Head of Global Talent and D&I at Nestle Waters on why roleshare flexibility is key to an inclusive future

Head of Global Talent and D&I at Nestle Waters on why roleshare flexibility is key to an inclusive future

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E2 S1 - Talk Roleshare Podcast

Adele Cestari, Head of Global Talent, and Diversity and Inclusion at Nestle Waters, talks about trends that must be addressed for continuity of the business and her strategies to convert aspiration to action – some of which include role modeling of shared roles at senior levels. Listen to Adele on “trends of the future no more” – they are the new reality… .

Episode Transcript

Sophie Smallwood: Hey, this is Talk with Roleshare, I'm Sophie Smallwood, co-founder of Roleshare.com. Today, we talk with Adele Cestari, head of global talent and diversity and inclusion at Nestlé Waters. She talks about trends that must be addressed for continuity of the business and her strategies to convert aspiration to action, some of which include role modeling of shared roles at senior levels. Here's Adele on trends of the future. No more. They are the new reality.

Adele Cestari: We can see that these kids are showing us that more and more the workforce are not going to be like what we have today. So, we may face that your having the same company, different employees working for us and maybe our competitors or other companies by job or by project or definitely contracts. So, it's a new reality coming. Definitely. It's not how we are operating today. We can see trends like millennials that operates in a different way. For example, they demand a rapid career roll, compelling, flexible workplace and a sense of purpose at work. And this is changing the way we needed to operate in terms of jobs, in terms of roles. We are going to be pressure more and more to change. We also be operating like the past. We can see, for example, boomers that are working to their 70s or 80s. So there is a real change right now as well in terms of the technology is disrupting the way we are working. So we have a lot of jobs that we're talking today that will not exist in the future. We are going to be talking about reskilling people, about work or new jobs that we never imagined to have. So just in this context, I think we will need to reformulate the way we are linking our workers to our companies and for sure, like job sharing. I definitely can see something happening easily in the future. So today, we have for sure companies that are already working on this way. But the lower level, let's say. Definitely, in the future it will be more the reality that we're going to be facing, and I think we should be preparing for that. So that is good that we can talk, we can explore and try to implement and to finance this type of thing because it will be the reality in the future for me as well.

Sophie Smallwood: What do you think it takes other than the leadership example, to actually drive change? Surely it can't just be that leaders are modeling. There have to be other consideration points as well. How do you think that change can come about?

Adele Cestari: This requires a change on the way of thinking how I give value to the company and how the company sees me. We should change a little bit of these dynamics. We need to reform, lead the way and to ensure to people that they still have the space to compete on a healthy way. But that's why I come back to the future and to the way we need to establish the environments for positive implementation.

Sophie Smallwood: Yeah, I think what you're saying here is really important. And in senior roles, for example, any role really, for that matter, inside of an organization today, you are paid to do a certain job. You have certain responsibilities that fall under the umbrella of that role. Certain areas of the role you'll be really strong in. Right. You just naturally are strong in those areas. You're passionate about those particular aspects of the role and the other aspects of the role, they just will not be aligned to your strengths. So if you think about it in a brochure, it's more about aligning partners to their strengths. So from a company's perspective, you're then getting an individual who is focused on his or her strengths, partnered up with someone who complements them based on his or her strengths. And together they become almost a synergise micro team. Right. That's where really the opportunity lies with senior roles. Typically, they're paid quite well. So, from a company perspective, you want to make sure you're getting the most from that role. And also it's just more satisfying from an employee perspective to be working on things that you enjoy, that you're strong in and you'll get the best performance that way.

Adele Cestari: Yeah, it's interesting, this perspective, because it opens the door to other ways of thinking. So I'm imagining myself here a senior role that has different skills to be applied. The guy is very strong in some of these skills and maybe not in others. And this is where the complementation can come. If you are doing our role sharing so can hire someone that is strong on the other skills necessary to operate the job. And this can be a good implementation. So this way of thinking, it's positive and can be a way in the future to be doing that on higher levels than we needed to see how these population at these levels see that, and a little bit to the openness as well to work on this type of complementation.

Sophie Smallwood: The people who are sharing the role together, it's like a micro team. Oftentimes when you're working in your role, it can feel quite lonely. Right. You've got all of these metrics that are on top of your shoulders. There's a lot of responsibility. Sometimes you can get into a little bit of your own little silo, a personal silo. And so when you have someone that's sharing the role with you, you're measured together. You really are in essence in it together, whereas oftentimes inside of a team today, it's quite competitive. You're part of a team, but actually every single person on your team is your direct competition. Whereas in a micro team you are truly together. You've got each other's back and you focus on each other's strengths. You identify themes that work for you based on your experience level, and you focus on those themes and or responsibilities. But you can step into the shoes of the other person if needed. Right? So if one person goes away on holiday, the other person can cover up the entire role and vice versa. So that's how I've seen it work. And and then one last point that is really interesting is I've seen other companies that actually are thinking of role sharing in a way to give exposure to different parts of the business. And you were talking about reskilling earlier. So as we think about reskilling, sharing roles can be a great way to do that. If somebody has been working and a certain part of the business and he or she needs to be trained in other parts of the business, you could potentially use role sharing as a way to reskill as well. How different would that be from any team today? Because if you look at a job share, ultimately it's a micro team. It's about looking at a role and dissecting it for two people.

