Webinar Takeaways: Unilever Best Practices

4 minutes read
The Top Employers Webinar: Unilever Best Practice was hosted on 9 July 2020 - to watch the full webinar fill in the form or read our main takeaways from the event below.

The webinar was presented by Top Employers Institute’s Regional Manager for Africa, Billy Elliott and HR Leaders from Unilever, Mechell Chetty, HRVP for Africa, Revani Manicum, Global Talent & Organisation Director for Africa and Tumelo Molope, HR Director Marketing, CDMO & R&D for Africa.

These extraordinary times demand leaders to be agile and act with speed. The webinar focused on prioritisation for highest value work, flow to value principles and dynamic resource allocation.

Unilever’s HR leaders discussed their journey of prioritisation, redeployment principles and dived into specific case studies with practical solutions and initiatives.

Key Webinar Takeaways

Top Employer Institute: Opening address

Billy Elliott, Regional Manager for Africa at Top Employers Institute, set the scene by reflecting on the 3 most important workforce planning priorities for Africa’s Top Employers 2020:

  • To provide insight into the current and future talent needs to ensure we achieve the business strategy
  • To align HR with business strategy goals
  • To identify areas where our organisation is over or understaffed

Billy dived into two global trends and best practices that aligned with the webinar theme. The first trend is to ensure your people strategy is 100% aligned with the business strategy. The second trend is organisations now more than ever need to be even more transparent with their employees.

Unilever Best Practice

Mechell Chetty, HRVP for Africa for Unilever highlighted the 8 key consumer trends for 2020 and how they can be easily mimicked by the HR community:

  • Planet First
  • Eco-Angst
  • Resilience Culture
  • Hyper Individualized
  • Beyond Human
  • Minimalism 2.0
  • Post –Trust
  • Human Touch

How will the world change for the better? Mechell discussed these 8 points:

  • Businesses will work from a point of purpose: Citizens and the environment matter
  • Digitisation will become a natural part of our world
  • By being more distant we somehow become more Inclusive
  • Hierarchies will be tested in many ways broken down and the generational gap closed
  • People will value their health, family, and the environment more
  • Collaboration across businesses and Government will become more apparent
  • Less travel but more Access
  • World of the freelancer becomes the norm

Revani Manicum, Global Talent & Organisation Director for Africa for Unilever shared their prioritisation & redeployment principles:

  • COVID 19 impacted what we work on and how we work!
  • Reprioritization for highest value work
  • Optimization of resources for impact
  • Cross pollination of talent is a necessity
  • Enable teams to adapt to change with speed & agility

What is HR’s role over these times? The biggest role is in the space of culture and around mindset including:

  • Fostering a One Unilever mindset around priorities
  • Drive LT prioritization to re-prioritize initiatives and free up capacity where it is needed most
  • Redeploy resources to high value work at speed

The Leadership ask:

  • Show a “One Unilever Mindset”
  • Manage the workload, ruthless prioritisation
  • Make it okay for team members to drive their impact

4 Step prioritisation and dynamic resource allocation:

  • Prioritisation: Need to rethink our priorities given our new circumstances
  • Resource assessment: Critical that all our resources are working on the right priorities
  • Match resources to work activities within functions / div
  • All unmet demand and excess capacity redirected to control tower

After assessing workload employees fall into 4 buckets:

  • Employees without work?
  • Employees substantially less work?
  • Employees overloaded?
  • Employees normal work allocation no longer high value?

Tumelo Molope, HR Director Marketing, CDMO & R&D for Africa for Unilever took attendees through their journey and how the model came alive within the teams.

The business rationale: Why use agile at Unilever?

  • Find and prioritise highest value work
  • Break down work int manageable pieces
  • Improve our ability to respond to changes
  • Reduce time to market through interactio9ns
  • Mitigate risk through frequent feedback
  • Increase engagement, collaboration, and empowerment

A consumer-centric vision is critical in agile. What is the vision?  It describes:

  • Who the consumers are
  • What the consumers need
  • How the needs will be met
  • It sets the direction & is the guide to the team
  • It illustrates the business value

Tumelo also ran through how prioritisation unfolded from the Africa leadership teams all the way down to the people on the ground and why there was benefit in early alignment and leadership commitment as well as a case studies around their brands that became under great demand and how those teams were able to work with speed.

Mechell Chetty closed the presentation by running through their 7 leadership lessons:

  • Performance paradox: Leaders who show kindness and compassion in abundance, get high team productivity
  • Agile fosters speed and creativity
  • The importance of prioritisation and flowing talent to value
  • Short, sharp, and fast connection with employees creates connectivity and alleviates fear
  • Our distance has fostered inclusion, we have levelled the playing fields creating more access digitally and greater comfort for all
  • Authentic vulnerable leadership drives transparency and openness
  • Ambiguous situations make you think differently
Table of contents
Webinar Takeaways: Unilever Best Practices