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Career development

From the very beginning, investing in and developing talent and leadership has been one of our top priorities and that process is deeply embedded in our corporate culture.

We place a strong emphasis on developing a deep bench-strength among managers and leaders. We understand that success stems from the ability of our people to execute our multiple growth initiatives, so our people are empowered to grow their careers across multiple businesses and geographies, maximising their learning and development from different roles and business contexts.

This means each time a new business is started, a new geography is opened, or a new value chain initiative is developed, we are able to deploy a core team of leaders and managers who have the capabilities to spearhead the opportunity.

Effectively integrating new employees into the unique culture of Olam has always been a critical factor in ensuring high team performance. A systematic on-boarding process called Cultivate has helped in reducing attrition for new employees and elevating performance levels. This process facilitates the new employee to immediately build strong psychological bonds within the organisation.

Another signature process that supports the integration of new managers is the Core Process Workshop, a 4 day highly interactive programme with the CEO. This workshop is one of the fundamental processes contributing to strategy, alignment and culture creation in Olam. This focuses on providing strategic clarity about the building blocks of Olam’s business model. During 2015, 160 new managers participated in the 3 workshops held solely anchored by our CEO over 4 days.

In 2015, we initiated a bold approach to enabling our managers to develop, grow and deliver to their full potential. We redefined our Performance Management Process introducing a process that relied less on the past, and is more future-focused. The case for change emerged from our employee survey feedback which indicated that 66% of our managers experienced the performance management process to be ineffective in driving performance. The performance appraisal discussions tended to focus on past achievements and justifying the performance rating rather than improving performance to deliver on potential.

We launched AspireDelivering Potential in January 2016 targeting our managerial cadre as a pilot before rolling out to the wider business. Aspire represents a future focus shifting the primary focus to timely conversations anchored around performance, development and careers rather than rating justification. Aspire aims to impact 3 fundamental individual needs that help drive discretionary behaviour:

(1) How do I enhance my role and its significance to the business?

(2) How am I doing and how should I improve?

(3) What is my future?

At the start of 2016 we energised the goal setting process through Strategy Sharing Sessions delivered by Business and Function Heads targeting managers. These sessions are aimed at helping managers set high impact goals aligned to the broader strategy and annual operating plans of the business enhancing the significance of individual roles. You can read more about the process of embedding Aspire in the ‘How We Do It’ section of this Report.