Top-level training helps cola giant rebuild trust and cut staff turnover

An 18-month leadership programme at Coca-Cola Enterprises has increased
trust and commitment among employees and lowered staff turnover.

Simon Brocket, vice-president of HR at Coca-Cola, said the programme was
introduced after a management opinion survey showed that the business’
leadership wasn’t trusted.

"Despite business results being good, labour turnover was 30 per cent,
and people started asking why," he said.

Coca-Cola, with Lane 4 leadership consulting, began by taking its
vice-president level executives on a three-day, off-site exercise in an effort
to build cohesion, and to talk about the role of the individual and the team.

The company then introduced seven ‘strands’ to build commitment, and drive
up trust and loyalty. These included getting the company chief to behave
differently, using one-to-one coaches with the firm’s top 40 leaders, and
breaking down barriers between the teams by using workshops.

Vice-presidents teamed up with directors to investigate areas of the
business, and make changes to affect working lives.

In Brocket’s presentation, ‘When passion for the brand is just not enough’,
he told delegates at the Richmond Events’ HR Forum, aboard the Aurora, that to
change culture you need to build genuine commitment to change.

Brocket has been pleased with the results so far.

"Qualitative data shows that there is more flexibility, more challenge
and more initiative taking," he said.

Since the leadership programme was completed, employee turnover has dropped
to 12 per cent. The employee survey also shows that trust in the company is up
by 30 per cent, and that organisational commitment has risen by 40 per cent.

By Quentin Reade

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