The mission statement of the Hershey Company brings to mind its signature chocolate bars and kisses: “Bringing sweet moments of Hershey happiness to the world every day.” Living out that mission, however, comes down to more than candy. The company defines its mission in terms of its relationships with all stakeholders—consumers, employees, business partners (such as suppliers and distributors), shareholders, and the communities in which it operates. With regard to employees, the mission involves “winning with an aligned and empowered organization . . . while having fun.” “Aligned” employees should share values, be clear about how their work contributes to the organization’s mission, collaborate effectively, and be selected, equipped, and rewarded for meeting company objectives. These requirements, of course, call upon the skills of human resource management. With regard to values, Hershey has identified four and communicates them on its Web site: We are Open to Possibilities by embracing diversity, seeking new approaches and striving for continuous improvement. We are Growing Together by sharing knowledge and unwrapping human potential in an environment of mutual respect. We are Making a Difference by leading with integrity and determination to have a positive impact on everything we do. We are One Hershey, winning together while accepting individual responsibility for our results. All of these values play into the way Hershey addresses human resource management. Take, for example, the age distribution of the workforce. When Hershey provided training in characteristics of the different generations of workers, manager Mary Parsons became interested in how this might apply to building a workforce that better embraces this type of diversity and meets the value of “unwrapping human potential.” One application of this idea was the creation of a mentoring program for the research and development group. When R&D hires a new “millennial” worker (the generation now in their twenties), it pairs this worker with a more experienced employee from the baby boom. The baby boomers tend to be interested in leaving a legacy, making the world better, so they generally are enthusiastic about mentoring their younger colleagues. Hershey has also redesigned its performance management system. Appealing to the younger generations’ eagerness for challenge, autonomy, and results, the redesign was a bottom-up effort, in which people throughout the company set goals and track progress on projects. The system measures not only business results but whether they are achieved in accordance the Hershey’s four core values. One area in which two generations—baby boomers and millennial—are already aligned is in a desire to have a positive impact on the world. Hershey reflects that with a commitment to social responsibility carried out through involvement in the communities where it is located. In particular, the company supports the Milton Hershey School, which provides care and education to disadvantaged children. Also, through a program called “Dollars for Doers,” Hershey contributes cash to charities at which its employees volunteer for at least 100 hours per year. SOURCES: Mary Parsons, “Generations at Work,” Research-Technology Management, November–December 2009, pp. 41–44; and Hershey Company, “About the Hershey Company,” corporate, accessed February 25, 2010.
1. Pick any two of the trends described in this chapter, and discuss how Hershey’s values result in positioning the company to use those trends to its advantage.
2. Besides the mentorship program, how else might Hershey encourage its younger and older researchers to work together toward company goals? What might be the role of human resource staff in supporting or implementing your ideas?
3. How well does this description of working at Hershey fit with the new “psychological contract” described in this chapter? Explain.
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