The global marketplace has forced American companies to reevaluate their hiring policies. Although employment legislation has made equal opportunity a legal issue, today’s corporate environment requires it. As companies do more business overseas, they must employ individuals with the necessary skills to operate within foreign languages and cultures (Dessler, 2008). Company X is not immune to this. Although diversity may not have arrived yet, it is coming.
Nestle is known throughout the world as a standard bearer for diversity. Since Nestle operates in a relatively small home market, Switzerland, it must operate in foreign markets in order to compete. Currently, Nestle operates in 86 different countries. It is the philosophy of Nestle to embrace the local culture in each market while maintaining the same corporate principles. Nestle embraces this philosophy so diligently that of their twelve board members, only one is Swiss (Reichlin, 2004).
In their quest to embrace diversification, Nestle has adopted two initiatives. The first initiative is an extensive management training program at their own Swiss training facility. The individuals invited to this training are high potential managers who are expected to eventually join Nestle’s executive management. The month long training focuses heavily on the benefits of diversification. Additionally, Nestle partners with the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) to provide additional education resources for their management all-stars. Finally, Nestle’s executive managers are expected to give back to the company by acting as instructors and mentors at the training facility (Reichlin, 2004).
Nestle has also adopted a policy of promoting from within. By promoting individuals who have already gone through the company’s indoctrination process, they are guaranteed to have upper management that believes in the company’s ideals of improved performance via diversification. The direct contact between upper management and executive management trainees guarantees a solid foundation for this process. This promotion from within intiative also lends itself to the company’s decentralized management model (Reichlin, 2004).
Company X Best Practices
Company X must begin to develop it’s diversification strategy now. Based on the examples of top performing companies, Company X should adopt the following best practices. First, embrace diversification at the highest levels. Employee sentiment in this regard often trickles down from the top. If Company X is going to be successful in diversifying it’s workforce, executive management must believe that diversification is positive, and prove it.
Second, Company X must develop a management training program that is aimed at spreading the company policy on diversification. This program should target high potential management candidates and strive to prepare them for executive management. This is another situation where management buy-in is guaranteed to pave the way for success at all employee levels.
Finally, once the executive management and training is in place, Company X must strive to promote from within. Pro-diversification attitudes may need to be nurtured. Promoting from within guarantees a certain level of stability in this regard.
The important consideration when building a diversification strategy is constant re-evaluation. As the strategy is implemented, its effect on the company will likely be felt immediately. It is important to gauge the reaction of employees at all levels to determine if the strategy is working or whether it should be modified or enhanced. It is important for management and HR to maintain an open door policy so that employees with concerns regarding the new strategy feel free to discuss their thoughts or anxieties. Diversification is a necessary part of working in the global workplace. It is important for the company to understand that all employees may not feel comfortable in this new environment.
Dessler, G. (2008). Human Resource Management. (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Reichlin, I. (2004). Getting the global view: Nestle, led by Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, climbs to the #1 spot in this year’s Best Companies for Leaders. The Chief Executive. Retrieved January 12, 2009.