A top-to-bottom employee and stakeholder collaboration process was critical for beverages company, Frucor Suntory, in identifying and adopting core business values to help ensure its organisational culture was ‘future-fit’ to drive business strategy, according to its CEO.

Frucor Suntory, a leading Australasian drinks company and the market leader in energy drinks in Australia and New Zealand, facilitated workshops with 700 staff across 21 locations in Australia and New Zealand to develop its new core business values.

“We set ourselves an ambitious vision for the future and in order to achieve the goals we set, we needed to think about our culture and values and how they’re going to help drive us,” said Jonathan Moss, CEO of Frucor Suntory.

“We wanted to find out what our people think about culture, our business values and ‘the way we do things around here,” said Moss, who explained that the project engaged the entire Frucor team in finding out what employees thought a “powerful culture” looks like and whether the previous values were going to deliver the outcomes needed for the future.

Historical trends also indicated a three-year dip in engagement with the business values – and based on this trend, a dip was imminent in 2016.

To help counter this, Sally Cannan, leadership and culture director for Frucor Suntory, said the business values project was driven from the bottom up and its main strategy in the process was collaboration.

“It’s important to engage the whole team to give everyone a chance to have a voice and essentially create together,” said Cannan.

“This ultimately takes longer but you know you’ve got it right when people say the values feel so natural and make sense when they are launched.

“Culture is the fuel that powers our business forward to achieve our goals”

“Any change to company values has to be treated with the utmost of respect – you have to engage that ‘family’ before you’ve even started the process so they understand the why,” she said.

“We went into this with a clean slate. We had no preconceived ideas about where we would end up, so we could have ended up with no changes if that’s what people wanted.

Frucor Suntory (which recently changed its name from Frucor), employs nearly 1000 people across Australia and New Zealand, and has a portfolio of more than 30 brands including V, Just Juice, Fresh Up, Sparkling OH and OVI and Maximus.

In total, around 700 employees attended 40 workshops across Australia and New Zealand. These were facilitated by 48 members of Frucor Suntory’s HR and business values teams across 21 locations.

142 worksheets were completed and 4126 votes were cast, and overall, Cannan said there was positive participation, energy and high levels of engagement.

“The developing part was quite a specific, technical approach using Excel and N Vivo research software to analyse the data,” she said.

“Once that was done, we shared the results with the key stakeholder groups – the values teams, the HR teams, the country leadership teams and the Frucor Suntory senior leadership team.

“We tested, talked, and tried different words and phrases while always being conscious of being true to the Frucor ‘doing things differently’ mentality.

“It’s not just about coming up with some words, though. It’s about what you do with that once they’re live.”

“Any change to company values has to be treated with the utmost of respect – you have to engage that ‘family’ before you’ve even started the process so they understand the why”

Frucor Suntory’s new business values: “together”, “go for it”, and “make a difference” – aim to encourage teamwork, creative thinking and a sense of pride, said Cannan, who added that the business values play an important role in talent acquisition and continuing to focus on the right talent fit for the business.

“We’ve always focused on finding the right people for the role with similar values to the ones we think are important,” she said.

“In any organisation the right fit is so critical both for the individual and the organisation.

“This project has really helped to sharpen our process for finding talent who are going to succeed personally and help make Frucor Suntory successful.”

Cannan said that some of the initial business benefits include better clarity, focus, clearer behavioural expectations for the future, and the business would be able to better gauge the impact of this with the next engagement survey results.

Moss explained that a key to the process to-date is not seeing culture and business values as separate to business goals and commitments.

“Culture is the fuel that powers our business forward to achieve our goals,” said Moss, who added that hard financial goals are critical measures of success.

“However, we have also overlaid specific and measurable goals around expanding our low and no sugar drink portfolio, being the best place to work, team engagement and the environment.

“We really find our ‘sweet spot’ when these all work together,” he said.

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