Beiersdorf: Supporting employee development with growth
Grappling with a new breed in the workforce can be a challenge, but Beiersdorf sees it as more of an opportunity to grow employees and the company alike.
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“At Beiersdorf, we are cognizant of the needs of our changing workforce and work diligently to retain these important resources through our total rewards and career development programs,” said Lou Fata, director of field sales. “These ‘high-potentials’ want the investment by the company to mirror their own investment in their careers. Ongoing feedback and communication, timely and relevant recognition, and interesting assignments are critical to capture and maintain the interest and engagement of our burgeoning new talent.”
Fata noted that “global Beiersdorf” is taking steps aimed at building its next generation of new leaders. For instance, the company has allocated “headcount funding” to strategically critical areas, such as e-commerce and digitalization, with the objective of nurturing corporate and employee development alike.
Toward an identical end, Fata said managers strive to “build development opportunities organically”— for instance, through challenging assignments that require aspiring leaders to “stretch” their capabilities to address the tasks at hand, as well as via special projects.
Additionally, managers include employees in external share groups and industry organization memberships, special training opportunities and global workshops and projects. Internal functional programs allow employees to gain critical business competencies in their areas and/or to be identified to participate in special leadership and managerial excellence programs.
Similar concerted efforts are made to retain talent. These efforts encompass competitive total reward programs and the opening of doors for employees to further develop their careers in the United States and at other Beiersdorf affiliates entities abroad if they desire to be globally assigned. Each year, employees are evaluated and rewarded for their performance, as well as for the roles they have played in bolstering their departments’ growth potential and that of the Beiersdorf organization as a whole.
Employees also get the tools they need to adapt to changing business conditions and grow rapidly in the process. “As a sales organization, our teams manage their own P&Ls and are empowered to invest trade monies in the most effective and efficient programs to drive the business,” Fata stated. “As business conditions change, they have the autonomy to adjust and re-invest as they see fit in order to capitalize on emerging trends or changing market conditions.”
What’s more, employee development plans are constructed not only with the company’s desires in mind, but also in keeping with each employee’s interest in having a rich and varied career with Beiersdorf. An annual employee engagement program to ensure that all employees’ voices are heard, as well as each local affiliate and its managers, seeks to understand what actions drive increased employee involvement with the company and its brands.
“We feel it is important to continually cultivate all employees through career development planning,” Fata said. “Not only does it benefit the individual employee’s desires; it also creates more value and productivity, helping us to ultimately achieve our end goal of a successful Beiersdorf.”
GSK offers a world of opportunities
GlaxoSmithKline employs more than 100,000 people around the globe. But its size doesn’t inhibit the company from having a very personal approach to grooming its future leaders.
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The first point of entry is the Future Leaders Program, which targets stand-out candidates as they graduate from universities. GSK is willing to give graduates a chance to get their first working experience. “Their mind is like an unwritten book,” said Line De Decker, VP human resources for Europe and Americas at GSK Consumer Health. “They go on a rotation program that offers so many experiences they can learn from.”
Participants in the Future Leaders Program gain broad-ranging experience working across a variety of business functions. During the rotations, employees experience different roles from marketing and sales to communications and supply chain. Throughout the program, GSK managers and mentors are readily available to help accelerate the learning and set the candidates on the path to success.
The Future Leaders Program typically selects graduates through a competitive process. “They really are the leaders for the future of our company,” De Decker said. “We want the best and the brightest.”
To attract employees with prior commercial experience and MBA degrees on their resumes, GSK has the Esprit Program. This also is a rotational program curated to craft tomorrow’s leaders. The Esprit associates take on a series of stretching commercial management roles, both within their home region and international markets. “I am so impressed with every single one of the Esprit associates I have interacted with,” De Decker said.
GSK also has innovative initiatives to retain its employees. One of its jewels is the Pulse Volunteer Project. “We send employees on a six-month mission to work with a nonprofit organization, such as Save the Children,” De Decker said.
The employees are matched with an interest, such as a physician who travels to a country to operate on children with eye disease. The opportunity is available to all GSK employees. Some success stories include Randy Easterly, a retail category solutions manager, who in 2010 spent six months working with Direct Relief International after a major earthquake hit Haiti. “Being a Pulse volunteer was one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life,” Easterly said. “During my time working with Direct Relief International, I was able to use my business skills that were developed at GSK to help Direct International. Pulse opens your eyes to a totally different world than you live in day to day.”
“This is a very original way of engaging people,” De Decker said. “They come back as better leaders and employees. They can put things into perspective, and they learn to think out of the box. It is a wonderful experience.”
It also dovetails nicely with millennials’ quest to “do good,” while also creating lifetime experiences. “They get to do something they care about and experience something they might never get to do in their careers,” De Decker added.
