What Mondelez CEO Irene Rosenfeld can teach us about employee transparency
Every good executive has stories to tell and plenty of lessons to teach about effective leadership and management styles, but even those at the top had to learn from somewhere else along the way. Earlier this month Mondelez International CEO Irene Rosenfeld penned an essay for Fortune magazine discussing the biggest leadership lesson that she herself has learned within the past year. Rosenfeld, the biggest lesson learned—and the lesson she is passing down to anyone else who may need it—is the critical importance of being transparent and open in communication with your employees.
“One of the biggest leadership lessons I’ve learned over the past year is the importance of leading from the front in challenging times,” says Rosenfeld in her essay. “What I mean by that is getting out to the markets, providing employees with context for the changes we’re making and being transparent about what’s working and what’s not. In times of change, people need to understand the context for the change so they can more fully appreciate why it’s necessary. Change is hard, and so you need to have a clear and powerful vision for others to believe in, and you must communicate that vision constantly and consistently.”
Indeed, when changes are issued from the top without explanation, it can be a strong source of frustration for employees—and in many cases, it can raise suspicions and lead to employees theorizing explanations of their own, ultimately cutting into morale. But when changes are preceded by clear strategies, employees may be more understanding and even excited, willing to get on board with new mandates and directions.
Rosenfeld also praised the prevalence of new communication tools in helping with this management technique, especially for a global business like Mondelez International. “With thousands of people in 80 countries speaking many different languages, we must depend on other channels of communication as well,” she noted. “A priority is to equip our leaders with the skills, messages and tools to engage face-to-face with their people, complemented by a steady drumbeat of news updates via intranet stories, social media chats, videos and so on.”
Check out the full essay for more.
Tech firm BestBees helps honey bees with remote monitoring
The global honey industry was worth an estimated $9.2b in 2020. Out of the 100 crop species which feed 90% of the world's population, 70 of them are pollinated by bees. In addition, 1.4b farming jobs, depend on the pollination of crops carried out by bees.
Bees are vitally important to planet earth and everyone on it - but they are in danger. Between April 2019 and 2020, 43% of US hives were lost. Bee hives have been devastated by:
- Climate change
Tech firms have taken on one of the world’s oldest occupations, beekeeping, in order to maintain the welfare of the the mighty bumblebee.
Best Bees Company bumbles forward
US business, Best Bees Company, was shocked at the plight of the American bee colonies.
Best Bees install hives and then use an advanced software system to monitor and record the health of each bee hive.
"We are looking at why thriving beehives live", said Wilson-Rich, chief scientific officer at Best Bees. "We need to understand why they're doing better. With that research data we can get wonderful benefits... it is telling us how the bees are actually doing."
Best Bees also harvests and bottles the honey for the property owners, of where the hives sit, to enjoy.
The data is being shared with Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where researchers are trying to understand and assist the bees in their duty.
Tech saves beekeepers time and labour
The Irish business ApisProtect is also utilising technology to help the bees, through their wireless in-hive sensors, which transmit data.
"We collect temperature, humidity, sound and acceleration [of the bees flying out of the hive] data," said Fiona Edwards Murphy, chief executive "What we do is extract those raw data points and then use machine learning to convert that into useful information. We tell the beekeeper, for example, which hives are growing and which hives are shrinking, or which hives are alive and which hives are dead."
The technology means beekeepers no longer have to manually inspect hives, which saves time and effort and allows the bees to go about their business uninterrupted.
"In a commercial operation only about 20% of hives at any given time need intervention," concludes Edwards Murphy. "The problem is that beekeepers don't know which 20%. They literally go out and pick around a hive to see if it's the one they should be looking at. What we do is enable them to get a picture of what's happening in all their hives, spread across a large area, before they even leave their office in the morning. For commercial beekeepers, we see a 50% reduction in labour costs. That obviously has a huge impact on the business of beekeeping."