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At Anheuser-Busch, Talent is a C-Level Responsibility

Once the domain of the “personnel” department, talent—the company’s foundation—is now clearly a C-level responsibility.

At Anheuser-Busch, we are all brewers. We make products that millions of people enjoy during some of their simplest, most meaningful human experiences. Our products are for people. If we want to connect effectively with these people—our consumers—it’s vital that we get our approach to our people right. We believe that if the people making our products are passionate, if they are thoughtful and if they are empowered to excel, then our business excels.

Forty years ago, HR was about helping employees update their files, check their benefits, monitor their vacation time. Now, technology has made employees far more self-sufficient, allowing talent management professionals to be laser-focused on the business itself, and on what will drive business success. As a result, we have much more visibility—and responsibility—at the highest levels of the company.

That’s why as the Head of People, I work alongside our CEO daily—those of us who work in talent management no longer provide just a support function; we are enablers to business success, providing a structure for the corporate strategy.

“Our people strategy has always been about ownership. Every one of us is an owner; we take results personally.”

At Anheuser-Busch, as well as at other modern companies, our role now extends to maintaining and communicating our culture, ensuring that key messages are cascaded and employees feel supported to fulfill their potential. We want our employees to dream big, and that means empowering them to push to the next level, to take considered risks—and we need to give them the tools and the confidence they need to do that.

Our company’s commitment to people starts at the very top. When it comes to recruiting, everyone, including our C-suite, invests their time and effort to find our next generation of leaders. Our industry is highly competitive and complex, so continuing to attract great people and build a meritocracy where people advance based on results, ability and commitment is a top priority. When our C-suite is spending full days recruiting undergrads, our people realize that we truly believe people are our greatest asset.

When it comes to reaching out to the millennial generation, our research shows that while millennials want to make money, they also want to have the opportunity to learn and grow. They want to work in a company where the work that they do has impact, and they come to work wanting to solve a challenge.

Not only do they want to have an impact on the company, they also want to know that the company is socially responsible and that it understands the impact it has on the environment and on consumers. For many millennials, if they don’t see that responsibility, they aren’t attracted to the company.

Our people strategy has always been about ownership. Every one of us is an owner; we take results personally. This comes back to the passion we look for in our teams. That passion is at the core of our values. It’s our heart and soul. But it’s also central to our business strategy, and we’ll back it to the hilt any day of the week.

Sandro Bassili, Head of People at Anheuser-Busch, will address these topics and more at Chief Executive’s 2017 CEO Talent Summit in Orlando, Florida, on October 26.


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