Not surprisingly, GSK has an enviably high retention rate. That also is supported by a development theory called 70-20-10. What this refers to is that 70% of career development is on the job, 20% is through coaching and mentoring, and 10% is formal training. To that end, GSK invites employees to engage in dialogues with managers and build conversations based on job experiences. “Development is much more than formal training courses,” De Decker said.
Millennials bring bountiful benefits to companies, De Decker added. She said they are broad-thinking, flexible and can work across boundaries, including not only countries, but also function. Rather than driven to climb the proverbial career ladder, they don’t only want to go up. “It isn’t only about the ladder,” De Decker said. “It is about the lattice. Broadening their experience is worth as much as stepping up.”
Their networking acumen — sharpened through social networking — has made millennials more proactive in connecting. “They build a web of connections, they have friends across the world and are at ease with different cultures,” she said. Millennials also help develop business strategies for a digital world.
De Decker coaches future leaders to build their paths in a methodical manner. “I tell them to think two roles ahead and build experience step by step,” De Decker said. “Let each role be a stepping stone for the next move.” She also encourages the next generation to learn a language, which is “almost like having another degree.”
GSK appeals to people with core values that match its mission. Some employees have joined because they witnessed babies die of a vaccine-preventable disease or to help alleviate pain they’ve watched loved ones struggle with, De Decker noted. “Our people help change the world.”
Ansell: Value system drives employees, company growth
In the world of HBC manufacturing and beyond, the best and brightest people — not the products themselves — have become the linchpin for growth. It’s against this backdrop that Ansell, in the “spirit of growing a positive culture,” has over the past seven years developed a value system that is the basis for recruiting, motivating and training talent.
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“The goal is that everyone will have a vision for themselves and for the company that drives growth and innovation,” said Carol Carrozza, VP marketing, North America for Ansell’s sexual wellness global business unit.
The value system has seven tenets — integrity, trustworthiness, creativity, involvement, passion, agility, teamwork and excellence. These tenets, Carrozza explained, are in Ansell’s view the characteristics of an engaged employee, a future leader and a potential mentor for incoming recruits. “It’s understood that an individual who espouses these qualities will drive an innovative and engaging culture that is people-oriented; candid and transparent; decisive; global-and long-term oriented; driven to be faster, better and smarter; proactive; and risk-tolerant,” she said. “This, more than the fact that someone” has a certain education or worked for a competitor in a similar position, “is what Ansell looks for in its recruits.”
A comprehensive mentoring program complements and supports this value system. To allow for a more open relationship between mentors and mentees, the latter are typically assigned to mentors outside their direct reporting line. Mentors and men-tees are matched according to disciplines, competencies and personal empathy for the individual mentee. The mentor role does not include taking over responsibility for mentee performance reviews or staffing-related decisions from mentees’ managers. It does encompass sharing expertise or perspective to develop a specific mentee skill-set and/or capability, as well as offering clear, concrete suggestions for growth, as well as perspectives based on personal experience. Ansell uses the PIE form of mentoring, especially for female mentees. This, Carrozza said, helps them to build business performance, enhance their executive image and gain exposure.
To illustrate the benefits of the mentoring program, Carrozza shared an anecdote about one woman whom she mentored — an Ansell employee who had come from France to work for the company in the United States. While the woman was “brilliant,” Carrozza recalled, she had difficulty relating to others on her team, and every first interaction with new colleagues “started off on the wrong foot, with a lot of antagonism.” Carrozza determined that part of the issue was related to the fact that the mentee, being French, “loved the debate — which is not something we do in the United States.” In addition to other assistance, Carrozza shared with the mentee four concrete steps to follow when communicating with colleagues — “an approach that would start an open exchange or dialogue.” Considerable improvement followed.
There is other training as well. For instance, Ansell — which has affiliates in more than 50 countries around the world — now maintains a diversity program aimed at assisting its employees in working with people of other cultures and genders. The program includes self-teaching online, as well as in-person workshops held at various times of the year.
“The objective here is that there is compassion and empathy when people work across borders,” Carrozza said.
Training within disciplines — for instance, brand management, manufacturing operation and supply chain — is provided in-house. A three-day leadership workshop rounds out the options.
Training and mentoring notwithstanding, Carrozza said Ansell still encounters challenges related to the new workforce. “They’re not patient, and they have big expectations,” she stated. “They come in and ask how quickly they can become a vice president, and how quickly they can accelerate. We have to set expectations. We say, ‘we’ll work with you, but it has to be a two way street.’ They need to understand and live by our values, and have the competencies that suggest they are ready to move up. It takes effort from both sides, but it can happen when it all comes together.”