Top 9 Reasons Why the Campbell Company of Canada is a Leader in Corporate Cultural Alignment

By Heather Shapter and Leslie Bennett

Based on an interview with
Laura Lee-Blake, Vice President, Human Resources Campbell Company of Canada

We had the privilege of speaking to the Campbell Company of Canada yesterday and are sharing with you the top 9 reasons why we consider this company to be a leader in corporate cultural alignment.

Their Story…
In 2003 the Campbell Company of Canada crafted a new Vision:  “Extraordinary, Authentic Nourishment for All”. It was a bold statement for the former poster child of sodium in a can.  lot had to change at Campbell Canada if they were going to keep up with the competition and the changing attitudes of the new generation.

Leadership got behind this new Vision and worked to create company Values that would help lead the way in their decision making. Naturally, some employees embraced the new Vision and Values while others were skeptical.
Campbell was true to their words and began doing things differently. After polling internal employees in 2004 they found only 40% were using Campbell’s products. This signalled the start of a new era at Campbell Canada. From 2002 – 2008 the company listened intently to employees, living from their six core Values – Creativity, Community, Competition, Collaboration, Courage and ‘Can do’ while also making changes to their product offerings.  Campbell tested everything they did against their Vision and their values.

Campbell Canada’s wellness program was one of the first internally-focused values-based initiatives to take root. It started out as a stationary bike and some weights in one employee’s office. Today, the fitness facility is a well-equipped, on-site facility with a full-time Kinesiologist and a number of volunteer employee instructors. The Campbell Canada’s fitness program is also part of a larger wellness initiative consistent with company values.
But the company’s commitment to corporate cultural alignment didn’t stop there. In 2008, they began looking at their beliefs (what already existed in the organization) and boiled them down to the three key Campbell Canada Causes: 1) Positive Nutrition 2) Better For You Meals 3) Alleviating Hunger. Again the whole company was engaged to help define these three bucket areas and incorporate them into key organizational decision making.

Corporate cultural alignment is now part of their DNA. Each and every employee speaks from and acts from their values and determines if whatever they are considering fits inside of what they believe in.

Top 9 Reasons
Why the Campbell Company of Canada is a Leader in Corporate Cultural Alignment

1. Positive Growth: With their focus on Values and Vision Campbell Canada has experienced positive growth on a number of key corporate measures.

2. Behaving True to Organizational Values no matter what:
Over the years Campbell Canada has avoided making the biggest  mistake that many other organizations make — to put off aligning strategy with structure and culture, in favour of focusing on shorter-term imperatives. The company instead went deeper with their corporate wide discussion on Values and had employees articulate the underlying beliefs that made their company a special place to work.

3. Effective Leadership is Listening for and Tailoring Communications:
Campbell Canada tailors its communication to best serve its employees. Corporate staff got a half day interactive session on vision & strategy where they could give feedback. It fit better for manufacturing employees to have a 45 minute session on the same topic where they could map the discussion on to what was important to them and to still provide feedback.

4. Identify Core Competencies and integrate them into CSR initiatives:
Campbell Canada looked at the key beliefs of their employees and aligned three causes with those beliefs,  namely Positive Nutrition, Better for You Meals, Alleviating Hunger. These corporate social responsibility initiatives clearly leveraged the core competencies of the company.

5.  Not Just a set of Values on the wall in the front office:
Campbell’s walks the talk. They listen to employees.  For example, when they realized that the 7 am bootcamps offered by the wellness program didn’t work for manufacturing staff they began offering a 4 am boot camp to accommodate them.

6. Operating Consistent with Core Values:
This 2 minute video: The Story of Nourish depicts how Campbell Canada researched and developed a ‘complete meal in a can’ to support Food Bank recipients and disaster relief efforts around the globe.

7. A Culture of Leadership:
Reward and recognition are based on a leadership model that has embedded the company’s
core values. Everyone is a leader whether they manage people or not.

8. Culture of Learning Creates Leaders at All Levels
Campbell Canada operates inside of a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). The BHAG challenges and stretches employees and has them operate outside of their comfort zone – the place where learning and growth takes place.

9. Employee Engagement and Feedback:
Campbell’s has processes in place to elicit ongoing feedback from employees at all levels in the organization. This approach supports transparency from leadership, keeping them honest and connected to the organization’s values. One of the results of this way of operating is a retention rate that is higher than the industry average.