Thursday, March 18, 2010

Emphasis on health and wellness boosts Nestlé’s growth performance

Manila Bulletin
March 15, 2010

Most companies, especially those engaged in the food business, are adapting the buzzword “health and wellness,” but not all of them are really taking it to heart. One simple measure of success for such a campaign is to take a look at the conduct of the company’s very own people.
Let me walk you through the impact of Nestlé Philippines’ health and wellness program in the eyes of its chief finance officer Peter Noszek.
Confined to the finance matters of the world’s largest “Nutrition, Health and Wellness” company, Peter, at first, did not give much attention to joining the company’s Milo marathon although he is a very good tennis player. Peter started playing tennis at 9 years old and at 18 was Hungary’s second best in junior tennis.
But his wife, Agi, who started running during his posting in Nestlé New Zealand , influenced him to start running. They both now run for the Milo marathon, Nestlé Philippines flagship sports program.
Conscious of the company’s Nutrition, Health and Wellness direction, it dawned upon Peter to look at ways on how he could contribute to the company’s image.
“The finance function does not directly put us in direct contact with consumers, but since the company has given more attention to fund nutrition programs and trainings this make the finance department play a key role in this growth path that we are taking,” says Peter.
As such, being in the finance department of the world’s number one NHW company, Peter sees to it that his role and influence in the company is not only limited to dealing with numbers, figures and ledgers.
He not only decided to walk the talk, but also makes sure others are going to follow suit.
During one of their executive committee meetings, Peter surprised everyone when after presenting his usual financial charts the last slide he showed was a matrix – bonus targets for the Nestle bigwigs who can meet the required kilometer run based on one’s age and fitness.
The trick proved to be effective.
“Half of them did,” says Peter.
For Peter, he realized that joining the Milo marathon did a lot of benefits to his health.
“My perceived knee injury is gone. My cholesterol level and my heart are both okay and I weigh my ideal weight at 67 kilos from 73 kilos. While running, you can completely ‘switch off’ and can have some valuable time to yourself. Running is also the cheapest sports possible, all you need is a good pair of shoes. All in all, simply put, what I like most about running is that it is fun,” says Peter, who was born to a chemist mom and a mathematician dad.
“I have been with Nestlé for the past 18 years, but it was only in the past two years that I started running,” says Peter.
He has been running since 2007 and is now a full marathoner and is always looking forward to breaking his own personal record in the 42k Milo marathon. Peter is proud of the local unit’s nutrition, health and wellness programs for having encouraged Nestlé employees’ participation.
“There is no incentive for those that participate in our various programs, only good health,” says Peter.
But, Nestlé’s people now serve as the company’s goodwill ambassadors transcending the benefits of Nestle products to consumers, “Choose Wellness, Choose Nestlé.”
“Image-wise,” says Peter, “Nestlé Philippines has a better corporate reputation than any other country in the reputation index. We are in the forefront. People grow up with our products and we consistently try to provide quality and health benefits to them,” says Peter.
Nestlé Philippines is the sixth biggest company in the Philippines and the tenth biggest in the Nestlé world in terms of sales turnover. Nestlé Philippines delivers and it would be unwise not to be able to sustain all these achievements.
By endearing itself to its customers, Peter said, the company is securing its future and its people’s future.
“This strategy is something that we are working for the long-term and it is global. It is how the whole world is developing,” says Peter.
Nestlé Philippines is looking forward to a better 2010 performance in the Philippines.
With a strong emphasis on nutrition, health and wellness, its innovative quality products and a workforce that is serving as the company’s goodwill ambassadors, Nestlé is in the right direction. Peter, along with the other Nestlé employees, will not tire running the talk because it makes sense, health and wealth-wise.

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