History of the sonoco packaging giant

Sonoco, although a robust packaging large, experienced a significant challenge encountered by the HR function which is negative implications of decentralization and move to a far more divisional structure throughout the 1980's resulting in HR being just seen as an administrative tool ignoring also its relevance as a cost and productivity drivers.

It is largely due to its life of multiple HR function in each section with its own HR systems, costs and performance management, the non- cooperative competition surged among divisions lead to complete lack of determination and morale among some employees.

In addition to the, the largely sophisticated staff set ups in many departments resulted in an upward manipulation of many performance measurements being tweaked to pass on the advantage to certain employees or to remove certain employees from the machine. The challenge for Cindy Hartley here was that the decentralized models of HR made an appearance not capable of adding value to Sonoco's new environment that was marked by uncertainty given the hostility of competition and customers challenging higher degree of flexibility. There is also lack of alignment of folks and Sonoco's principles. This also earned lack of alignment between business strategy and HR strategy within the company.

By the finish of 2000, Sonoco was at a level where it acquired to take a decision on whether to execute centralized HR function or a Cross structure in which the divisions could have comparatively higher immediate participation with staffing, succession planning, workers programs, reimbursement and benefits.

Answer to Key questions:

Q 1. How successful were the HR changes at Sonoco? Was the series of changes the right one? Why / Why not?

After a couple of months of homework, Hartley determined three main priorities. The first top priority was changing the reimbursement and performance system, which really can bring up the true performance of the employees. The next goal was to create an employee development process to help expand refine the employees' skill and knowledge so that employees can control themselves. The 3rd top priority was succession planning to identify and develop the next generation market leaders. Therefore, a solid skill pool creation was essential to identify the tomorrow's leaders who will be ready to take up the leadership positions with perfect preparedness necessary for the position. Linking the HR process with people, culture, values and business targets has been systematically done under different headings as shown below:

Performance Planning/Opinions and Compensation : Employees' shows were measured against organizational main competencies and individual key effect areas. The performance reviews was taken predicated on 360O feedback system from supervisor, peer and subordinate. Compensation review targeted at achieving a more diverse but fundamentally collaborative labor force. Compensation review pattern carried out, predicated on semiannual overview of performance, value, ethics, focused on increasing quality of work-life.

Identification & Selection of Tomorrow's Market leaders : Career development and panning was done through two-steps process viz. , specific profession planning and organizational reviews of developmental process.

Development Process : This technique executed through development on the job, online performance and learning, on the job training to speed up business strategies & top-line expansion and training for the team skill development and finally compensate & recognition to aid career motion and development.

In order to comprehend how successful were the HR changes at Sonoco and if the sequence of changes is right one or not, we need to first understand the HRM procedures are in consistent with one another. Then we should analyze the business performance and progress of the organization vis- -vis HR techniques.

Normally in the successful group, the package of HRM practices is consistent with each other. It means that HRM techniques in an company must reinforce each other. For example, an organization, which relies on highly-skilled employees finds it necessary to have impressive recruitment and selection to select the most highly-skilled employees. This must be reinforced, however, by growing worker skills after selection, by training them and by using performance management to encourage acquisition of new skills, as well as organising work with techniques which inspire them and allow those to use their skills effectively. Proper execution and execution of HRM methods will have positive effect on employees therefore creating powerful work systems techniques. If we compare the HRM procedures at Sonoco with the 'bundle of HRM tactics' shown below, it would appear that the collection of changes taken up in Sonoco is right one.

But the success of the Sonoco's HR practices must be determined based on the analysis of the potency of its HR methods to set-up highly Powerful Work System to create superior organizational shows. Therefore, Sonoco must carry out organizational health review to assess the dedication of employees, their relation with management, their satisfaction level and empowerment to consider decision. Though the series of changes carried out in HR entrance by Sonoco was right one but it will need to have focused on the examination of its recruitment process such as assessing which recruitment techniques are creating the greatest range of applicants, assessing the length of time employees who are recruited by different actions stay with the organisation and how well they perform and assessing what proportion of candidates from different sources are actually hired. It must have also centered on the benchmarking of absenteeism and settlement to assess the performance of the business apart from the turn over by themselves as the performance signal.

On the other hands, Sonoco Products Company didn't perform any statistical examination of its succession planning process. Instead, its HR division supported a functional measure of the system to find out whether candidates are being put in appropriate open up positions and if they are successful in those positions. When the company executed its process, divisions reported a 75 % saving in time, compared to time spent in previous years. Furthermore, Sonoco has an 80 to 90 per cent success rate in performance and promotability.

Thus it is visible that even though the HR changes at Sonoco were successful and sequence of changes is at right course but there is a further huge opportunity for improvement as Sonoco needs to inculcate a strong evaluation and review system because of its HRM tactics especially to reinforce its recruitment and succession planning techniques.

Q2. What could have done in a different way? Why? Consider the results of your decision?

