Monday, December 8, 2008

HR and Innovation

A few weeks ago I listened to Terry Davis, MD of Coca Cola Amatil, talk at the Local Government HR conference on the topic of innovation and HR. Here are some of the key points that he put forward:

1. Terry stressed that particularly in tough times, what gets you through is having the “best team of people in place”.

2. The top brands will survive – the others will cease to exist.

3. Staff do what they are rewarded for most and this makes KPI’s integral to the business model. People gravitate to what hey are paid for and earnings are at risk based on performance.

4. People who own a strategy should be the ones developing it. People therefore come before strategy.

5. Business success depends on levels of engagement and how rewards are structured.

6. Core values are extremely important as this is what drives the business.

7. Community projects are important as they create higher levels of customer advocacy.

8. You need the right leadership to challenge the status quo – you need to be able to question things without fear of retribution.

9. Coca Cola has its own internal recruitment and does not outsource to an external agency. Key roles are filled via referrals and not through advertising. Files are kept on key people who will eventually be head-hunted.

10. Coca Cola is committed to a strong policy of diversity – 2 women out of 8 board members and 25% of senior leadership are women.

11. OHS features as a standard agenda item at board level.

12. You need to continuously innovate – even if at first you do not succeed. The ‘Mother’ product was not initially successful and has now been re-launched with great success. Failure is a way of learning.

13. Tough times mean that we will have to work much harder and much smarter to achieve what we want to. CEO’s need to be clear about what the goals are for the future to avoid coffee machine talks about who is next on the chopping block.

14. It is important for all employees to take leave. This refreshes everyone to come back with new ideas and also is valuable in eliminating petty fraud.

15. Work-life balance is not a key value at Coca Cola. There is no substitute for hard work and that is what life is about.

16. Set clear codes of conduct so that everyone knows how to respond in a range of situations and there are no issues around ethics.

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