The shared ambition for many global organizations driving HR transformation is to deliver a best-in-class employee experience, streamline HR services to remove duplication of effort, increase efficiency and decrease cost. They deliver this through technology and self-service, transitioning greater accountability for people processes to line managers.

For Kerry, mobilizing our HR transformation has involved phenomenal efforts from our global and regional HR teams, working in an interconnected way across our diverse and dispersed organization to co-create the future ways of working. 

“By design, and through both process and technology changes, our new ways of working elevate the critical role managers play in the engagement, productivity, and wellbeing of their teams”

Up to now, the most visible aspects of the transformation have been the design and enablement of our new HR organization where activities are consistently aligned to the teams where they best deliver value. We have expanded our Global Business Services, now centralized in two geographical centers where HR specialists support scalable activities including first-line HR queries, talent acquisition, onboarding, payroll, learning, reward, and employee relations.  Future forward, our Centers of Excellence (COE) will look outwardly at emerging workforce trends that can be aligned to business strategy, and our HR Business Partners will sharpen focus as strategic partners, delivering enhanced value through organizational effectiveness, talent, engagement, and leadership coaching.

Our overarching goal is to fully empower our line managers to own people processes that have traditionally been managed by HR, including goal setting, performance and reward reviews, employee relations, and recruitment.  By design, and through both process and technology changes, our new ways of working elevate the critical role managers play in the engagement, productivity, and wellbeing of their teams.

Significant investment has been made in system and process redesign that will enable line manager self -service, and greater access to consistent, global HR services for all our 26,000 employees. Our new custom-designed HR platform will provide access for frontline employees in our manufacturing facilities, a key advancement and a first across our global organization. 

However, transformation isn’t realized just through the deployment of a new organizational design or through the go-live of new systems and technology.  Whilst these have been the most visible aspects in our transformation journey so far, changes in systems and processes require and rely upon new ways of working.   It is imperative to focus on how we build acceptance and willingness to shift mindset and habits – this is the most critical factor in ensuring successful change. If any transformation is to sustain, it is contingent on a dedicated and continued focus on the less visible aspects of human behavior.

Our change management is focused on providing clarity on the new ways of working for our HR function, line managers, and employees; educating to build belief in the new model through surfacing the advantages and benefits of the change. Our Kerry organizational values underpin our approach to change (Courage, Ownership, Inclusiveness, Open-Mindedness, Enterprising Spirit). We have deliberately positioned the value of open-mindedness in our communications strategy, both within HR and to our business stakeholders, encouraging all our people to be open to embrace change, to stay curious, innovative, and believe in possibility.

We are also equipping our teams to understand and manage the emotional change curve, calling out the discomfort of the change process, and recognizing the human element of experiencing change. 

We are ensuring all stakeholders have full clarity and understanding of their new roles and responsibilities. For our line managers, the shift is towards greater ownership of their teams and the HR processes that underpin team management on both confidence (mindset) and capability (skill). This also rings true for our HR function– we are asking our HR teams to think and act differently and deliver in their roles in a transformed way.

Investment in skill and capability building to help facilitate the required change in performance is a given in most transformation plans. However, combined with a deliberate focus on the emotional and behavioral side of change is a more powerful, effective way to engage, motivate and ready our teams for the future.

During the planning and transition phase of the program, we have assessed our organizational readiness for transformation in the context of culture, language, and business maturity, thereby connecting our impacted stakeholders to the process of change and building buy-in, collaboration, and partnership. We have adopted an agile, iterative process to seek feedback so we can adapt and evolve our change support as we progress through the transition and seek to embed the change.

The transformation of our HR function in Kerry will touch every single employee in some way.  For our line managers and our HR teams, it will be taking on new responsibilities and learning new skills, driven by changes in behaviors and ways of working to fulfill these new activities.

We are mindful of the need to continue our holistic change efforts with all stakeholders in the months to come to ensure the transformation sustains and we deliver on our ambition for the future.