Backus COE? On July 14, in the framework of the fourth edition of the 2017 Merco Talent Ranking, organized by ESAN University and Merco, Backus AB InBev was recognized as the best company to attract and retain talent in Peru. For the third consecutive year, the brewery was the only Peruvian company to obtain the 10,000 points of the evaluation, a significant achievement without a doubt, amid radical changes within the company.
On the one hand, the entry of AB Inbev as majority shareholder, which will generate important changes in business management. To begin, Peru will be a less strategic operation, focused on marketing and sales issues, with Colombia as the axis of management for Peru and Ecuador. On the other hand, the appointment of Colombian Rafael Álvarez Escobar as the new CEO, replacing Fernando Zavala, who left Backus to occupy the presidency of the PCM. In this interview, the first one he has offered since arriving in Peru, Álvarez shares his vision of organization, people management and leadership, hoping that, despite the profound changes, Backus continues to lead the rankings in people management by the next years.
Backus earned 10,000 points for the third consecutive year in the merco talent ranking. What did they do in terms of good practices to obtain such a high score?
We believe that our greatest strength is the people. We seek to create a future full of opportunities for them. We strive to maintain a fresh culture. We believe in direct and rapid communication and in a structure with less bureaucracy, that values teamwork. During the last years we have reinforced our employer brand, in order to become more attractive. We have continued to capitalize on the reputation of Backus, with good results in attracting talent and public recognition. This is the thinking of Backus COE.
Worldwide, our brewing heritage goes back more than 600 years, spanning continents and generations. We have European roots, the Den Hoorn brewery in Belgium, and the pioneering spirit of the Anheuser & Co brewery in St. Louis, United States. From the creation of South African Breweries (SAB), during the Gold Rush of Johannesburg, to Bohemia, the first brewery in Brazil. We are a truly global company that today is the result of great cultural mergers, which have allowed us to be among the most outstanding companies in the world. On the side of Backus, its history is also marked by mergers and acquisitions that, far from facing cultures, have generated synergies and growth, even positioning itself among the most admired and recognized companies nationwide.
The key is to generate a real combination of cultures and not a clash of them, adopting the best of both worlds to build a company that transcends. It’s just a matter of continuing to seek excellence in everything we do. Distinguish ourselves by integrity and hard work. Quality and responsibility are the basis for building our company. This is one of the good theory of Backus COE.
It will open a world of opportunities. They will be part of a truly global company, with good practices that are shared around the entire company. In Peru we already enjoyed the pride and satisfaction of standing out among the main employers and being one of the most admired companies in the country. Today, in addition, our collaborators are part of the leading brewer at a global level and one of the leading mass consumption companies in the world. That’s playing in major leagues. Today, the opportunities are unlimited.
Precisely because we are a global company, we can quickly implement the GLOBAL MANAGEMENT TRAINEE (GMT) and GLOBAL FOR MBA’s (GMBA) programs. The GMT is an intensive 10-month training program in which we submerge the brightest graduates of the universities in various functional areas of the company, with an intensive training of almost six months in Colombia and the United States, in charge of the most senior executives of the company. We seek to give them a transversal understanding of our business and prepare them for a rapid growth that ensures us to have successful leaders during the next years.
In the case of our GLOBAL MBA’s program (GMBA), we talk about a program with a high leadership potential of one year, which hires executives with an MBA degree in a specific business area with the long-term potential, to move in a functional and geographical throughout his career with us. It is the beginning of an accelerated race, where the opportunities for growth and movement are limited only by their ambition and ability to deliver results. This another theory of Backus COE.
The digital transformation of organizations is a fact, and to the extent that we do not face it as such, we will be destined to fail along the way. From the side of our brands and consumers, the digital world not only opens the space for us to communicate in a more personal way with them, but also allows us to know them better by identifying new insights that allow us to improve our product offerings and create messages and content more relevant to them. In the face of the organization and our people, the change has also been enormous. Today we manage our main internal processes through virtual platforms, from sales to internal communication, allowing us to streamline all our processes in order to respond faster to the needs of customers, consumers, communities and collaborators.
The companies are in constant state of change. Change the culture, the leaders, the competition, the sector. Business success depends a lot on the ability of a company to adapt. When it comes to personal success, this does not vary. As leaders, we must have a high level of adaptation to change in order to be able to achieve a positive impact on employees, as well as a natural adaptation to the new vision of the company. Beyond the different characteristics of each market in which I have been, the style of leadership is maintained and even evolves, but always maintaining its essence.
I have been working in the mass consumption industry in Latin America for over 20 years and I have always found collaborative operations open to new management styles. I consider it important to maintain a transparent, continuous and close communication that provides tranquility and clarity to the members of the company that I arrived at. This means that they are also with me and can absorb their priorities and needs. In my case, I had the opportunity to lead century-old companies, such as Backus, which has a history dating back almost one hundred and forty years and it is important to recognize and value this legacy, building on what my predecessors did, but marking and differentiating my leadership style.
Peru is a very rich and diverse country, both in its culture and in its people. And it is precisely this diversity that stands out as one of the main local characteristics after these months of experience in Peru. Here we have diverse teams that unite people with different and unique perspectives, whose growth potential is unlimited. I would also mention talent and passion. I have found very capable and dedicated people, with conviction of what they do. People whom we at AB InBev describe as owners-minded colleagues, who treat the company as if it were their own, make decisions thinking in that way and, most importantly, assume the results as something personal. This is the main theory of Backus COE.
5 keys to manage talent in Backus
1.- People: Employees are located at the center of people development strategies.
2.- Opportunities: The aim is to offer the collaborator opportunities to grow and participate in decisions.
3.- Communication: Clarity and transparency in the messages to promote a culture of trust.
4.- Less bureaucracy: The company has worked in recent years in processes to create a more flexible climate.
5.- Teamwork: Part of our principles is not to put individual objectives before those of the group.