June 20, 2019

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Driving Business Strategy, Creating Impact at Keurig Green Mountain: The Value of an Engaged Employee

Our values help define our approach to every supplier interaction, which is only possible if our buyers truly understand – and live – the values themselves.

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By Jayne Johnson, Vice President, Talent, Learning and Organizational Development

This is the third and final installment of a three-part blog series to take readers behind the scenes of Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.’s sustainability commitments. The series coincides with the launch of Keurig Green Mountain’s fiscal 2013 Sustainability Report and its 2020 sustainability targets. Today’s post is authored by Jayne Johnson, Vice President of Talent, Learning and Organizational Development.

After working in employee development and engagement for more than three decades, I can say with certainty that employees are the driving force behind any company’s success.

No one knows this better than Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., a company that has blended a regional specialty coffee roaster with the disruptive innovation of the Keurig® single-serve technology to create a personal beverage system company with more than 6,300 employees as of the end of fiscal 2013.

Growth like this doesn’t happen overnight, and it certainly doesn’t happen without a dedicated and developed workforce. My role is to create and execute strategies that ensure Keurig Green Mountain has top-notch talent, and that our talent has the development opportunities to employee-engagementdeliver on the company’s targets.

Embedding Sustainability and Engaging Employees

It’s an exciting time of transition. To move the company forward, in May 2013 we made some changes to our organizational structure, bringing three discrete business units into one singular company. We are also working to embed sustainability into the core of our business strategy and engage employees across all functions of the business in this endeavor. One of our initial steps has been to involve dozens of internal subject matter experts in the process of determining our new 2020 sustainability targets.

Making sure our employees are engaged in how we are charting our course and contributing positively to the world in which we operate today and into the future is a core element of our business strategy. By incorporating environmental and social considerations into business planning, each function can deliver on key business priorities while creating value for our shareholders and the world.

And, as employees identify with the tangible value that they have created, we hope they will stay motivated and involved, pulling others in along the way.

Creating Company Values? Ask Your Employees

At the heart of everything we do are our company values. They informed our 2020 targets and will be a guiding force as we set out to achieve these goals. We recently updated our company values with the help of our employees, moving us a step closer to one of our most important 2020 targets: Engage 100 percent of our employees to understand our vision and values and present opportunities that allow them to contribute to our targets.

When we asked our employees for input, more than 60 percent responded with words they believed best described the company’s values. This allowed them to shape and define our new values from the 15 we had for years to four succinct ones that were most meaningful. They were introduced internally last August.

  • We Partner for Mutual Success: Our boundaryless approach to collaboration creates benefits for all.
  • We Innovate with Passion: With courage and curiosity, we are shaping the future by redefining the consumer experience.
  • We Play to Win: Our team sets ambitious goals and meets each challenge with unified purpose and character.
  • We Brew a Better World: We use the power of business to make the world a better place.

But our targets can only be met if our employees embrace our values and live by them in their daily work life and business interactions. For example, one of our 2020 targetsKeurig_goal 4 is to source 100 percent of our primary agricultural and manufacturing products according to our newly established Responsible Sourcing Guidelines. Ensuring these guidelines are followed is the responsibility of Keurig Green Mountain employees choosing and directly working with suppliers.

Our values help define our approach to every supplier interaction, which is only possible if our buyers truly understand – and live – the values themselves.

A Recipe for Engaged Employees

We've also seen the benefit of hands-on opportunities to help employees make the connection between our values and what we do.

For example, over the years we have taken a number of employees on “origin trips” to coffee-growing communities. Our values come alive on these trips, as employees see how Keurig Green Mountain builds mutually beneficial, collaborative relationships with suppliers so they can thrive. In 2013, we sent 63 employees to five different countries on origin trips. In 2014, we are planning to expand these trips beyond coffee communities to include our brewer manufacturing regions and include a trip to China.

While origin trips have been quite a success, our employees are equally keen in getting involved in their own communities. Volunteerism is a big part of our culture and through our Community Action For Employees (CAFE) program, we give employees paid time off – up to 52 paid hours a year – to support causes they personally care about. We’re thrilled that 62 percent of our U.S. employees took advantage of this program in 2013. In fact, our Sumner, Washington facility went above and beyond and achieved an impressive 90 percent employee volunteerism rate – the highest participation rate among all of our locations.

Getting Their Hands Wet

Engaging our employees on how we can reach our 2020 goal on water is going to be another critical area – and their expertise will play an important role. Through watershed restoration events this past year, for example, 450 employees across five different locations worked together to remove 36,000 pounds of trash, tires and metal from local waterways near several of our facilities. Our 2020 commitment to provide access to clean water to one million people worldwide will provide many more opportunities for employees to participate in a multitude of water-related volunteer projects.

Investing in a Thriving Workforce

Finally, we're also investing in our employees' health and wellness. It's clear that productivity and job satisfaction aren’t possible without a well-rounded, thriving workforce Keurig_goalsthat is healthy and continuously developing mentally, physically and emotionally. In 2013, we rolled out an internal website where employees can complete wellness assessments, develop and track health targets, interact confidentially with wellness coaches, and participate in wellness challenges and rewards.

We recognize that many people contribute to our success. Whether they are the farmers we buy our coffee from, our supply partners making Keurig brewers, or our employees designing the next great beverage experience, we all are invested in the future of our company. And being guided by strong values and a set of sustainability targets that align with the future of our business provides us with a sense of shared purpose. It also helps us do more and do better, and ultimately contribute to thriving communities and a better world.

Please tell us how we're doing – and how we can do even better – by leaving a comment below.

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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