With origins dating back to 1932, Tereos is the third-largest sugar group in the world with 26,000 employees in 18 countries. This story dates back to 2017 – the ‘sugar rush’ – when deregulation of EU export quotas led to a supply surge and a global slump in the price of sugar.
Our client’s needs:
Having been cocooned by quotas, the industry simply wasn’t equipped to fight in this new fiercely competitive world market. With competitors’ production plants/factories closing and the marketplace in turmoil, Tereos recognised the need to adapt, transform and focus on industry excellence – to move the business forward, reduce costs, increase efficiencies and adapt to change.
In 2018, with a new COO on board, Tereos published ‘Ambitions 2022’, a strategy for transformation based on diversification and expansion. Part of this was to overhaul L&D, specifically leadership development, focusing on 47 global senior plant managers – an audience who had never received any formal leadership development, were used to working in silos and comprised a diverse mix of languages, cultures and behaviours.
Working collaboratively, The Oxford Group and Tereos designed the unique and award-winning Plant Manager Development Programme – taking every plant manager globally on a blended learning journey. The program aimed to:
- Break down silos and create a culture of community and transverse collaboration
- Help people manage change and highlight diversification as a strength
- Embed people values and behaviors, promoting understanding of the Tereos value chain
- Develop leadership and management competencies (versus a purely technical focus)
The face-to-face learning comprises three modules of three days each, blended with virtual classrooms, webinars, peer coaching and a business challenge. This 13-month blended learning journey has face-to-face modules delivered in three different locations – France, Brazil and Belgium – and concludes with an ongoing action plan.
The program is delivered via TEREOS Academy and focuses on four areas:
- Leading Tereos
- Leading the sites
- Leading others
- Leading ourselves
Key to the program is a focus on empowerment, moving managers from micromanagement to accountability and ownership, and how this translates to site and specific behaviours.
From the outset Tereos faced several challenges in delivering the programme:
- Engagement – given that nothing of this scale had been tried before, people were cautious, envisioning a heavy workload coupled with three weeks out of their workplace
- Cultural diversity – language barriers and differences in cultural perspectives/attitudes
- Logistics – finding locations was tough, given every participant was travelling
- Environmental – some plants are dependent on seasons, for example, sugar beet, so asking people to leave their sites at key times of the year was tricky.
The programme has overcome all these challenges. For example, content is localised for specific regions, some sessions are delivered in French, with an additional translator from Brazil and one plant manager attends the sessions by phone as she is unable to travel. Tereos are rightly proud of this ambitious, flexible global programme.
Surveys and behavioural assessments pre and post learning show a major impact from the programme on performance, adherence to values and leadership competencies. The programme has helped Tereos buck the trend and outperform their competitors, confirming the strength in their resilient and flexible market strategy.
The programme won a Gold Award in the Brandon Hall HCM Excellence Awards in 2020 in the Best Advance in Senior Management Development category and a gold in the Best leadership development programme category in the the fifth annual Stevie® Awards for Great Employers.