further, we were given a tour of the assembly line in the Volvo factory and we even had the opportunity to test drive some of the 2013 models.

During our time at Volvo, we learned a bit about the human resource department at Volvo and the importance of human capital. Volvo Cars was bought from Ford by Geely Holding Group, a Chinese holding company. This has led to some interesting recruitment practices in China. Sällström stated that Volvo had to essentially recruit from scratch in China, which led to 4,000 individuals attending a Volvo job fair. Further, Volvo recruits 80 people per week in China, primarily for production purposes. In Europe, the recruitment model is different, based prominently on competence. Volvo’s investment in human capital in China is apparent, and training is of utmost importance so that Volvo can stay focused on its three core competencies of safety, quality, and the environment.

Throughout our time at Volvo, the importance of technology was stressed as a means of achieving Volvo’s goal of zero deaths/major injuries and zero emissions by the year 2020. During the tour of the assembly line, we noticed how important the individual workers are to this goal as well. Although the factory is primarily operated by robots, humans provide the necessary checks and balances to ensure that each vehicle is correctly built and will operate with safety and the highest quality. In summary, Volvo Cars displayed the importance of humans as a resource, both in China and Sweden.