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General Mills: Nourishing Lives Through Learning
General Mills, Chief Learning Officer magazine’s No. 1 ranked LearningElite company for 2012, has a consistent record of developing employees with learning that is business-focused, measured and career-oriented.
Global food company General Mills’ mission is to make customers’ lives healthier and easier by providing foods that contribute to a healthy heart and offering low-calorie or portion-controlled options to help people manage their weight. It aims to offer convenient meals that can be made in minutes and provide nourishment on the run.
CEO Kendall J. Powell has said he strives to nourish every person around the world through these strategies, and he doesn’t stop with consumers. To grow great brands means the company has to grow great people. To attract, retain and develop world-class talent, General Mills consistently allocates resources to create a sustainable learning and development organization, making it Chief Learning Officer magazine’s No. 1 ranked LearningElite company for 2012.
At General Mills, senior leadership support comes not only in the form of financial backing, but through active commitment. Starting with the CEO, leaders act as faculty for the General Mills Institute, the company’s learning organization, and for learning offerings in the company’s different functions. This support makes the program special, said Kathy Carlson, director of supply chain learning and development at General Mills.
“It is recognized that learning goes on beyond the classroom, so the investment is broader than the training budget,” Carlson said. “Our leaders are keenly aware of their pipeline of employees, and the learning and development leaders work to create the right opportunities and developmental offerings to effectively and efficiently develop our employees.”
The General Mills Institute has established schools for a range of learning initiatives that provide education to employees, suppliers, partners and customers. The schools include the North America Supplier School, Asia Supplier School, Broker School and AIB Training for External Supply Chain.
For example, in October the General Mills North America Supplier School held a learning event for raw material suppliers. The theme was “Protect-Educate-Partner,” and General Mills food safety subject-matter experts presented timely information on food safety topics. This knowledge-based, interactive course was developed to improve suppliers’ competencies regarding food safety, sanitation and quality management. The learning team utilized the General Mills campus and facilities to show how to gain differential advantage from its ingredient supply chain. The gathering had more than 350 attendees and has been established as an ongoing, globally branded event.
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