It’s easy today to be wowed by technology. Whether marveling at the vast amount of data I can store in my smartphone, or witnessing the high-tech wizardry at one of Nestlé’s factories, the potential of technology seems, at times, nearly limitless.
Even so, the lifeblood of most successful businesses — and certainly one with our mission, scope and reach — is a modern workforce. At Nestlé, our ability to create value for our shareholders is dependent on the value we create for society. I can unequivocally say that we can only achieve these dual goals by investing first in our people.
For all the wonders of technology and its essential role in a global business like ours, building a strong workforce can’t be turned over to a computer or executed with a line of code. With 51,000 employees in the U.S. alone, Nestlé in the US is continually reimagining our work environment and realigning our policies to build a diverse, knowledgeable, engaged and fulfilled workforce that will make our next 150 years as successful as the first 150.
Over the past 50 years, social, economic and technological trends have ushered in new challenges and opportunities to companies and employees alike. Nestlé’s workplace has been evolving to reflect these realities, and one key step in this evolution is helping our employees establish a sound work-life balance. Doing so is good for employees, and it aligns with our corporate values of being the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company.
For starters, we believe a flexible work environment is key to cultivating productive and engaged employees. Nestlé has a Home Office Policy for those employees who can do their jobs remotely, and we offer FlexTime to accommodate work-life issues such as long commutes, carpooling, childcare and adult dependent care arrangements. We also just marked the first complete year of our new Parental Support Policy that offers up to 14 weeks of paid leave for primary caregivers of newborns. This policy also provides the option of extending unpaid leave up to six months as well as a phased return to work at participating locations. We’re already seeing employees taking full advantage of this expanded benefit.
Just as we value continuing education for our employees as it relates to their jobs, Nestlé also provides the resources and support necessary for success outside of the workplace. That means access to our WorkLife Services Program to help with child-rearing and parenting issues, or our Employee Assistance Programs that provide access to professional counselors and licensed clinicians. Our Nursing Mothers Program includes access to certified lactation specialists, and our health insurance policy covers the full cost of breast pumps.
To help maintain and develop a 21st-century workforce, learning must be embedded in our culture. And it is. Project Opportunity — which Nestlé launched in the US in 2015 — helps people of diverse backgrounds gain work experience while developing their skills in manufacturing. Nestlé has established apprenticeship programs in 41 manufacturing locations around the U.S. This commitment to developing opportunity is important to our employees and reflects Nestlé’s well-established approach of taking a long-term view.
When it comes to health and wellness, Nestlé most certainly takes the long view and is intent on maintaining our position as a trusted leader in the U.S. and globally. Whether we’re serving our workforce or crafting our diverse portfolio of products, Nestlé thinks about every member of the family at every stage of life. With our people, it’s about giving them the tools, resources and time to live balanced and healthful lives. With our products, it’s about providing nutritious options and healthy choices for our customers. Success with the former feeds the latter.
Our products reach nearly every household in the U.S., with 97 percent of homes purchasing Nestlé brands. Having a place in the lives of millions of Americans is something we do not take for granted. We’re able to have this reach because our employees are a key source of our advantage. We foster an inclusive culture that enables all employees to bring their best to work. This drives creativity, innovation, and ultimately helps us win in the marketplace.
This is who we are. And I can affirm that at Nestlé, we’re leading by the example I’ve laid out here so that we can attract and retain the best talent and serve a world of customers while we continue to deliver long-term results for our business and for society.
This year, we will move our Nestlé USA headquarters to Arlington, Virginia. This change will only strengthen our commitment to accelerating our transformation and developing new approaches to serving consumers, who are themselves changing how they eat, shop and engage with brands.
But a new headquarters and the newest technology notwithstanding, here’s a simple truth: We’re only as good as the people we employ. That is why I see great things on the horizon for Nestlé in the US.
Learn about working in Nestlé USA’s new headquarters at www.nestleusacareers.com/dcmetro.