Adele Cestari: I see that we should have a lot of maturity from people that are partnering these type of roles because, as you said, they needed to be complementary. They should work together. So it's more co-operative as well itself. So, if people are not ready to operate like that, this is my concern. But at the same time, if we do not try or if you don't pilot. So we are never going to be there. We are not piloting. We are not seeing the difficulties or the barriers to make it happen in more levels. I would say that there is the good intention from our side will be for this approach, for the future. And I would be open to be trying more, exploring more these people inside the company as well. If we see that in terms of the team, as you said, for healing or giving more opportunities to people to share or to no other skills inside the organization. This can be a good option as well when you are facing right now in terms of growing career some different training. So it's not any more like a vertical increase as in the past but more aspero, or lateral aspero in terms of growing career. This can be something that can give some light to the challenges we have today. A lot of people on waiting lists for roles even marketing sales should be a business head. This is a little bit our reality today and this type of job sharing, for example, for the roles that they really want, the organization. Let's say that a senior role, it's a business manager responsible for our country, for example. This would be interesting to see in the future. So imagine that we can have the same role. The business management role with two people operating in the same role can be as well. I'm seeing having second thoughts now can be that we have junior talents, should be preparing for the big role as well. You know, operate together with the senior one that is sharing some parts of the world, some skills. And it's learning for a cycle or two or three years and then to be ready to operate in full job.

Sophie Smallwood: Yep.

Adele Cestari: So, this can really be something good, honestly, and some light for the challenges we are facing today.

Sophie Smallwood: Typically, when you think about flexible work, there's always been sort of this persona of working mother attached to that. But this is part of what we're trying to really showcase that actually it should be equal opportunity for flexibility, say tomorrow, hypothetical scenario, say tomorrow you wanted to propose this, a pilot of sharing roles inside of Nestlé Waters. And in particular, you want to pilot this with senior roles. So, people, managers, directors and above, how would you position? What would be your strategy in getting, one, people to want to do these roles, and two, to get buy in from your organization to do it.

Adele Cestari: For roles senior roles it's really to identify roles that we could apply this and open leaders that would be able to do that for role modeling and way that we could really make some success cases to show that it's possible at this type of level because usually for lower levels, administrative levels we are operating, we know that this works. But usually when it comes to lower or higher levels, this is the question how to make it happen. So, in any case of project, not only that, but others, I would go to open leaders that really maybe have a need for that, for example, and to try. Only when we try and make it happen and we show the journey and the success stories, then people can realize, OK, it can happen. So, maybe now I'm allowed to raise my needs and to raise my flag and let's discuss and see how we can evolve on that.

Sophie Smallwood: What do you think would be the biggest blockers to getting people to share roles at a more senior level?

Adele Cestari: People are not to used to it. Not because they don't want. But I think it's how the environment shapes their ways you need to behave. So let's take the industry itself. We have grown up in an environment in our generation that we needed to perform the role. We needed to be the best role. We are very competitive and we need it to grow and it needs to have the promotion. And that's for sure we work in an environment that we are a team and we need to work for the best for the company. But there is a lack of competitiveness. The focus is on me and how to grow in my career in this company. So if we think this context, I think this is a big barrier to change an approach where, OK, I'm, for example, a head of market or I'm the CEO of the company and I'm going to be sharing my job with someone else and maybe questions that can fall back on the of people with how I'm going to protect my small square, how I'm going to sell myself, how I'm going to grow bit these fears that they can feel or how to manage this.

Sophie Smallwood: Sure.

