Kellogg Company is the world’s leading producer of cereal and a leading producer of convenience foods, including cookies, crackers, toaster pastries, cereal bars, fruit snacks, frozen waffles, and veggie foods. Kellogg products are manufactured in 17 countries and marketed in more than 180 countries around the world. The company’s global workforce supports diversity through Employee Resource Groups, which offer opportunities for employees to build relationships; identify and generate potential solutions to real or perceived barriers that interfere with their ability to realize their full potential; and to create opportunities to aid Kellogg Company in driving positive business results.
Cam Marston was invited to Kellogg Company as part of its inaugural Diversity Speaker Series, to discuss the differences and similarities between the generations. The engagement consisted of a two-hour management workshop to discuss generational differences and best practices for managing across the divide, and a keynote address that was open to the entire staff, including broadcasts at several remote sites. Video of the presentation was also provided to plant workers and bakeries, allowing everyone in the company to receive the message. During the keynote, Cam shared a variety of generational biases, supported by video clips and cultural references that allowed attendees to see themselves and some of the societal norms that inform their thinking and preferences.
The generational insights shared at these two presentations have paved the way for more reciprocal communications company-wide. Managers report that individuals left the presentations asking themselves “how can we use this knowledge to be more effective in our business” – a mindset that is embraced by both the young professionals seeking ways to become more engaged in the company and the tenured staff who see greater incentive to listen to and encourage younger employees. This increased awareness has helped propel existing programs to greater heights while simultaneously creating energy and a shared sense of purpose to support new ideas. The Young Professionals Employee Resource Group recently launched a successful case for their “Go Green” program, in part fueled by the confidence instilled through the generational awareness program and increasingly receptive minds of their leadership and peers. The results have been far-reaching as employees continue to discuss generational differences and communication solutions on a daily basis.