Cindy Hartley experienced identified the three priorities in Sonoco Products Company

1. Reimbursement and Performance Management System.

2. Worker Development Process.

3. Succession Planning.

Performance Management System and Compensation

As per my view that HR strategy to be governed by corporate and business HR insurance policies and these strategies are designed to govern on Business performance, economical scenario, progress etc. Group HR provides specialist services to the businesses in the regions of staffing, management development, command development, rewards and benefits, job evaluation and evaluation, performance management, organisational development, ERP platform, etc

Corporate strategies are drilled right down to all other Business level.

Business strategies depending on Tournaments, Customer needs, and monetary feasibility, market and communal risk, environmental issue, process and service capabilities etc, This Business strategies are percolated to Product level strategies. Product level strategies are divided into Key Consequence Areas ( KRA's ) of individual.

The KRA's and smart goals of specific are produced through X matrix for linkages with the machine Strategies. Predicated on guidelines produced from Vision, Quest and Guidelines the strategic initiatives are produced into highest level focuses on. The deployment starts from linkage of CEO goals (Targets of the company) start of Vice Presidents' (Practical objectives) and so on.

The control details of a level are believed as management factors of sub-ordinates and appropriately activity deployment reaches to the previous person in the organization. Mid-term and gross annual reviews, revisiting and performance analysis is carried out for everyone employees. PMS exercise culminates with a reviews from all employees to get more transparency and strengthens the system.

The compensation will be directly linked to Business performance, Product performance and Individual performance. This translucent PMS system will create a healthy competition between employees to provide better consequence and performance. A organized plan to be needed for Non performers to boost their performance. A WORKER rated substandard are motivated to improve through counselling, training, coaching etc

Compensation, performance appraisal and inspiration within an international

setting varies from the nationwide setting scheduled to legal requirements, cultural

issues and physical issues. Monetary incentives are not really the only tools open to management for motivating performance. There are other factors than money - specifically, the job satisfaction, career growth, recognition, other incentives/benefits, job security etc also to be looked at. An incentive system made for one cultural framework may be improper when transferred to various other. Using ethnic models, organisations can understand and identify the variations in motivating factors across cultures and implement appropriate motivation approaches.

Employee Development Process

It's people who make the difference. This difference is apparent through competencies, value adherence, entrepreneurship, ability to lead, network and team working culture. The Company to be builds partnering relationships with employees via an methodology of empowering people with well defined tasks, specialists and accountabilities. Ownership strategy is promoted

through people engagement in every spheres of management. Initiatives are motivated through people focused processes wherein performances are assessed and recognized. Career Paths: Identified through Competency Analysis and Discussion Report (CADD). The organization shall have a system of discovering skill degrees of all employees through an Annual Competency Assessment process. Gaps discovered are bridged through designed training and development programs. The organization will be centered on multiskilling its employees for making sure alignments with changing technology and business circumstance. Mix Functional Multiskilling is promoted through organized job rotations and on-the-job training and deployments. The business will put into action various systems of competency diagnosis through Q12, 360 opinions & CADD. Spaces are filled through training, systematic cross team subjection, assignments, KIPs, advanced schooling & instruction etc. The Company may concentrate is on creating a learning company through systematic approach of determining training needs, imparting training and calculating its performance to continuously improve the skill & competency levels of its employees.

Succession Planning

Succession planning ensures the option of experienced and able employees that are prepared to assume these jobs as they become available. Succession planning is essential parts of your organisation's ability to reduce risk, create a proven leadership model, easy business continuity and improve personnel morale. Succession planning has to ensure that the right people with the right skills are in the right place at the right time. It can be done in 3 ways: role-based, individual-based and team-based. The first is about identifying key positions, the next focuses after key people, and the previous involves swapping a section of individuals or resources.

The other essential factors are: (a) accountability, as the succession planning program requires ownership by any means levels in the Company. Each supervisor should be accountable for assessing and developing the talent in his or her team. (b) Regular attention, as it can be tempting to forget the need for succession planning when confronted with more immediate needs. Keep carefully the succession process simple and rely on training and development are two best practices. The Organisation has to create a system to nurture and retain the skills through the organised methodologies for competitive gain.

Proper succession planning in all functions across the organization needs to be achieved concretely to face the near future competition especially in the globalization of business. The bench power of current and future market leaders provides competitive border to every corporation.

Learning Organisation

In an extremely competitive environment, the long lasting way to obtain competitive benefit is the ability of business to continually create new advantage. Being skilful at generating new advantage company have to learn, restructure their inner and external marriage, and apply new knowledge and understanding to everyday functioning. An organization must collectively learn new ideas, values and tendencies for change to occur. The organization shall be in a position to create, identify, retain and leverage knowledge over a continual basis to stay competitive in global deregulated market place of today. Learning organisation address the problems of organizing concepts and practices to be able to maximize their ability to gather and interpret relevant information and action accordingly. In such vibrant context, several concern such as higher production, efficiency, innovation, versatility, imagination etc have gained enormous importance. The organization have to resolved the Learning issues on marketing, procedure, work force capacity, professional top management, work culture, adoptability, HRM, organizational structure, financial strength etc.

