Danone Dumex Malaysia is part of the Danone Group, a global leader in food business that focuses on a health-driven portfolio. The company is built on four business lines: Waters, Essential Dairy & Plant-Based Products, Early Life Nutrition and Advanced Medical Nutrition.
“Danone’s global mission is to bring health through food to as many people as possible. In Malaysia, our focus is in Early Life Nutrition and we endeavour to make every day count for you and your child,” says Normalis Mohd Sharif, the company’s HR Director for Southeast Asia.
With over 400 employees in the commercial offices across Malaysia and the factory in Nilai, Malaysia is part of the Southeast Asia Cluster that is a growing region for the business.
Sharing a brief idea on life in Danone, the charismatic Normalis talks about some of the exciting aspects in being part of the Southeast Asia region. “With the business accelerating in this region, the opportunities here are endless. Though challenging, we are devoted to make our workplace as innovative, inclusive and fun as possible.”
So, what makes Danone truly exceptional?
A dynamic yet unique culture
Danone has a culture that encourages employees to have a clear sense of purpose when they come to work. In line with the company’s global mission to deliver health through food to as many people as possible, the company holds a long-standing “dual project” commitment which is to be a successful business and, at the same time, do everything possible to drive social progress. Employees understand this and are committed to find ways that they can work together to contribute to the organisation’s goals and deliver its mission. By creating an atmosphere of trust and accountability over one’s own responsibilities, employees are able to practise positive ways of working together cross functionally, which in turn drive collaboration and breakthrough results.
The company holds regular townhalls and numerous internal engagement sessions to communicate with employees. One of its initiatives is called “I’m a Proud Danoner” campaign, which engages employees to share what they are passionate about as a Danone employee.
Focus on employees’ growth and development
Normalis shares, “At Danone, we focus a lot on our people and we recognise that each employee is unique. We believe diversity in teams is important to drive innovation and breakthrough ideas.”
To help its people grow, the company offers multiple support platforms – from e-learning systems, talent development and performance review sessions to coaching and mentoring opportunities. Employees also have monthly one-on-one sessions with their line managers where open conversations take place to ensure employees’ development needs and performance are constantly aligned. Danone leaders invest a lot of time in coaching and mentoring their team members and talents external to their own teams.
Inclusive behaviours are promoted to help employees at all levels develop leadership behaviours. An example of this is the Campus For All event, which is a “Learning Week” where annually, employees from all levels in the company receive at least two hours of classroom training during the week. Classes are also conducted in local language to cater to different needs.
Broad opportunities for career development
Being a global MNC, Danone offers opportunities for employees to be placed in other countries for short-term assignments. This is a great way to experience and learn about other markets and cultures. “Short-term assignments encourage development as employees have to take on different complexities and see things from different perspectives,” Normalis says.
As for fresh graduates who are passionate, highly energetic and keen to challenge themselves, a two-year management trainee programme is offered to selected talents where they get to rotate to different departments to learn about the business. Management trainees are also provided with classroom trainings as well as guidance from a coach who is their hiring manager and a mentor who is the Director in their respective departments. Expectations are high for these trainees as they tackle a steep learning curve but if they are willing to learn and take initiative for self-improvement, Danone offers an excellent foundation to meet these expectations.
The nature of the business is fast moving and challenging, and it is clear why Danone places emphasis and commitment to grow and develop its people. Some advice from Normalis for aspiring candidates? “Be agile to stay current and relevant to the present and future.”
She went on to add for potential candidates to be realistic. “Seek feedback, be aware of your own strengths and development needs. Always be open to learn, unlearn and relearn in order to stay relevant in today’s environment.”