Connected company stories: Nestlé

by Matt Bochenski

Bringing simplicity and agility to one of the world's largest companies.

With 320,000 employees across 4,000 locations in 190 countries, not to mention its stable of over 2,000 brands, Nestlé is the largest food and beverage company in the world. Cristina Macina was tasked with finding a way to connect it.

Workplace: Why did you choose to deploy Workplace?

Cristina Macina: It was part of our strategic vision to bring people together in order to make them more connected and transform their cool ideas into great products that can satisfy the needs of our customers. The challenge was big, but so was the opportunity to unlock the collective power of those people working together.

How did you roll it out?

We piloted Workplace with the sales force at Nestlé Mexico. At the time, they had this very geographically dispersed team that was starting to feel isolated and disconnected from the organisation. But they were very passionate so they decided to introduce Workplace.

Two years down the line, the results are amazing. That team now says it has 94% more visibility into what's happening in their market as well as Nestlé worldwide. And now that they have more access to best practices from around the company, they're seeing 60% more innovation.

What was the biggest challenge when the time came to release Workplace to the entire company?

Sleepless nights! The implementation was so big that it took over 24 hours to get it to everybody. But we had four principles to get Workplace out in the best way possible:

  • Think globally but act locally
  • Empower the teams in all of our countries and markets
  • Give a very specific and strong role to the leadership team
  • Create an approach that was centred around what people wanted but also supported by data

What benefits have you seen now that the entire company is connected on Workplace?

I was obsessed with bringing more engagement to the organisation and we got that. But I also wanted to demonstrate that Workplace could add value to the business. One of the benefits was bringing simplicity and agility to this very big company.

But what we've also seen is the inspiration and innovation that come from simply connecting people who don't speak the same language or have never been able to interact.

"We've seen the inspiration and innovation that come from simply connecting people who don't speak the same language or have never been able to interact."

Many employees join Nestlé because it's such a multinational company. But then you are hired in Italy and you never get to speak to your colleagues on the other side of the world. Workplace really offered this opportunity to connect and to share a passion for our products, our brand or even just activities such as running or pets. It gave us the ability to connect on many different levels – from the emotional to the business.

What was the biggest surprise for you?

The biggest surprise was the speed with which the tone of the conversation changed. We are a big company and sometimes some of our communication felt a bit formal. Because people were so familiar with Facebook, what I saw immediately was how they switched from formality to conversation. 'Hey, come here, let me share my recipe…' 'Hey, look what I've done…'

This was something that surprised me. I didn't expect it to happen so quickly. I think that it has brought people even closer together because there is more personal exchange, more of an insight into the life of the human being that you bring to work every day.

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