Brenda is the Global Talent Manager for HEINEKEN International within Global HR starting 1 August, 2013. Her area of responsibility includes the further development and implementation of HEINEKEN’s Global Talent Management processes, ensuring a consistent set of processes to integrate, hire, develop and retain talents and build leader pools and successor planning. Before joining HEINEKEN she held a position as the interim Head of Learning & Development Europe for Allianz Global Investors and prior to this, was the Executive Director for Aon Hewitt’s Compensation & Talent Practice where she led the team in the Benelux. Before these roles, Brenda worked over 17 years for several divisions of Royal Ahold in the USA and The Netherlands. She holds an MBA from the State University of New York at Buffalo.QHEINEKEN has been expanding into developing markets, particularly Africa Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America. How have you evolved your talent strategies to accommodate these markets?
Good question. Our acquisitions over the last few years changed our footprint from having 83% of our Employees in Europe to 47% today. To respond to these changes we have been doing a number of things including: 1) Clarifying our potential criteria, 2) Simplifying our approach to core talent processes such as our Talent Reviews, 3) Standardising and improving the effectiveness of our Global Functional Resource Committees who are responsible for Senior Management vacancy filling and succession planning and 4) Expanding our International Graduate Program to encompass demand in these developing markets.QThe CEB have revealed that over two thirds of companies are misidentifying their high-potential employees, jeopardizing long-term corporate performance. Are you confident that HEINEKEN has the appropriate process in place to identify those with the strongest potential to reach senior roles?
Yes, we have a strong process in place that has been enriched over the last couple of years to enhance our potential criteria. We involve people from across the business in this process to ensure we do not misidentify talent. Additionally, we focussed earlier this year on imbedding the use of these criteria through several tools and running multiple training/engagement sessions to help people better understand and use our “sharpened” criteria.QHow successful has the HEINEKEN International Graduate Programme been at developing HEINEKEN’s future leadership potential?
HEINEKEN has a strong tradition of success with its various Management Trainee programs, including the current International Graduation Program. As an example both our current CEO and CFO were members of the Management Trainee program at our local Dutch OpCo. They were followed by many others. The current International Graduate Program was put in place in 2008 and since then has had 78 participants with over a 90% retention rate. Of former International Graduates, 85% are still considered High Potentials. Bottom line, it has been very successful.QWhat tips can you offer about how companies can get ahead of the hiring curve to fill any succession gaps?
There is not one easy answer here. It takes constant focus, discipline and inclusion. Companies need the constant focus of leadership to look for people in and out-side of your organisation at possible successors. They need to be focussed on the specific skills that are needed in the organisation and on possible successors that could eventually fill multiple roles. Companies also need to be disciplined at succession planning conversations and the criteria by which they are judging possible successors. Lastly, leaders need to be inclusive. They need to look in untraditional places for people with different backgrounds to possibly join successor pools. They need to think creatively.QThe last 10 years has seen a period of acquisitions for HEINEKEN. Has merging talent from one company to another been challenging and how did you approach instilling your culture and values onto those who have joined HEINEKEN from the acquired company?
HEINEKEN is the world’s most international brewer with operations in over 70 countries and our brands available in 178 countries. “Respect” is one or our core values. We have a great respect for the companies, the brands that we have purchased. We don’t simply merge talent from one company into another, but make sure that we are not destroying the value of the company that is acquired. Moving talent from one country to another has a lot to do with how mobility is imbedded in that culture. For example we have seen a lot of mobility of talent from our biggest operating company in Mexico, but as our acquisition in Asia is so recent, we have yet to see much mobility.
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