Cola giant sees turnaround in fortunes after HR intervention

Building leadership capability at the top of Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has
led to a huge drop in employee turnover and minimised the damage from bad

Vice-president of HR, Simon Brocket, told Personnel Today that embedding HR
at board level was key in turning round a company dogged by low confidence in
its leadership team and low employee commitment.

CCE, which manufactures and distributes Coca-Cola products and employs 5,000
people, took further hits over media revelations that its Dasani mineral water
originated from public water supplies in Kent.

However, new figures show employees’ trust in leadership has gone up by 30
per cent and commitment up 40 per cent, while labour turnover has fallen 66 per
cent since 2000.

After CCE’s 2000 employee survey showed a discontented workforce and
turnover far exceeding the national average, Brocket contracted Lane4 training to
help build a new cohesion at board level, beginning with one-to-one coaching
sessions to prepare executives for off-site training.

"Off-site events can be a blood bath," said Brocket. "I
wanted to have productive conversation and to create the right climate you have
to have open-mindedness."

Brocket oversaw a programme of leadership team meetings, workshops,
individual coaching, upward feedback and applied learning projects.

The programme has resulted in greater interaction across functional
barriers, higher employee commitment and a better appreciation of training
across the organisation.

He said that managers and staff at CCE valued HR because it understood the
issues they faced and was able to help shape solutions that meet the company’s
business needs.

"In some companies, HR dislocates itself and becomes HR in a black
box," Brocket said.

"It is not able to connect to the business strategy and then when it
generates its disconnected product, it just throws it out and hopes for the

By Michael Millar

How Coca-Cola prioritises HR projects

Project prioritisation criteria                                     Weighting

Contributes to business performance                             10
Promotes early delivery of business benefits                   4
Maximises employee engagement                                  8
Improves or simplifies people management activities      5
Supports legal or regulatory compliance                        2

Leadership behaviours and
organisational commitment


– Identifying and articulating a vision

– Being an appropriate role model

– Fostering acceptance for group goals


– Providing individualised support

– Providing contingent reward feedback


– Setting high performance expectations

– Offering intellectual stimulation

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