One of the world’s biggest breakfast cereal brands has undergone an Employee Experience transformation inspired by one of their most iconic products.
General Mills, the 150-year-old US-based maker of Cheerios, has spent the last three years transforming their HR experience, focusing on creating consistency for their over 38,000 employees in 30 different countries. Working with software firm ServiceNow, they created a digital transformation for their HR experience which they claim was inspired by its flagship cereal.
“Cheerios were created in the 1940s. They were intended to be a transition from a hot cereal (oatmeal, porridge, and such), to a new kind of platform: cold cereal with milk. It was an innovative feat at the time because no one had made that leap yet,” said Lynsey Wherry, Vice President of Talent Acquisition & HR Strategy at General Mills.
She and her team worked with ServiceNow to build a new online portal called G&Me to help employees help themselves with HR issues, and easy avenues to escalate issues that require more hands-on support.
“They have this incredibly well known iconic brand that millions of people see and use every day,” Jennifer Stroud, Transformation Leader at ServiceNow, said.
“Memories are built around these General Mills brands, Cheerios being one of the most well known. They understood this, and they took that whole concept of the simplicity of Cheerios and all that it meant to really help think about what they wanted to design for their employees.
“General Mills has done an amazing job of putting the employee really in the centre of their design strategy. Not just thinking about the employee of today, but thinking about the employee of tomorrow, the future generations that are going to come. They realised that their operating model was not going to be sustainable, and that it wasn’t going allow them to compete for the types of talent that they knew they were going to need to continue to be this great successful organisation.”
Deepak Rammohan Bharadwaj, VP and GM for ServiceNow’s HR Business Unit, added: “We focus on those moments that matter for employees. We help them work through that journey through those moments, whether it’s professional, you’re being transferred, having a baby, leaving the company, you got married, those types of things,”
In August, General Mills announced that as of January 1, 2019 they will be expanding paid maternity leave to 18 – 20 weeks and parental leave to 12 weeks, as well as improving bereavement, caregiver, and disability benefits for employees. This follows trends in the market; Kellogg’s increased paid maternity leave from 10 to 14 weeks in 2017.