Unlocking Potential: HEINEKEN’s Approach to Modern Talent Management



Understanding innovative talent management is crucial for business success in the evolving landscape of hybrid work. HEINEKEN’s Evergreen strategy exemplifies how a global leader reinvents itself to stay relevant. Discover how HEINEKEN unlocks the full potential of its workforce and drives superior growth with reimagined talent management.

As the world navigates the hybrid work era, talent management has undergone significant transformation. The shift towards flexible work environments has necessitated a reevaluation of how companies attract, develop, and retain talent. The HEINEKEN Company, under its ambitious Evergreen strategy, is at the forefront of this evolution, leveraging innovative talent management practices to drive growth and sustainability.

Nkechi Runsewe, the driving force behind HEINEKEN’s talent management strategies, shared valuable insights into how the company is aligning its strategies with its Evergreen ambitions at the Horizon Summit in Amsterdam.

Initiated in 2021, the Evergreen program is a testament to HEINEKEN’s commitment to reinvention and relevance in a rapidly changing world. “Evergreen is really about drawing from nature, reinventing itself and how we stay relevant,” says Runsewe. This vision is about ensuring balanced and superior growth while preparing for the future of the business.

The belief that people and brands are the company’s greatest assets is not just a statement, but the core of HEINEKEN’s Evergreen ambitions. Runsewe explains, “We have five priorities within Evergreen, and the people priority is about unlocking the full potential of our people and organization.” This involves utilizing comprehensive people processes and performance management to unleash the potential of over 86,000 employees globally.

Trends and Innovations in Talent Management

Looking ahead, Runsewe identifies three key trends shaping the future of talent management. Firstly, there is a focus on building capability within HR functions and among line managers who play a crucial role in talent management. “How do we build that capability? How do they understand what it takes to support and drive talent management?” she asks, emphasizing the need for continuous development and adaptation.

Secondly, the shift towards career management and internal mobility is gaining traction. Employees are increasingly looking for organizations that support their career aspirations and provide visibility into their future within the company. Runsewe notes, “The shift we’re starting to see is a big trend, and it’s becoming a big part of your employee value proposition.”

Finally, improving the employee experience through user-friendly people processes is paramount. This includes traditional processes like performance management and career conversations. Runsewe highlights, “The more agility and the more I think easier that experience is, the better it will be for talent management.”

Implementing Strategic Talent Management

HEINEKEN is not just adapting to these trends, it is leading the way. “Talent management is a strategic capability within the company, and we continue to keep an eye on these trends,” says Runsewe. The company’s focus on continuous improvement and embedding these trends into its processes is not just a strategy, it’s a commitment to staying ahead of the curve and inspiring others to do the same.

At HEINEKEN, employees are not just a part of the strategy, they are the strategy. Their daily contributions across various functions drive the success of our Evergreen ambitions. Runsewe explains, “Every single one of us looks at everything that we have to do and asks which priority this helps us answer.” This alignment of individual objectives with the company’s strategic priorities not only brings Evergreen to life but also empowers each employee to be a catalyst for change.

Embracing Diversity and Inclusion

HEINEKEN’s approach to talent management is not just about diversity, it’s about inclusion. Even as the company incorporates freelancers and contingent workers, Runsewe emphasizes the importance of challenging inherent biases in the hiring process, even for temporary roles. “A diverse team unlocks maximum potential and high performance,” she asserts. By being conscious of biases and questioning the necessity of specific criteria, HEINEKEN ensures that it brings diverse perspectives that not only contribute to innovation and growth but also respect and appreciate the unique contributions of each individual.

HEINEKEN’s Evergreen strategy and innovative approach to talent management exemplify how companies can navigate the complexities of the hybrid work era. By focusing on capability building, career management, and employee experience and embracing diversity and inclusion, HEINEKEN is well-positioned to achieve its ambitious goals. As Runsewe aptly puts it, “We are on a continuous journey with our Evergreen ambitions, and we’re very proud of the progress we’re making every year.”

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Written by: Mihaly Nagy

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