Language learning insights for companies

Coca-Cola FEMSA: Transformation as a driving force in talent development

In the past years, Coca-Cola FEMSA has gone from a national bottler based in Mexico to a leader in multi-category drinks, serving more than 290 million people in 2 million-selling points, 48 bottling plants and 297 distribution centres across 10 countries.

According to Elsie Prado, Global organizational development lead at Coca-Cola FEMSA:

“The positive results achieved are part of a transformational practice strategy and are centered on creating a more collaborative culture accelerating the digital transformation of the company.”

We had the opportunity to meet with Elsie to understand how their global talent development strategies are working to fulfill their business objectives, the impact of digital transformation in their development training programs and their vision of the future.

What was the focus of the training initiatives to support the company’s transformation strategy?

“We observe that the transformation and innovation in the industry nowadays require different skills from professionals. A common trend in the business management world is to identify key talent within the organization, the people who have the most knowledge on the realities of business and the ability to function in an environment that constantly changes. Once identified, we offer a development program to help them prepare for the future.

In today’s business world, it is always essential to be up to date and to have a broad understanding of all areas of the organization and how they are all connected. Our focus was to incorporate digitalization to achieve a good learning experience, understanding the global and local needs of the regions. This way we created a leaders’ acceleration program, with the purpose of having a comprehensive, scalable and tailored model that allows the development of key talent.”

Has this transformation also changed the way Coca-Cola FEMSA sees people in their organization?

“Transformation is everyone’s challenge. Nowadays, consumers are changing and we as an organization, need to adapt to the needs of global operations in multicultural environments. We are venturing with our global development programs including digital transformation, which can be seen in two aspects: Firstly, we use an app to track each training program. This tool helps us connect with learners allowing us to communicate and send information on a global scale. Secondly, we are using educational platforms to bring virtual classes to all participants around the globe.

As a result, within one year we managed to increase the usage of the English online platform by 38%”.

How do you make sure the training program brings results while following the overall goals and strategies of the organization?

“Besides being tailored to the learner’s needs, the global development programs that we currently have in place are also quite flexible, allowing the learners to support the strategic business’ priorities while progressing with their online courses at their own pace.

Another fundamental area of focus is making sure that the concepts, strategies, and tools they receive throughout the learning program are applied in their day-to-day work life, through a project which needs to be completed and evaluated once the program is finished.

Overall, the results of our corporate training programs have a very important long-term benefit to the business. Learners can move to different roles within the company or even to different countries; therefore, the need to speak English is essential“.

What is the key to the development of future leaders who lead the transformation?

“Through our evolution, we are creating a solid and unified corporate culture, based on leadership, talent development, and innovation. And this comes through when employees understand the need of development through acquiring new knowledge or strengthening skills and competences. In Human Resources, we capitalize this knowledge and connect these needs with business objectives”.

What can we expect from the future?

“A lot of challenges wait for the future that will require us to be agile, collaborative, self-teaching and become the agents of change to promote a new mindset in the company.

We need to remember that what made us successful in the past, is not necessarily what will take us to a successful future.”

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