How HR drives Blackmores’ business growth and success

HR has played a major role in Blackmores’ 13 years of strong sales growth through helping to ensure the right people are in place at every stage and location, according to the company’s CEO and MD, Christine Holgate.

“Having a sound structure to recruit people has been enormously important to us to build the business over this period of time,” she said.

“The three keys to our success are really product, people and passion, and you need a combination of those three things to be successful.”

“Underpinning this is our strong culture, and the one common purpose that holds us together across the countries we’re located in is that we passionately believe in the benefits of natural health and the opportunity to help individuals live better lives as a result.”

Blackmores now operates across 11 markets in the Asia-Pacific region, and its long-term growth is underpinned by a creative 10-year vision, supported by more detailed strategies over a three- to five-year timeframe.

Diversifying its business and building new sources of growth (especially across Asia) one of Blackmores’ strategic priorities, and the others are supporting the Australian business and connecting with customers to improve profitable growth; improving innovation and building a product leadership position through Blackmores Institute; and continuing to improve operational effectiveness and transform the business’s cost profile.

These priorities are communicated clearly and transparently with each staff member (a recent staff survey indicated that 95 per cent of employees knew exactly what the goals of the organisation were).

“If your employees understand what you’re trying to do and why you’re trying to do it, then you’ve got a significantly higher chance of success,” said Holgate.

“I know some organisations believe strategy should be confidential and locked in a drawer. That’s certainly not my view, and it’s not the culture of this organisation.

“My view is if we all know where we’re trying to get to, we stand a much stronger chance of getting there together.”

HR has also played a significant role in helping to engage its local workforce, which is employed under an enterprise agreement.

This was renegotiated just over a year ago, and Holgate says HR played a leading role in helping with this process and securing “enormous support” from its employees for the new three-year agreement (under which 10 per cent of profit is shared with staff if profit growth is created in any half-year period, or otherwise 7.5 per cent is shared if there is no profit growth).

“No one’s really going to introduce someone daft into the organisation, because we want the company to be successful, because we all benefit and get rewarded from that,” said Holgate.

“This is a great way of improving alignment and it also benefits our shareholders, because when you align the compensation and rewards of employees to the needs and requirements of shareholders, that only helps the company to be successful.”

For the full interview with Holgate and story on how HR drives commercial outcomes in Blackmores, see the current issue of Inside HR magazine. Image source: Hayden Brotchie