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Growing Challenges; Big Ambitions: Upskilling For The Future

Hernán Valcarce - Danone
Vice President HR North Latam


Cinthya Alaniz Salazar By Cinthya Alaniz Salazar | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Tue, 05/24/2022 - 12:42

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Q: How does Danone's value proposition differ in comparison to other market competitors?

A: Danone has two big differentiators. The first is its mission: one planet, one health. All human beings have one health and one planet to live on, so Danone's mission is to provide healthy food and beverages. It is a differentiator because everything we do in the company is looked at through the lens of this vision: to work sustainably and take care of the environment. It is an important differentiator for many people who identify with this way of life, seek a healthier lifestyle and care for the environment.

The second differentiator is our work culture because Danone has sustainability and entrepreneurship embedded into its DNA. The company gives employees the autonomy to try new projects, which is an ideal proposition for those who want to transform the industry, leave a footprint at work and feel comfortable. Multinational companies are giving employees increasingly less freedom to operate but Danone has held its own.


Q: How has the digital transformation changed the skills that Danone seeks through its recruitment efforts?

A: Other industries have started their digital transformation earlier, such as technology companies and banking. At Danone we are constantly refining our recruitment process to attract competitive profiles. 


Q: Danone has continued to grow in Mexico despite a tight talent market. What specific initiatives are helping it combat this problem before it hinders growth?

A: We have approached partners that have helped us to bring in digital talent. We recently closed a deal with the INROADS Foundation that will allow 25,000 scholarship recipients trained and prepared by Google to find employment with companies like Danone. 


Q: Women were disproportionately forced out of the labor market during the pandemic. How did Danone retain female workers?

A: Four years ago, we started an aggressive program to increase women’s participation in our salesforce. There was an emphasis on sales because Danone already has a higher gender balance in management and manufacturing. Three years ago, women represented 5 percent of our salesforce. Now, they represent 25 percent but our mission is to reach 50 percent. We identified the barriers limiting women’s participation in the salesforce and attacked those barriers by providing complementary tools, such as driving lessons and flexibility regarding working hours. 

During the pandemic, we took several measures to protect all our employees. For example, by offering flexibility to work in ways that minimize risks to physical and mental health. 


Q: What are Danone’s plans to develop internal upskilling and reskilling programs?

A: Danone Mexico will focus on its transformational growth throughout 2022. The transformation is centered on successfully integrating three previously independent business units. This implies an enterprise-level organizational transformation that is characterized by three main processes: organization redesign, cultural transformation and upskilling programs. The first two relate to the organizational and social cohesion of three companies that are used to operating as separate entities. The last speaks to the observed importance of internal upskilling, especially in the context of a market defined by scarcity. 


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