Wrigley’s 4 keys to becoming an employer of choice

A culture of high performance is one of four key factors that have helped Wrigley Pacific become officially recognised as an employer of choice, according to its HR director.

The company, which was recognised in the 2013 Aon Hewitt Best Employers study along with only 19 other Australian organisations, has built a high performing workforce which helps the business address the challenges it faces by focusing on “making it mean more”, said Aaron Quinn, HR director for Wrigley.

“We work a lot on being really clear on what is expected of our people and having a real two way dialogue about that,” he said.

“That happens all the way through our organisation, right down to our factory floor, and this helps create a clear sense of purpose and a shared strategic intent.”

As part of this process, individual team members agree to mutual commitments and accountabilities for collaborative relationships, including key team processes and ways of working.

Teams then work together with leaders and each other to continually improve dynamics as they learn from their achievements and the challenges they encounter.

Employees are also are encouraged to challenge senior leaders and to identify ways the business can do things better across the three areas of “people, planet and performance”, said Quinn.

2. Development and engagement
A second factor which assisted Wrigley in achieving best employer status is its focus on growth of both the business and its employees, known internally as associates.

“We talk about our associate growth being key to business growth, so we don’t see these as two separate things,” said Quinn.

“We understand that we need to invest in our people if we’re going to grow our business, and that’s even been amplified now that we’re part of the Mars group (the world’s fastest growing confectionary company). That gives us a whole new range of opportunities which four years ago didn’t exist.”

Mars Incorporated is a four-time winner of The Gallup Great Workplace Award, and as part of the Mars group, Wrigley also benefits from participating in the Gallup engagement survey.

“This has given us a richness of data which is important in understanding what our people like about us and more importantly which areas we need to work on,” said Quinn.

“We take engagement very seriously and the actions that come out of the survey at the leadership level are very important. It’s about putting concrete measures in place around engagement – and that all starts with the leadership team.

“We have a lot of best practice sharing at that level as well. For example, we hold an ‘engagement summit’ once a year, where leaders come together and discuss and learn how to improve engagement as leaders in the business.”

3. Health and wellbeing
Another “big factor” which helped the company become recognised as an employer of choice is its health and wellbeing program, called Believe.

The program has three tiers depending on employee’s needs. Level 1 is an interactive online tool that provides employees with a 52 week personal fitness and lifestyle improvement program, while level 2 is a 40 minute, one-on-one health and fitness assessment and level 3 provides additional personal coaching and support for people with complex health risks.

Throughout the year the company also offers events and services such as health and fitness assessments, skin cancer checks, keynote speakers on food and nutrition, healthy eating initiatives and flu vaccinations.

4. A big brand
Quinn believes the fourth factor in helping Wrigley realise best employer status is the company’s brand itself.

“In FMCG, you’re competing against big, attractive and powerful brands,” he said.

“There is a knock-on effect when it comes to having those brands out in the marketplace. We mention our name when we’re looking for good people and there is immediate recognition of the brand.

“So the Wrigley name and heritage has been great not just in attracting people externally but internally as well with succession planning and leveraging global opportunities,” he said.