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L?ike the rest of the brewing industry, in the past few years Molson Coors has been experiencing strong financial pressure caused by rapid tax inflation on beer, changing drinking habits and an exodus of regulars from pubs. Our response to this challenge is an ambitious vision: to become a top four global brewer in terms of profitability in the next couple of years (we’re currently number five). In early 2009, we created “Our Brew”, a global cultural framework designed to guide the business to long-term success. Our leaders wanted to roll it out personally to the entire workforce and use storytelling and involvement to bring it to life. The challenge for our team was to make it real for our 2,300 colleagues based around the UK and Ireland. We decided to embed the cultural framework through our national conference – but we had to ensure that it was not a one-off event and that colleagues didn’t perceive it as an expensive day out for the privileged few. As skilled and hardworking as our team is, we knew we couldn’t do this by ourselves, so we teamed up with employee engagement specialist Involve, which created a highly participative one-day experience, held in February 2010. More than 1,000 employees took part in the event, during which they explored seven zones representing the business’s seven growth pillars. Every zone was fully interactive, with lots of practical examples and opportunities for staff to consider the company’s priorities using a variety of learning styles. For example, the challenge of improving our profitability was illustrated by using jugs of barley as a metaphor for explaining how our business works. It may sound simple, but it was powerful – everyone left feeling very clear about what needed to happen and how they could contribute to making it real. Given the large population of production shift workers in our breweries, not everyone could attend the one-day experience. So to ensure that our message reached every single person, Involve helped us to design and deliver a “Decide & Do” roadshow for the remaining 1,600 employees and suppliers, with a condensed 1.5-hour session using exactly the same techniques as the main event. In all, 98 training sessions were held, reaching 1,562 individuals and further hard-wiring Our Brew as the force to drive our leadership, talent and career development agendas.And it hasn’t stopped there. We believe in the power of storytelling, so we continue to capture stories of how people are bringing Our Brew to life, and share them with all employees via a special section on the intranet and an internal social networking site. So what have we learnt? Face-to-face meetings are the most effective way to convey messages, but you need to ensure that they’re involving. And don’t think that great events with long-lasting results can happen by chance – they require investment and precision. Lastly, to really involve all your staff, every single member of the board needs to be committed to the project and to role model the right behaviours.Our engagement programme has helped us to move the Our Brew strategy off a piece of paper to something that positively influences how our people think, feel and act. In 2010, we achieved EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) growth of 24 per cent, versus an 18 per cent target; our market share improved; and, significantly, employee engagement rose to 89 per cent.
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