The growth of a business and its people growth go hand in hand

10 Oct 2023 · 4 min read
Four pillars can support building an engaged organization in which people have clarity on how they contribute to broader objectives and grow as professionals.
Frederic Patitucci, Chief People & Culture Officer at Philip Morris International

Written by

Frederic Patitucci, Chief People & Culture Officer at PMI

Male and female employees in an office

It’s no secret that successful businesses grow from the inside out. To move forward with purpose, a company must foster a winning culture that unites and motivates its people.

As leaders, how can we create an environment that enables long-term growth both for the business and people—while maintaining focus on the short-term objectives? How do we define and clarify a company’s DNA, so that people know what is expected from them at all levels? How can we create consistent experiences that ensure equity regardless of function or location?

As I transitioned into my role as Chief People & Culture Officer for Philip Morris International (PMI), I sought answers to these questions. Drawing upon my experience gained over more than three decades, I can share my reflections, hoping that they can be of value to other organizations, both large and small.

Frederic Patitucci, Chief People & Culture Officer at PMI

A people strategy should be anchored in business priorities

Let me share this example. Since we announced our vision of a smoke-free future in 2016, we have mobilized our organization at all levels, changed our business, our operating model, and our ways of working. We have been unstoppable in delivering our vision. Throughout these years, having a clear business purpose and an “all-in” team that works together were fundamental to achieving success.

If you want to transform a culture or a business, you must bring people and business agendas together. To do so, design a cohesive plan that combines organizational efforts and investments required with a talented team which can bring it to life. Having clarity on the direction of travel will sharpen your focus and enhance alignment of employees’ expectations.

Four pillars to an engaged, ever-growing organization

The elements below, which I like to think of as organizational priorities, can help unleash the true potential of your people while fueling the growth of your business.

1) Unite behind clear and common principles

Let your people know how things get done by equipping them with a clear operating model that is consistent across and flexible within. Consistency allows for talent exchange among different pockets of the organization. It also sets clear and uniform career paths across the organization.

All your employees must know what your company stands for, its purpose, and what role they can play in achieving it. It’s vital everyone feels they belong to a unified team, and shares a common way of working, so that consistent results can be delivered across all functions and geographies.

You will likely achieve a collaborative environment where people feel they create better outcomes and deliver better results when together.

2) Enable your people to grow and lead

Make sure your people feel equipped to grow, both individually and collectively. Look to enhance your focus on people development, and on establishing core corporate leadership programs, cross-functional opportunities, and mentorship schemes.

Clarify what a career can look like within your organization, help employees articulate their aspirations, and strike a balance between promoting your internal talent and relying on external sourcing.

By providing these tools and opportunities, people will choose to grow with your company—even in a competitive market.

3) Create a sustainable, equitable, and inclusive workplace

Ensure your people are skilled, empowered, and confident to thrive in the evolving world of work—both today and tomorrow. To do so, invest in upskilling, reskilling, and employability over time.

At the same time, focus on fostering a workplace where people feel they belong. Embed diversity, equity, and inclusion in everything you do to create a workplace culture where everyone can have access to consistent and equitable experiences, regardless of their function, seniority, or geography.

If you want to transform a culture or a business, you must bring people and business agendas together.

4) Define your workplace culture, behaviors, and values

What is the company’s engine built on? What is the distinctive legacy that defines your ways of working? Looking ahead, what do you want the DNA of your organization to be?

Define and clarify the set of common principles that represent your culture. Translate them into concrete behaviors and explain to each one of your employees what is expected of them at all levels. Anchor these principles in your people and culture (or human resources) processes.

By doing so, you will foster consultative and supportive leadership styles and empower your people to do the same.

Ensure focus and share the responsibility

As you look at these priorities, remember that they are not a mere People & Culture strategy. They are horizontal enablers that touch everyone in the organization.

If you want to unlock the potential of the workforce and safeguard the future of your company, everyone—particularly the leaders—must be accountable to make these priorities a reality, regardless of the function or geography they belong to. And remember, this process is a journey.

As you focus on finding common principles, designing talent programs, and creating an inclusive workplace with a clear set of values, you may face some challenges. But you must not divert from the main destination: enabling the growth of your business and your people.


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