Associate Spotlight: Ricaye Fosters Innovation Through Intentional Hiring

Posted on Sep 7, 2017 10:45:28 AM, by Mollie Williams

Our associates drive innovation at Milliken day in and day out. Through their contributions, meaningful designs are conceptualized, created, and implemented to help enhance the lives of those around us. Every associate adds their insight and perspective to the work we do, culminating in a global team with a unique approach to discovering new solutions and improving the world we share.

For Ricaye Harris, her work as a human resources professional is intrinsically tied to our culture of innovation. She finds and connects professionals to help grow and nurture the pioneering spirit found at Milliken. By sharing more about her role, Ricaye offers a behind-the-scenes look at what makes Milliken unique.


How did you come to work in human resources?

I always had a strong passion for people and for making connections, which led me toward leadership and engagement. I started as a Process Improvement Specialist in 2005, and while in that role, my manager prompted me to think about a human resources opening at our Magnolia plant. I ‘matched’ the role, through my personality, skill set, and professional goals, and joined the Magnolia team in 2006. I’ve been working in a human resources role ever since.

My path towards human resources really illustrates how Milliken approaches associate progression. The company looks at each associate individually, assesses their strengths, and matches them with positions that will foster those abilities.

As a member of Milliken’s Talent Acquisition team, what does your role entail?

My first human resources role was focused on employment, so I spent a lot of time recruiting and interviewing for open manufacturing positions. It helped me develop the skill set I use in my current role as Talent Acquisition Specialist. My primary goal is to position Milliken as the employer of choice. It involves constant networking to build connections, which ultimately allows me to encourage those connections to consider Milliken in an organic way. 

I have been with the company for 12 years, and during that time, I have had the opportunity to experience many different facets of Milliken. It allows me to share my well-rounded views of the company with a diverse audience. While I am presenting Milliken as an employer, I can share the opportunity through my personal experiences, creating an authentic connection.

I also spend a lot of time with the floor covering and the performance and protective textiles divisions to learn first-hand their talent needs, anticipate their wants, and help fill roles in a way that enhances the talent on their team. 

How does Talent Acquisition contribute to innovation at Milliken?

I think we help start the innovation process by attracting motivated and self-starting talent. Our culture of innovation is only as strong as the people we bring on our team. We want to hire new talent who will continue building on that legacy. We, as human resources professionals, cast a wide net to recruit people, with ranging skill sets like creative mindsets and out-of-the-box problem solving skills. Our Human Resources team is the first line for growing and carefully cultivating our culture.

Milliken looks to enhance the lives of those around us through meaningful design. How does human resources contribute to that mission?

Human resources helps fuel Milliken’s growth, and by fueling that growth, we contribute to our mission. Growth can be accomplished through many actions; one being our intentional investment in our associates. We promote cross-functional experiences and encourage training, so our associates are performing at their highest level. Through this emphasis on professional development, I like to think we are fueling innovation.

Culture plays a huge part in life at Milliken. How does your role cultivate Milliken culture?

We hire for cultural fit. We want to know about the whole person, learning about their skill sets and strengths, and then see if our open positions are a fit for the candidate. We can sell a company and sell a role, but if we prioritize candidates who fit our culture, our associates are more likely to stay with Milliken throughout their careers. By emphasizing culture, we are gearing ourselves towards engaged and passionate associates who want to meaningfully contribute to our company.

What is the most inspiring part of your role at Milliken?

I have a passion for people, so it brings me a deep sense of joy to help someone reach their potential. When I am able to match a candidate with an ideal role, everyone benefits, and it fosters a deep sense of personal fulfillment from the start. I find that feeling is something that nurtures my professional success.

What do you look for in an ideal candidate? 

Broadly speaking, I look for three major things: I want candidates to show excitement and experience, and be a self-starter. I encourage you to be excited about your ‘what.’ Your what is what drives you each day and keeps you engaged in your professional life. Showcasing experiences that highlight your leadership capabilities, even if it is just leading a project at school, speaks to your ability to lead a team – an important skill set we value at Milliken. And always be willing to elevate yourself. Being willing to grow and develop shows you will never be complacent and you are willing to learn constantly.


Ready to elevate yourself? Milliken Human Resources is looking to add to our growing team. If you are passionate about people, and want to contribute to Milliken innovation in a meaningful way, we encourage you to review our latest position openings here.

Topics: Innovation, Associate Spotlight

Mollie Williams

Written by Mollie Williams

Monthly Blog Updates

Recent Posts