Douglas Conant, the CEO of Campbell Soup Co. discussed the importance of employee engagement and how Campbell’s strategy to pay attention to this metric paid off for their company. Conant took over in 2001 when Campbell's was close to a takeover and its soup sales had drastically declined amid fierce competition. Furthermore, some of its best employees had left the company rather than wait out the hard times. Conant recognized that of all the elements related to corporate culture, employee engagement was the most highly correlated to shareholder returns. Therefore, to turn things around, Conant implemented the Campbell Promise of “Campbell Valuing People, People Valuing Campbell” with the strategy that: "To win in the market place, we believe you must first win in the workplace. I’m obsessed with keeping employee engagement front and center and keeping up energy around it.” In 2002 Conant hired the help of Gallup, a polling and research firm, to better understand his company’s engagement levels. Gallup found that 62% of Campbell’s managers were not actively engaged in their jobs and 12% were actively disengaged. Those numbers were some of the worst for any Fortune 500 firm ever polled. By Gallup standards the ideal level of employee engagement is to have a ratio of 12 actively engaged employees for every disengaged employee. Campbell’s ratio was only 2:1; that is, only 2 actively engaged employees for every disengaged employee.
Strategies to Motivate and Engage Employees
Bring down barriers, literally – Conant had barbed wire fencing removed from Campbell’s Camden, NJ facility to create pleasant work environment •
Promoting from within – replaced 300 of the company’s 350 leaders half of whom were promoted from within the company. This “changed the culture and sent a message that few could ignore.” •
Annual surveys of all 580 work groups simultaneously – managers review the results with their direct reports and everyone is updated on their...
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