Cadbury committed to employee training and development

Cadbury has ruled out slashing its training budgets in response to the global economic crisis, according to the firm’s global HR chief.

Julia Freeman, people capability and process director at the confectionary giant, told Personnel Today it took longer for larger, multinational firms to feel the true pinch of the credit squeeze and insisted the firm was committed to continuing employee development despite the financial backdrop.

She said: “We are cost-conscious, but there’s been nothing that says [courses] are going to be cancelled or training budgets slashed. It takes longer for [some] bigger global organisations to feel the effect of the slowdown. We’re not like [construction equipment company] JCB which has found it cannot sell its products.”

She added: “I wouldn’t say we are recession-proof – if people are cutting back on grocery shopping there is a knock-on effect, but it’s not like we need to keep building big offices, for example, to survive.”

The chocolate maker went through a global organisational restructure in October, which scrapped its four-region operating structure and reduced 13 business units worldwide to seven, reporting directly to the chief executive.

The move will lead to the loss of 250 jobs worldwide, although Freeman said the changes were more in response to the overall business vision, rather than the economic climate. “The restructure should result in [people] making decisions faster, removing unnecessary duplication. Hopefully staff will feel the organisation is working more efficiently,” she said.

Freeman added that all line managers at Cadbury’s had a ‘managing people’ objective placed within their overall job objectives in July this year, to ensure that talent management and employee motivation remained a key priority during the restructuring.

She said: “HR has a part to play to encourage talent management, but it is really down to having experienced line managers in the business. Employees need to know about the impact they have on the business and know that they really make a difference.”

Todd Stitzer, Cadbury’s chief executive, said in October: “Our new streamlined organisation, together with additional cost reduction initiatives, will increase the focus on implementing our strategic plans and underpin delivery of our margin targets.

“Despite weaker economic conditions, we expect strong profit growth for the year and reconfirm the revenue and margin guidance we gave in July.”

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