The Business Times - Case study: P&G - A company of leaders
The consumer goods MNC has instilled a strong learning and development culture in its people, and is building regional leadership from Singapore.
Few companies come close to Procter & Gamble Co’s (P&G) achievements as a top employer. It won the top spot on Fortune magazine’s list of Global Top Companies for Leaders in 2011. It was ranked best overall company for leadership development in 2012 by Chief Executive magazine, and it was named fourth-most-in-demand employer in the world by LinkedIn in 2013.
The Ohio-founded multinational consumer goods company - which in 1980 made Singapore its Asia-Pacific (Apac) headquarters - declares that its people are its greatest asset.
Magesvaran Suranjan, P&G Apac president, tells The Business Times: “We pride ourselves in hiring the very best, as well as training them to be the best. P&G depends entirely on the strength of our talent, as our company is primarily ‘built from within’.” He adds that P&G’s future success is therefore dependent on its ability to continuously develop “succeeding generations of leaders”.
P&G has internally inculcated a strong learning and development culture, saying it is committed to providing the best learning opportunities for its employees.
These include one-on-one coaching sessions, focused group learning, intensive classroom trainings, online learning modules, consultations with external experts, and even field work or learning trips to other countries where P&G operates.
As P&G’s Apac headquarters, Singapore plays a strategic role in developing the company’s leaders across the region. It is responsible for carrying out various brand and business management initiatives that span manufacturing, marketing, supply chain and other corporate functions.
Notably, P&G Singapore often leads development and pilot learning activities that are eventually rolled out across the company globally. These include executive training programmes, learning projects for P&G People Managers, and peer learning circles for groups of employees.
This year will mark P&G’s 30th anniversary in the Republic.
P&G Leadership Academy
The P&G Leadership Academy is a suite of in-house leadership programmes that are available to P&G employees across the globe. Training modules are customised to provide employees with the most relevant tools to help maximise their effectiveness and leadership potential.
In Apac, P&G delivers over 20,000 hours of such corporate training programmes annually to nurture its future leaders.
In Singapore, P&G boasts over 80 P&G Leadership Academy trainers - P&G employees of various levels and functions who have undergone rigorous certification to be able to conduct leadership trainings for colleagues within and outside of Singapore.
The P&G Leadership Academy is also fronted by external companies (such as FranklinCovey and The Ken Blanchard Companies) through a combination of virtual and face-to-face training sessions.
The curriculum - planned by a group of P&G employees across various markets, roles and functions - covers a wide variety of topics, around which individuals can plan their own learning curriculum and calendar.
P&G Leadership College for SMES
In 2014, the P&G Leadership College for SMEs was launched jointly with Spring Singapore, offering P&G the opportunity to share leadership development practices with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore.
The first college programme drew 50 SME leaders across 17 sectors, ranging from engineering and manufacturing to lifestyle and hospitality. It included a panel discussion featuring senior executives from Google and Microsoft, as well as workshops on strategy development and the power of big ideas.
According to P&G, the programme was organised to give participants hands-on tools and techniques to apply to their businesses, and more broadly, to support Singapore’s thrust to build stronger enterprises and nurture its talent pool.
The P&G Leadership College for SMEs is backed by Spring Singapore as part of the latter’s Partnerships for Capability Transformation (Pact) initiative, which aims to foster mutually-beneficial collaborations between large organisations and SMEs through projects involving knowledge transfer, capability upgrading, co-innovation and the test-bedding of innovative solutions. Since its launch in 2014, the P&G Leadership College for SMEs has been replicated in Malaysia and the Philippines.
Starting Them Young
P&G is committed to nurturing the nation’s talent pool from young. It has partnered the local universities as well as Republic Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic, among others, to engage students.
P&G says that through its programmes such as Serial Innovation Week, P&G CEO Challenge and Dream P&G Internship, it is helping to “cope with the region’s demand for innovation and creativity”.
The Dream P&G Internship programme, in particular, is held annually to enable graduating students to experience real-world business challenges and provide them with the same kind of learning programmes and intensive coaching that P&G employees are exposed to.
Asked if business-plan competitions (such as the P&G Asia CEO Challenge) are still relevant today - given the growing popularity of entrepreneurship and proliferation of startup pitching competitions - P&G replies yes.
Just last year, the company rolled out the first-ever P&G Asia CEO Challenge across eight markets in Asia. The challenge, which started in July 2016, saw more than 500 students take part across Asia, with 48 country champions competing for the eventual “Asia Champion” title. The Singapore team emerged as champions, followed by South Korea in second place.
P&G explains: “This experiential programme included challenging case competitions, top-notch trainings, and inspiring career panels, all of which allowed students to learn P&G’s business know-how and culture through interacting with P&G employees.”
Mr Suranjan adds: “With the right leadership training and development in place, we believe that it can yield both short-and long-term returns for our company, Singapore and the Apac region.”
Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.