Build From Within To Hone A Competitive Edge

Kirby Zhang, HR Manager at Procter & Gamble, explains why the consumer goods company has built from within for over a century.

At Procter & Gamble (P&G), we choose to grow leaders over their entire careers, over decades, to fill our leadership positions from within. Known as “build from within”, this has been our HR practice for over a century. We consider this a key competitive advantage that has helped us develop employees to lead the company’s globalisation, while preserving a strong culture rooted in the company’s purpose, values and principles.

“Build from within” means we invest in getting in the best talent at the entry level and hold managers accountable for building leaders at all levels in the organisation. We have seen this work over the decades here in Asia, where 95% of our management team are home-grown Asian talents.

There have been many tangible benefits of building from within, including:

  • Effective collaboration. Since people “grow up” together in the company, they get to know each other well. Hence there is a high level of trust and better collaboration is built.
  • Strong employee commitment and ownership. Due to the strong founda tion of trust, our people focus on building businesses and organisations within P&G, knowing that there is a broad range of opportunities from a career standpoint.
  • Faster decision-making. People understand better the company culture and expectations – an organisational shorthand is developed. So decisions are made faster.
  • Delivering consistent results. Since most of the leaders are built from within, we can better predict their behaviours, decisions and results based on our long-term assessment of these individuals.
  • Stronger retention. Despite external competition, we have attracted and re- tained people in P&G. Overall, our retention has been better than the industry’s.

To make the “build from within” strategy work, we have structured the total HR organisation to support it, including systems to attract, retain and develop talent.

First, we need to build a very strong recruiting system. At P&G, recruiting is not only HR’s job. Instead, there is a designated business leader sponsor who takes personal responsibility to support recruiting activities.

Second, we build a robust training programme to ensure that developing capabilities is every manager’s priority. We also make sure the best people managers are rewarded through performance evaluation and recognition. Our managers take pride in developing people to eventually take over their jobs and become even better than his or her managers.

In Asia, P&G also invests in coaching tools and courses to build managers’ leadership and management capabilities.

Since the opening of P&G’s Asia Leadership Development Centre in 2010, we have trained over 2,000 managers.

Third, it is crucial to build a culture of diversity as a “build from within” company – this includes nationality, ethnicity, gender diversity as well as style diversity.

Fourth, we put a robust talent development system in place, including role rotations and international assignments to build the experiences and capabilities of future leaders. Many of our top leaders have experience across different regions and organisations within the company.

Last but not least, we make sure that external focus is in our DNA. We benchmark against different industries to learn from the best. We also invite external speakers from best-in-class companies to give their perspectives in our training sessions. And we take many best approaches from organisations we admire and reapply them in our policies.

At P&G, we recognise that people are the foundation of our success. We continuously draw back to the basics of understanding our employees’ motivation and value systems to develop holistic people systems and programmes that can meet those needs. This focus on our people enables us to grow not just as individuals, but also to deliver greater value to the more than 2 billion consumers we serve in Asia – not just today, but for generations to come.

    Nov 26, 2014
  • link facebook
  • link twitter
  • link whatsapp
  • link email