Pursuing Greatness for Good
Independent spirits group Edward Snell & Co’s purpose is to pursue greatness for good to bring about meaningful change and make a positive impact. The company focuses on investing in and empowering its people to seek and achieve great things and effect transformation.
Transformation is not just about keeping abreast of market standards and having best-in class human resources practices and processes in place. It is also about making sure that as the business grows, the people are not left behind, and that the practices and processes contribute to employees feeling seen, heard, and assured that they matter. This is the word from Edward Snell & Co’s HR and Transformation manager, Nangamso Mahunonyane, who is responsible for driving employee retention through HR transformational practices that support the broader organisational strategic objectives.
She says people are unquestionably an organisation’s greatest asset. “Businesses can have as many plans and goals in place as they like, but without people, they won’t be able to realise them. This is why investing in people is a priority for us at Edward Snell & Co, especially when it comes to our company purpose – the pursuit of greatness for good. As part of the roll out of its purpose and leadership behaviours, this year the company trained virtually all its staff on “Our Leadership Journey”. This commences with participants attending self-awareness training to learn how their behaviours inform the type of leaders they are and wish to be. “This has provided a great foundation for our people skills initiatives, as we believe that leadership is something that is learned – a consequence of choices that each of us can make,” adds Mahunonyane. The company prides itself on its numerous in-house and external training programmes. “This includes our bursary programme where we offer funding for tertiary education, not only to our staff, but to their relatives as well. We also run various work-integrated learning programmes, which target the youth at large as we believe that the youth are a huge source of untapped potential in South Africa,” concludes Mahunonyane.
CREATING A CULTURE OF CUSTOMER-CENTRICITY
At the heart of every business is the need for first-class customer service. Having a business model that revolves around customer-centricity helps the organisation to give its customers a positive and personalised experience. In return, the company will have a loyal customer base and a competitive edge over its rivals. Someone who understands this principle well is Aimmie Gounden, Customer Contact Centre manager at Edward Snell & Co. Her role involves overseeing order placement as well as query and complaints management for the business nationally. “As the first point of contact for our customers and sales representatives, the contact centre sets in motion the entire supply chain process to get our brands on shelves. A strong customer focus is crucial at this level,” she says. “The Edward Snell & Co Contact Centre was ranked the best in the industry for three consecutive years,” says Gounden. “This can only be achievedif the contact centre staff ensure that customers receive superior service.”
The company aimed to create a consistent and excellent customer experience with every interaction. To realise this, the organisation segmented its efforts into customers, people, processes, and technology initiatives. From a customer perspective, a comprehensive quality assurance standard was set for the contact centre, and employees receive ongoing training and evaluation to maintain this standard. Gounden says: “With the customer at the centre of everything we do, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our responsiveness and service delivery.” Another focus area that Gounden is passionate about is upskilling people. The company runs a one-year graduate sales intern programme that exposes the trainees to the company’s customers and brands. “Realising the great opportunity before us to retain the top-performing sales interns inspired me to develop a pipeline programme to employ these young, talented individuals into vacant contact centre positions. I am very proud that this programme has resulted in the employment of 10 interns, all of whom were unemployed before, and some of whom have since been promoted into other positions within Edward Snell & Co,” she says.
CARE AND CONCERN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
While a commitment to preserving the environment is the responsibility of every person, companies must also play their part as their sustainability depends on it. Being environmentally friendly can help companies cut costs, improve efficiency, and create healthier workplaces. Passionate about this principle is Edward Snell & Co Portfolio Marketing manager, Kelly Johnson. She believes that while no business can claim it’s perfect in this area, companies are showing an interest in placing the environment higher up on their agenda. Johnson is responsible for William Grant and Sons’ portfolio of whisky brands in South Africa, which include Glenfiddich Single Malt, Balvenie Single Malt, and Grant’s Scotch whiskies. Her role entails making global brands locally relevant and meaningful to consumers. A highlight in her career has been having the locally developed Glenfiddich Challengers Club adopted by the global brand team as a best in-class product. She says: “Versions of this project were rolled out across the world, and I’m proud that we’ve put South Africa’s marketing capability on the world stage.” As part of Edward Snell & Co purpose to pursue greatness for good, the company has targeted the circular economy as one of its three “for good” focus areas. With all the water used in Glenfiddich Single Malt whisky drawn from a single-source spring in Scotland, the importance of preserving water sources and raising awareness about water security is a natural fit for the brand. Edward Snell & Co’s is currently working with the World Wide Fund for Nature to ensure that all the proceeds from the recent Glenfiddich Auction of Rare Whiskies contribute to the rehabilitation of natural springs in the upper catchment areas of the Eastern Cape, thus ensuring access to fresh water for the surrounding communities. “We care deeply about the communities we operate in and want to leave the planet in a better state than we found it,” she concludes.