Coca-Cola Company is the largest beverage company in the world, providing its products to the customers in over 200 countries with over 500 still and carbonated drinks. The company was created in 1886 when an Atlanta pharmacist Doctor John Pemberton made the first carbonated soda that was deemed ‘excellent’ by people who took the first sample of the product. Frank Robinson, Pemberton’s partner, helped in naming the brand Coca-Cola, which is still the company’s main brand name. Coca-Cola’s chief competitor is PepsiCo. The company tries to compete with PepsiCo through its capacity to produce various brands with different flavors such as Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Dasani, Minute maid and many others in order to suit the needs of its customers around the globe. Additionally, the company provides products of different sizes and with various packaging, some of which are pocket-friendly. In 2014, the company employed over 700,000 people worldwide, serving numerous customers in more than 200 countries. About 94% of the people around the world, especially the youths, recognize various Coca-Cola’s brands, increasing the numbers of consumers of Coca-Cola products.
This paper analyzes the human resource practices, mainly the reward and organizational culture, of Coca-Cola Company. Coca-Cola Company is usually considered a sustainable, modern, and successful business because of its unique and flexible organizational culture that provides a fair working environment for all of its employees who undergo training regularly. The company is unique because it uses worldwide working for teams with different people, ideas, and talents. In order to be sustainable in this complex workplace and marketplace, the company understands, operates, and embraces the multicultural world. The company’s culture is flexible as it changes along with the changing world in order to accommodate the shifting needs of the employees.
Additionally, the company motivates its employees through various types of rewards. In this way, customers enjoy excellent products and services provided by these motivated employees. By a constant dialogue, the company enhances a better understanding of its stakeholders including customers, suppliers and employees. Their slogan “Open Happiness”, published in 2009, clearly shows their interest in keeping the customers happy. The slogan was introduced for stimulating people to continue enjoying Coca-Cola refreshments. This clearly shows that the company considers its customers a priority. Additionally, it offers promotional campaigns where consumers win some prizes.
There are many definitions of an organizational culture, but this paper will focus on three of them. According to Deal and Kennedy, an organizational culture is “the way things get done around here.” Hill and Jones define the organizational culture as a specific collection of norms and values shared by groups and people within an organization and that control interaction with stakeholders who are outside the organization and between the employees.
A culture within an organization offers a system of shared meanings and behaviors, forming a basis for mutual understanding and communication. An organization achieves this by utilizing a set of managerial tools such as technology, tasks, goals, communication, and decision-making. Coca-Cola Company uses some of these tools for building a culture in the organization that encourages efficiency in the offered services. For instance, it employs highly motivated and talented associates that perform their assigned tasks, ensure a constant communication, and use the best technology to reach to their customers and to produce the best quality products.
In addition, Schein defines an organizational culture as a pattern of basic assumptions that are shared and learned by people while solving external adaptation problems and internal integration problems of an organization. Schein believes that there are four types of cultures, namely organizational culture, macro-culture, micro-culture, and subculture. He then categorizes the levels of a culture as artifacts (visible), values (visible through a survey), and norms (values and beliefs that are invisible).
Figure 1: Schein’s levels of organizational culture: values, norms and artifacts.
Values are the core level of an organizational culture. These are a set of beliefs that are thought to be good for a company so that it can achieve its goals and objectives. Best values usually imply having employees with characteristics that can improve the delivery of services, thus leading to a higher productivity. When new employees are adapting these values, company managers should be involved and help them. Coca-Cola Company has four core values that is expects its employees to share. The first value is quality, where the company claims to commit to providing products and services that are up to high-quality standards. The second value is excellence, as the company strives to provide its customers with excellent products that exceed the customers’ expectations.
The third value is integrity. The company bases its successful business and relationships on integrity. They claim to do right things even in the absence of people. The last company’s value is respect and promise to trust and respect all the associates that work with the company and provide its services and products. The associates include customers who depend on the excellent services, consumers who depend on the high-quality products, communities that give a sense of public responsibility, and investors who trust the company with their resources. Other values include collaboration, passion, diversity, accountability, and leadership. These values tend to ensure that the employees have a working environment that facilitates provision of the best services and products for customers to enjoy.
Norms are the rules that are mostly communicated by the word of mouth. They are not documented, but they provide instructions on performance at work and on the expected behaviour in the workplace. They provide standards on how to act in a certain company. In the Coca-Cola Company, one of the norms is upholding the environmental standards. The company and its employees are obligated to produce products that reduce the environmental pollution or at least not contribute to it. In order to achieve this, the Coca-Cola Company recycles their bottles, which reduces the wastage of raw material that can be used to produce new bottles.
The other norm relates to product quality and safety standards. Coca-Cola Company has a responsibility of producing such products that are not harmful for human consumption. In order to achieve this, their products are taken for testing in the bureau of standards. The last norm relates to occupational health of the employees and safety standards. The Coca-Cola Company ensures effective occupational health and safety among its employees by providing and delivering occupational health and safety programs. The programs provide and maintain safe and healthy working conditions and reduce risks to visitors, employees, and constructors associated with the company activities. At the same time, it should fulfill the consumers’ expectations of safe and high-quality products and services.
Artifacts are the tangible and visible features of an organization. They are the only clues that the outsiders, such as stakeholders and customers, have about the organizational internal culture. Some examples of organizational artifacts are a company’s logo, slogan, company’s theme color, and product’s physical structure.
