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Employees are the key to shareholder value at Hershey

This Harvard Business Review article caught our attention: https://hbr.org/2022/04/hershey-ceo-michele-buck-on-empowering-internal-change-agents

Michele Buck is the first female CEO in The Hershey Company’s history, and the company has been recognized as one of America’s most female-friendly corporations. One of her most interesting innovations involves tapping internal change agents, sometimes bypassing normal leadership hierarchy. She identified employees who had shown “an ability to see where trends were headed.” She put them in small groups to tackle big initiatives, pairing them with people who had strong executive skills. “I made sure that we listened to their thinking on this, because I think a lot of times those really disruptive thinkers can get shut down.”

Here are our takeaways:

  • Michele looked around the organization for disruptive thinkers, who were bold risk-takers, and really leveraging them on some of these key initiatives that were big and bold to help get the momentum going
  • The ideal change agents are combination of being able to see the future and see where trends were headed, to really think about what some of Hershey's greatest strengths are and how they could be leveraged
  • She formed teams with these people and paired disruptors with amazing executors
  • In addition to shareholder value her primary focus is on the Hershey employees and enabling them to be physically, emotionally, and economically viable