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Taking development beyond the ‘day to day’

By Tova White, VP, Human Resources for Coca-Cola Canada
| www.cos-mag.com

At Coca-Cola Canada, our commitment to sustainability is fundamental to our business strategy.  Engaging our employees and enabling them to share and help drive this vision can make all the difference. This is especially evident when corporate responsibility and sustainability extends well beyond the traditional work role.

Most experts acknowledge that for sustainability to be “real” it must be driven from the top of an organization and built into the core business strategies.  However, in most cases, incorporating sustainability practices into the culture and routines of an organization can only be accomplished by engaging employees at every level and providing them with the tools and resources necessary to make these efforts a part of their everyday role.

{mosimage}Many organizations across Canada and around the world have embraced sustainability. For some, like us, it means implementing new technologies and approaches to the way they operate to minimize their impact on the environment and give back to the communities where they live and work. Companies are looking for areas where they can make a difference and do more with less while still providing a progressive environment that attracts, develops and retains talented employees.

By integrating sustainability efforts with employee training, organizations can help their workforce embrace sustainability and apply it in day-to-day operations. When Coca-Cola embraced ‘Live Positively’, our commitment to making a positive difference in Canada and around the world, we recognized that an important step was to engage our associates within every level of our business in Canada through training and development efforts.

As a core element of Live Positively, in 2009 we launched a Training Program with all our associates across Canada to arm them with information and facts about our company, products and sustainability commitments, including water, packaging, energy use and the health of the communities in which we operate.  

The goal of this Live Postively Training Program wasn’t just to inform our associates of what we were doing, but also engage them and develop a culture that incorporates long-term sustainability into daily operations. Through a combination of training sessions carried out in 16 major facilities and more than 80 virtual meetings across Canada, we were able to extend our Live Positively vision to associates nationwide, helping to bring it to life.

The Live Positively Training Program didn’t replace our traditional training efforts, which includes more than 36,000 hours of training designed to enhance development through interactive e-learning, on-on-the-job and formal training, and coaching and mentoring programs. Instead, it complemented and further developed our efforts to engage our associates to make a positive difference in Canada and around the world.

By enabling our associates to become more knowledgeable and involved in our efforts on a larger scale, they’ve become more engaged both in their everyday roles and with our efforts overall. Live Positively has also helped contribute to record setting levels of employee engagement across our entire organization.  In fact our most recent biennial Employee Engagement Survey showed an overall improvement in engagement scores of 14.6% over 2007, in large part due to the implementation of Live Positively and the Live Positively Training Program.

When we launched our first-ever Live Positively Awareness Campaign for stakeholders and consumers, a key element was internal communications. The five print ads, which tell the stories of our progress on sustainability and consumer well-being, were developed as posters and distributed to our over 50 facilities across Canada.

In considering sustainability as part of everything we do, we are not only driving business growth and supporting more sustainable communities, but also engaging our associates to do more with less in many areas of our business.

Tova White is the Vice President, Human Resources for Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada. More information on Coca-Cola Canada’s Live Positively Training Program can be found in the company’s 2009-2010 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CRS) Report available online at www.cocacola.ca.

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