The Coca-Cola logo is globally recognized and is characterized by a white swirl-like style. The logo has either a circular or rectangular shape and at the top of the bottle, has a shape of a hobble skirt. Two colors dominate the logo, white and red, appearing conspicuous but simple at the same time, and the font of writing the word Coca-Cola is calligraphic.
The Coca-Cola Company, in its many years of its operations, has utilized many attention-grabbing slogans that were used in advertising campaigns. Some of the slogans that have been used over years include the original 1886 slogan; “Coca-Cola-Delicious, Refreshing, Exhilarating”, 1993 slogan; “Always Coca-Cola” and the company’s current slogan; “Open Happiness”.
Many people think that the woman body was the source of inspiration for the shape of the Coca-Cola Company’s bottle. On the contrary, the Root Glass Company, based in Indiana, designed the contoured Coca-Cola bottle in 1915. The shape was to ensure that Coca-Cola stood out from its competitors and could be recognized even in a broken state or in the dark.
Transforming an organizational culture for it to perform better cannot be achieved in one day, even when new leadership is involved. The culture of an organization takes time to change, as it relies on building up trust between the employees, managers, customers, and stakeholders. Therefore, changing an organizational culture is less focused on having people act differently, but more on inspiring and encouraging people to reason differently by promoting the vision, winning the minds and hearts of people, and instilling beliefs. Coca-Cola has won the hearts of many by producing attractive to customers beverages.
A good organizational culture is also as a result of the founder printing. John Pemberton and Frank Robison were the founders of the company who molded the successful culture of the Coca-Cola Company. The culture has aimed at producing high-quality syrups and sparkling drinks for a long time. Customers’ needs are always the company’s priority and one of the employees’ values. People join a company that has a similar set of values as theirs; thus, when the employees’ values, artifacts, and norms are similar to the corporate culture, the company becomes successful.
According to Trevor, reward strategy lies in improving the performance of a company, as well as securing a competitive edge by creating effective pay strategies, practices, processes, and systems in the company’s operations. Armstrong and Murlis, on the other hand, acknowledged that rewards differ among various companies. However, even when they do differ, the systems of rewards should keep up with the changing world. This means that a reward system should constantly undergo reshaping in order to meet the varying needs of the employees. Today, systems of rewards and benefits are diverse, and many companies are employing them for motivating their employees.
The concept of total reward entails all aspects that values employees at work and even include non-financial aspects, such as personal development and learning opportunities as well as a working environment that is conducive to quality performance. It also encompasses some financial elements such as benefits, bonuses, and salaries. A company can choose between the various models of total rewards to implement. The main elements that define total rewards in order to improve a strategy of an organization to motivate, engage, retain, and attract competent employees. They include compensation, benefits, talent development, and a positive working environment. The total rewards strategy is a strategic approach that can help an organization to adopt a new approach that would provide training programs and allow flexible working hours while at the same time utilizing the traditional aspects of benefits and payment.
Figure 2: Four elements of the total reward strategy: pay, benefits, careers and work environment.
The Coca-Cola Company offers financial rewards as a way to motivate its employees. The compensation that it provides is competitive as reviews of an employee’s performance are done annually, thus giving the employees a chance to receive merit payment bonuses. A program called the Coca-Cola Red Tag rewards workers with merchandise and travel as a way of recognizing their exceptional working performance.
Additionally, the Coca-Cola Company provides a tuition reimbursement to the employees whose children can benefit from the scholarship funds. Other rewards offered by the company include free parking, employee discounts, and car discount programs. Salaries comparison between the employees is based on the skills, job title, education, and experience. Bonuses are given annually in addition to salary. The awarded benefits include a health insurance, dental insurance, disability insurance, occupation accident insurance, mental health care, retirement plan, and a maternity as well as paternity leave.
The Coca-Cola Company focuses on providing its employees with an opportunity to develop their skills. In order to achieve this, it offers various development programs to motivate and encourage its employees. The company provides learning opportunities and efficient development tools through the Coca-Cola University (CCU). The CCU provides some online teaching courses for the company’s employees. Employees are also given assignments, which allow them to work in different fields in different countries.
Employees’ health and their wellbeing are very important to the Coca-Cola Company. The company balances employees’ personal life and job requirements. For this reason, it provides flexible working conditions for its employees. The company offers paid holidays as well as confidential and independent service that provides counseling and advice on the issues affecting the employees’ work and life.
Evidently, the Coca-Cola Company attempts to integrate effective non-financial as well as financial systems of reward that assist in keeping the employees motivated to work efficiently and feel that they are important for the company that they work in.
Employees usually spend most of their time in companies that are utilizing their skills in order to serve the customers all over the world. For this reason, employees should have an organizational culture that would offer an excellent working environment. The organizational culture of the Coca-Cola Company tries to offer an environment that stimulates working through provision of artifacts, values, and norms that keep workers happy and motivated.
Moreover, the company offers some effective reward strategies, such as healthcare benefits, that promote the well-being of its diverse employees around the globe. As a recommendation, one might suggest that the company should maintain a culture that ensures that the employees are appreciated, recognized, and feel safe in the working environment. The company should also continue embracing changes so that employees’ shifting needs are addressed effectively.