Adele Cestari: So, if you are in an environment that reinforces the cooperation and delivering the results on the way, that job sharing is something good. OK, so people are behaving in an environment that they feel comfortable that they can do that. And what is reward then? Reinforcing this environment is the final results. And the corporation, it's a little bit different. So I think the big barrier is it's really the culture of the company as well. We are already working on in terms of flexibility, for example, what that means, flexibility to Nestlé. And we have implemented policies and some actions and we are working on the future to have the employees comfortable in discussing with their teams, their line managers, what flexibility means to them and how they can have the business continuity both as well, to incorporate flexibility. I would say that we are not there yet on this type of job sharing higher levels. It's that journey probably we will win the future. But flexibility is a hot topic today in the company. So, for example, I participated last month in an workshop at our headquarter in Switzerland where we have a representation of around the world and we are discussing how to revisit to the flexibility of policy actions and how to deploy that she'll have a more flexible environment. So, this something in the agenda, very live agenda. And we have been implementing different things for a while right now. To have more hours during the week where the team should be together. And beyond that, people can be working virtually. They don't need to be present in the office. So. The virtual aspect is very at Nestle because we work digitally, we put the zones, the markets. So, this is our reality today for us and. What we are trying to do is to take out the stereotype that flexible work is only for moms with kids, as we had before. So, today our flag doesn't matter the persona. So people need to have flexibility because people are different. So where and when you are working doesn't matter a lot, but how you are connecting with your stakeholders, your clients and you are delivering results. For us is a journey. We are operating much more right now on the culture and to change minds of the leadership in the future. In the future, the job sharing is going to be a consequence, a natural consequence of the culture change as well.

Sophie Smallwood: I love that. There's definitely something to round up. It's almost an internal movement. But you do need the leadership. You do need those role models. But those role models should be authentic. It shouldn't be asking somebody to role model. It should be people who actually need the flexibility for whatever reason who happen to be in that senior role. And you basically proposed this option to them, because if it's not authentic, then they won't be the right advocate for you internally anyway. The other thing that you mentioned was protect my role. So, this really struck a chord with me because it's true. Everyone wants to protect their role and people are territorial by nature. What I've seen in the conversations I've had with individuals who have done well sharing, many of them started off full-time, then actually went part-time. The part time experience was horrendous for them for a number of reasons. One, they went from full time to part time. So, it was very hard to compare yourself to your full time self. Right. You just couldn't perform at the same level, doing the same job part-time, alone. Or if they went from full time to part time, they went into a role that was less impactful, perhaps less challenging. And so that was also a struggle. So, those individuals then, when they continued on the part time flexibility route, decided to do job sharing because then it was an exciting career opportunity for them and they could still get that flexibility. Right. So it was really great for people who are quite ambitious, actually, who care very much about their career and wanting to make significant impact but also wanted that flexibility. In a case where you have to have a reorg or you have layoffs and things of that nature, do you think perhaps offering individuals an option to share a role could be a way to retain them while still meeting the business needs?

Adele Cestari: Definitely, if we're talking about a reorganization and potential ways to keep the knowledge and the skills that the business need inside the company than to lose them to the market. This can be an option. So I like this when I listen because gives ideas, the reality everywhere today, today's reorganization, I think the companies are rethinking themselves in terms of the industry change and the impacts we are having. So, definitely in terms of retention it's something to be on the table. I want to comment one point about full time and part time. So, we have a lot of part-time as well inside the company. An important point related to the future of the market or the country. In countries like the US, UK, Switzerland, I saw that working very well. Part time, there is no discrimination about part time. They are used these embedded in the future of the country as well. Let's see, there are some regions, if I tell you from Latam I'm from there, I do not see people comfortable with part time. It is not well seen. So we need to balance as well and to work to break some barriers of the future of the country in the ways of working in some regions. But I think of the good examples of developed markets can help on this journey as well. When you talk about job sharing, I think it's something different. There's this perception of part-time because usually for part-time as well, there is something in mind that says, well, for lower levels, I will not be well seen if I do part-time, etc. for higher levels. And so job sharing has a different connotation because you needed to operate within a different level and cooperation with your partner to make the right way for the job and is new mentality of how to connect different talents and strengths and skills inside the company can be very beneficial to the business as well. Even when you are facing reorganization and we are seeing that lot right now and we need to map the skills, map the knowledge that we have, and that we are losing when operating to where we are. And definitely I'm happy to hear that. And this can be a good point.

Sophie Smallwood: How do you think the roles of 10 years from now will be shaped differently than the roles of 30 years ago?

Adele Cestari: We are in that journey to discover that. So as I said before, there are lots of jobs that in the future we are not going to exist. We will need to reinvent or to rescue people for the new jobs that are going to be in the future. And we will need to see how to connect talents, to these new needs that we have or if we needed to rescue or to train them. We have a huge automation technology. It has disruption for the business models today and we are seeing that it's already a reality and much more in the future. So I don't think we have all the answers for events. We will need to be quite open and agile on the perceiving the environment and how this change is operating. And we will need to be ready for that change. So for me, a lot of changes will happen on this context for the shape of the roles of the future. And we need to be agile in perception and to be ready to cope with that for the future.

Sophie Smallwood: That was Adele Cestari, head of global talent and diversity and inclusion at Nestlé Waters for thinking on how shared roles could be leveraged for career transitions was spot on. And her point on offering the option to share coveted leadership roles is a great way to retain talent. I'm Sophie Smallwood, co-founder of Roleshare.com. Thanks for listening and join us for the next episode of Talk with Roleshare.

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