Empowering Line Managers
Founded in: 2003
Number of employees:
more than 5 000
Case: An FMCG Company
Project: Empowering Line Managers
Company Profile: A large international FMCG company with production facilities in the regions of Russia.
Company Values: quality, responsibility, mutual benefit, efficiency, freedom.
Placing a great emphasis on supporting employees within the company, the company trusted this task to the line managers. Being a manager in this company means "feeling" employees, supporting them, minding their emotional state, identifying their aspirations, and skillfully guiding them. When selecting managers, quite strict entry filters are used to make sure that only people whose values coincide with those of the company – continuous development and empathy for employees – get in managerial positions.
Gender balance is taken into account as part of the selection process for line managers. Teams can consist of 5 to 30 people, as the company tries to avoid situations when a manager has only 1-2 people in their subordination. In that case, a line manager has to also double as a common specialist, to the detriment of their leadership role.
The company offers several tools for developing leadership skills. The first is mentoring from the immediate supervisor to support and assist. An employee, together with their line manager, chooses a path for the development of their competencies and puts it in a mandatory development plan, which everyone in the company has. Under this plan, the employee is assigned annual business goals, as well as goals for the development of competencies necessary for both their current and future roles. At the end of each year, the results are summarized and the employee is evaluated and discusses his or her career opportunities with the supervisor.
The second tool is a set of training programs that all new line managers must complete. Those include both basic programs related to recruitment and onboarding, as well as programs that help build and manage a highly effective team (team development, talent management, engagement, etc.). The company has a separate center of expertise that creates training opportunities for employees and determines the methodology of the educational process. The center organizes training sessions, ‘quick bite’ short educational sessions, panel discussions, runs the corporate training portal and library, and creates materials to help create quality development plans and assess progress. In this case, over the years, training and development have already become part of the company's DNA, so the success of these processes is the responsibility of the employees themselves and their managers.
In addition, there is the Great Line Manager Club, which meets for 2-3-hour-sessions, online or offline, with the support of the Associate Relations team, to exchange practices and knowledge and find ways of solving the most pressing problems.
Meetings on specific topics can be initiated by the company or by line managers themselves. The use of the knowledge obtained is up to the line managers.
Says Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development:
"Line managers are responsible in their cultural DNA for what they do. In our culture, trusting their employees is the tool for managers to build mutually beneficial relationships and find ways of running the business that could be beneficial to all parties."
The level of employee engagement in the Russian division of the company is 92 p.p. The annual engagement survey is a proven feedback tool for gauging a line manager's performance. Its results are used to identify areas for improvement and development of the manager and the team, to allocate time for a team meeting and to create an action plan for the next year (impact planning). If the results of the survey show that the line manager fails to cope with his/her responsibilities, he/she will be offered new opportunities and options to develop his/her managerial skills or alternative ways to continue his/her career. In addition, the company has developed an internal recruitment system, a special referral program for internal employees to recommend external candidates, and a career portal, through which every employee can submit their CV for a vacancy they are interested in.