Square pegs in square holes

People are one of the six key components that make up The Coca-Cola Company’s 2020 Vision. “We need the right talent to meet strategic objectives and managing talent is a business-critical process,” says Ruwayne Kock, talent and development manager, Coca-Cola South Africa.

“We are committed to making Coca-Cola a great place to work [at] and in turn, want employees who are committed to and engaged with the organisation.”

At Coca-Cola the performance management process is grounded in one- and three-year business objectives. The business objectives are cascaded down from its executive to the functions, teams and individuals.

“It is vital while setting objectives that relate to the organisation, that we ensure these create meaning for each employee and [this] in turn motivates them to do their best. 

“Secondly, it is essential to have continuous monitoring and managing performance through mentoring and coaching. This takes place weekly, monthly or quarterly to establish what works and to track performance. In this way individuals receive ongoing feedback about their performance. 

“At our mid-year and annual reviews, each manager sits with every associate to establish achievement, performance and what they require to improve. At this time, they also track the individual’s career and development plans. This continuous feedback ensures every person is connected with the organisation and also knows where they stand,” says Kock.

“Year-end performance ratings are linked to merit increases, annual and long-term incentives. These are used to reward and recognise our people for their contributions. “ 

 Coca-Cola South Africa believes that inspiring leaders through living the company’s values empowers and encourages them. Employees are referred to as associates and every associate is expected to have passion and be committed “in heart and mind”.

Says Kock: “We have simplified our leadership behaviours and values to make them tangible and truly representing the types of qualities one would expect a leader to have in this current environment.

“We see leadership as inspiring and developing others, driving innovation, acting like an owner and collaboration as the means to leverage collective genius. Our other values include integrity, accountability, diversity and quality.”

Virtual University

Kock describes an important part of the development of associates as being its Coca-Cola University, a virtual infrastructure through which it offers its development programmes. While most of the programmes are standardised across the globe, there are also programmes offering specific skills tailored according to particular countries’ requirements.

Programmes have been sourced from various functional and leadership schools, including the Schools of Franchise Leadership, Consumer Marketing, and the Leadership Institute.

“It is very important that we extend access to the development programmes offered through the Coca-Cola University to our bottling partners. They are front-facing to our customers and we partner with them to build right capabilities.” 

 The Coca-Cola University’s online portal has a customer-friendly front end that every associate has access to. Using this portal, they can carry out self-reviews and book their own training.

“We look at a development philosophy built on 70/20/10, with 70% being on-the-job training and short-term assignments, for example, allowing someone who possibly wants to move from finance to marketing to spend time in a different department. Coaching and mentoring is around 20% and 10% is through the university.

“The bottom line is that all associates are developed to be capable and able to deliver their job to the best of their abilities. Each and every associate is valued.”

Managing talent

Coca-Cola’s performance management process is key to the way it manages talent. Kock says it is critical when looking at its one- and three-year strategies and 2020 Vision to have the right talent to meet strategic objectives.

“It is a business critical process to the organisation to segment our talent,” he explains. “You need to segment talent to identify the next generation of leaders. Our people are segmented, based on their performance track records and their potential to advance to the next levels in the organisation. 

“There are critical roles in the company that drive our competitive advantage. As a business, we need to ensure that we have our best talent in our critical roles. 

“Our succession management process is about proactively planning talent movement to effectively manage our talent portfolio. The rigour of this process ensures that we are making informed decisions about who moves into what roles and when to accelerate development and readiness for critical roles in the company.    

“Our segmentation of talent also informs the extent to which we invest in the development of our next generation of leaders. This means exposing our talent to both local and global development to prepare them for the next level roles in the company,” says Kock.

“Coca-Cola is driven by the desire to create a stable and nurturing work environment for  [its] associates.”

Employee wellness pivotal to their performance

Coca-Cola is making a significant investment in encouraging its employees to look after themselves, believing that healthier employees are more productive. The company has made wellbeing an integral part of its culture; its leadership is supporting this initiative so that it permeates through the company culture on every level.

 “We feature active, healthy living and employee wellbeing as part of what we call our Coca-Cola Ambassador programme. We encourage our employees to be ambassadors for our products and our company,” says Ruwayne Kock, talent and development manager, Coca-Cola South Africa.

“Companies can make the mistake of missing opportunities to reinforce the company’s culture, its organisational or business goals and values. We try hard to keep healthy, active lifestyles top of mind. To remind our employees of the importance of active healthy lives, we have set up permanent structures and reminders through the use of ambient media, such as the

‘Red Mile’ in our offices — a walking path that courses throughout our campus.

“Accessibility and affordability are key to a healthy lifestyle and we regularly evaluate how to invest in employee wellbeing, and in addition to offering comprehensive and affordable medical aid options, we look for practical and inexpensive ways to promote healthy living including meal choices in our canteen and on-site health screening.

“Coca-Cola South Africa also hosts Discovery Wellness Days at our office, a health trend that has been adopted by many companies.” — Rebecca Haynes

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Rebecca Haynes
Guest Author

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