What does it take to build a positive corporate culture?
Lesley Salmon, SVP, global chief information officer at Kellogg Company, says that she spends a lot of time thinking about her team and how to engage its members in ways that deliver continually improving results for the consumer packaged goods giant’s stakeholders.
Ms. Salmon does not believe that one-third of your life should be spent working at a job that has you constantly saying to yourself, “Oh no, I have to go to that place again.”
In an essay on building a positive corporate culture, Ms. Salmon quotes Sheryl Sandberg, the former chief operating officer at Meta and founder of Leanin.org: “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”
She calls having the opportunity to lead “a privilege” and believes that passion and empathy are the keys to helping team members get the best out of themselves.
Kellogg’s IT organization, she writes, has been built on four pillars: having a purpose, creating an environment of continuous learning, breaking down silos and having a winning strategy.
Having a shared purpose helps team members come to work with renewed energy on a day-in and day-out basis.
“At Kellogg, our vision is a good and just world where people are not just fed but fulfilled,” writes Ms. Salmon. “Our purpose is to create better days and a place at the table (or keyboard) for everyone. That sense of purpose is the bedrock for how we approach everything — from people, processes, technology and data — and, ultimately, how we’re creating the future of food.”
Intellectual curiosity and continuous learning are essential for growth, says Ms. Salmon. Kellogg, she writes, makes significant investments in skills and leadership development.
One team is the mantra at Kellogg, according to Ms. Salmon. “We (IT) are continuously breaking down silos, partnering, and experimenting with the commercial teams to drive business outcomes.”
She cited a 2020 example where a team member learned that more than two million in the UK are unable to read packages due to sight loss. The company added Navilens technology to its packaging to allow the site impaired to learn about ingredients using their smartphones. The technology is being brought to the U.S. next.
“We’re creating a workplace defined by personalized solutions, well-being and a focus on experimentation, culture and inclusivity. A team becomes the competitive advantage when you get this right,” she writes.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think are the pillars upon which positive corporate cultures are built? What do you see as examples of positive corporate cultures at work in retail?