Labor Relations Tone Set at the Top: Campbell Soup Co.

Upon arrival at Campbell’s, Conant had a long list of goals he wanted the company to achieve by 2011. With the help of employees and a strong corporate culture, Conant set the tone at the top, resulting in the achievement of company goals.

Posted by Joe Gerard in Code of Conduct, Ethics & Compliance, Human Resources on May 7th, 2010

Campbell Soup Co. has undergone significant changes since 2001, when Doug Conant was named CEO. On their corporate website, Conant attributes the successful transformation of the company to its employees, stating “we’re performing at a higher level and are more innovative and more self-governed because our employees believe that each individual can make a difference to Campbell’s success.”  Campbell’s has received numerous awards recognizing the company’s commitment to their employees. The awards highlight Campbell’s as a great place to work, supporting the employment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals, committing to corporate social responsibility and ethics, the advancement of women and promoting healthy lifestyles amongst employees and members of the public. Conant’s leadership has set the tone for the future of Campbell’s, celebrating the contributions of its employees along the way.

Best Practices: Tone at the Top

Upon arrival at Campbell’s, Conant had a long list of goals he wanted the company to achieve by 2011. With the help of employees and a strong corporate culture, Conant set the tone at the top, resulting in the achievement of company goals. In reviews from, employees at Campbell’s have praised company CEO Doug Conant for being a great leader, stating he lives the values of the company, is respectful of everyone in the workplace and knows what needs to be done to create a diverse, engaging workplace. In the Businessweek article “Lighting A Fire Under Campbell,” Harvey Golub, Campbell’s chairman and the former head of American

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Express stated, “He’s (Conant) an extraordinary leader who behaves with the utmost integrity. People follow him and believe in him.” Conant’s ability to act consistently with company values adds credibility to corporate initiatives and policies. When top executives practice what they preach, employees are more inclined to work towards achieving company goals and bring forward new product ideas.

At Campbell’s, they are committed to “nourishing people’s lives everywhere, every day.” Conant understands the impact of employee recognition and takes time each day to personally commend employees for their efforts.  In the article “Lighting A Fire Under Campbell,” Businessweek reports:

“In his time at Campbell, Conant has sent out more than 16,000 handwritten thank-you notes to staffers, from the chief investment officer to the receptionist at headquarters–notes often found hanging in people’s offices or above their desks. ‘[In business] we’re trained to find things that are wrong, but I try to celebrate what’s right,’ says Conant.”

Best Practices: Employee Relations

The development of employee engagement programs and support groups at Campbell’s has redefined the relationship between employees at Campbell’s. Winning in the Workplace, Winning in the Marketplace, Winning with Women, is an initiative geared towards increasing the presence of women in managerial, executive and manufacturing roles. In 2010, Campbell’s received a Catalyst Diversity & Inclusion award for this program, demonstrating a commitment to the advancement of women in the workplace.

Campbell’s Lifestyle Change Awards is a program established to recognize the achievements of employees who have made commitments to adopt healthier lifestyles. Examples of the types of lifestyle changes made have been developing healthy eating habits, participating in physical activity, weight management, reducing blood pressure and stress levels and quitting smoking. Campbell’s also developed a series of annual awards presented to employees and teams at the company’sExtraordinary Performance Awards gala.

Campbell’s has created a variety of employee networks to help provide support for employees and encourage workplace diversity and inclusion:

  • Campbell African American Network
  • Asian Network of Campbell
  • Hispanic Network de Campbell
  • Our Pride Employee Network
  • The Bridge
  • Women of Campbell
  • Global American Indian/Aboriginal Network

These support groups allow employees to come together and discuss challenges they face at work. Group discussions assist employees in understanding and relating to each other, creating an inclusive culture at Campbell’s.

Although Campbell’s has received numerous awards for improvements in employee engagement, innovation, employee diversity and inclusion, Conant repeatedly states that there is still room for the company to progress- always room to be better.

Joe Gerard
Joe Gerard

CEO, i-Sight

Spend my days showing off the i-Sight investigative case management software and finding ways to help clients improve their investigations. Usually working with corporate security, HR & employee relations, compliance and legal teams.

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