Employment Branding

Employment branding is where the employer will try to get the best brains available to work in his company so that they can deliver better customer value. The business shall have two branding missions - the product and the workplace branding. Organisation will try to build them as Wish Corporation to benefit through work branding. The target; of work branding treatment is performance improvement through hiring and keeping the top talent. Therefore work branding is a way to make certain that what the business and its employee deliver suits to the assurance designed to the external customers

Employee Satisfaction

The Organizational Health Review is used to improve employees' working experiencing and thereby increasing their satisfaction, motivation, determination and performance. Healthy organizations feature high worker engagement, effective dialog between each degree of the company, important team and individual development, and the capability to sense and react to important changes in customers, marketplaces, and rules.

The Organisation has to make a system to measure and monitor employee satisfaction on various guidelines of the company through Company Health Review (OHS) which to be conducted once in 24 months besides total annual dipstick review conducted at Unit level every year. The employees of the company gives their reviews on various issues. The results of OHS are addressed for actioning through activity force developed for addressing specific improvement varying.

Work Life Balance

More stress to perform better under intense competition has creped in to the individuals when compared with before. Balancing work and family life is one of the regions of high main concern for business to reply with various programs. The Company has to make a system focused emphasis on improving Quality of Life to build prolonged collaboration with employees including their family. The employees of the company shall spent quality time with the family and friends brings about increase their productivity.

Q3: Will changes be suffered? What should Cindy Hartley focus on next? Why?

Cindy was presented with the responsibility of creating a more professional, business focused and adding HR function. Following the first couple of months Cindy identified the following 3 key priorities: -

1. Changing the performance measurement and management system and linking compensation to the same.

2. Employee development and upskilling them

3. Creating a succession planning program to identify expertise and leaders

4. Ensuring progress within diversity

To address the 4 priorities, Cindy caused some significant changes in HR regulations and structure. Discussed below are some of the key highlights and whether the changes are sustainable: -

1. Creation associated with an HR Council - This was a senior HR forum with representation from Central HR as well as Business HR associates. The forming of this council caused cohesion and standardization in way in HR related things. All HR verticals would come onto the same web page. It retarded disjointed strategy and was critical when major changes were on the anvil. This was the right move to make and very much lasting as then the initiatives are being taken forward with many consensus and after having examined diverse opinions.

2. Performance Management - The critical change here was to web page link business goals with specific goals. A 6-section Performance Management system was rolled out. Formal appraisals as per stipulated timelines were mandated. Performance measurement metrics were discussed jointly with the supervisor and worker. Personal and Job development formed a key component of the new construction. This is the right move to make and very much sustainable as metric founded standardized assessments reduces perception-based appraisals.

3. Linking Rewards to Performance Management - changes were made to link both. The 18 grades were collapsed into 5 grades, which made the composition flatter and sharper. The change provided greater managerial overall flexibility in differentiating and awarding merit boosts. Managers were made more accountable to judge performance in a merit-based manner and present rewards accordingly. This was the right move to make and incredibly much sustainable as it rewards the nice performers and identifies under performers.

4. Leadership Development & Succession Planning - The GM's along with HR Team blessed a 4-level process (I) Assess (ii) Identify gaps (iii) Build development Plan (iv) Put into action. The development plan was to be 70% face to face and 30% through other methods. Analysis of the manager's capability to meet up with the primary competencies were predicated on 3 elements (a) the performance management system (b) the 360 deg feedback (c) succession planning. This is the right thing to do and very much ecological as with out a continuous pipeline of expertise and market leaders, no initiative can survive long.

With the above-mentioned changes integrated, Cindy can get to start to see the following results within the next 12-18 weeks: -

- The new performance and compensation-based system would throw up a new group of talent and leaders, which would help out with succession planning.

- Under performers would exit making way to bring in fresh expertise or expand from within the ranks.

- Expect production to increase.

- Expect to see Managers taking more accountability on people development and talent retention.

- HR Council would generate standardization in way.

- More creative imagination and ideas coming up.

- Better management of diversity

Some of the main element items she should focus on in the years ahead are as below :-

1. THE NEAR FUTURE HR framework - As brought out in pages 10, 11 of the case study, Cindy must decide amongst the 2 2 possible models, centralised or cross. All of the good initiatives would be non ecological without a robust HR structure to operate a vehicle them forward. The ultimate model should be with the buy in of the GM's.

2. Demanding reviews and measurement - with so many good initiatives launched, it is critical for Cindy & Team to constantly assess progress if the same has added value and increased efficiency. Strategy should be recalibrated to examine progress.

3. 360 deg feedback - It might be best for Cindy to activate the GM's regularly and get 360 deg reviews from them if the GM's believe that all the HR changes are adding value and making a difference on floor.

4. Employee Engagement - Highly engaged teams give better results. In my organisation for the last 7 years, the Gallup Q12 framework has been very efficently used to enhance proposal The difference is visible and engagement is currently area of the DNA.

5. Variety & Inclusion - Should build upon this further as it would reduce amount and bring about scalability and creativity. It would improve the organisations capabilities to manage change and develop across borders.


This is no easy job with the organization as vast so when strong as Sonoco must go through a change, it'll certainly be huge but it is definitely attainable.

Cindy must focus on the key priorities in a organized manner. Her goal is to improve the complete string of HR activities and in the following manner:

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