Richard Stone, HR Director, Southeast Asia at Mondelēz International, gives examples of how the firm leveraged on total rewards to double down on its efforts to build a winning growth culture amid COVID-19.

In response to COVID-19, did you make changes to your total rewards programme?

Snacking Made Right is our promise to lead the future of snacking around the world by offering the right snack, for the right moment, made the right way. In order to stay true to this mission amid these challenging times, we have sustained our focus on building our winning growth culture. This means keeping progress on talent and capability development, leveraging diversity and inclusion, and reinforcing speed, agility, and simplicity in the way we work. These elements were already part of our cultural strategy, but the pandemic has pushed us to double down on our efforts.

An example of how we have strengthened our efforts is in the space of recognition. For instance, we introduced the South East Asia President’s Cup this year to give special recognition to extraordinary individuals and teams across our six markets. These colleagues represented Mondelēz International at our finest and this personal recognition from our SEA Leadership Team has inspired and re-energised more among our teams to emulate them.

Aside from that, mental health and wellness also became central to ensure a resilient workforce. For example, we introduced weekly virtual mindfulness sessions for colleagues – and extended the invitation to their friends and families as well.

We also supported our teams with access to mental health toolkits and resources. These programmes are built on top of a strong foundation of a learning culture powered by our Mondelēz International University platform, which already contains numerous programmes on topics such as ‘Being at My Best’ or ‘The Neuroscience of Resilience’.

With many employees continuing to work remotely, how has your organisation adjusted your benefits and perks programme to better support remote workers?

Given our global presence, flexible working arrangements and collaboration with virtual teams have always been part of the way we work. This was a critical advantage during the pandemic as it ensured our colleagues were well-prepared to transition swiftly into full-time remote working when the crisis hit.

We are exploring ways to accelerate this style of working even further and are poised to set up our organisation more powerfully towards true flexibility. Some strategies we are working on have implications on careers (e.g. more location-free roles), colleague wellness (e.g. purpose-driven wellness), and a move towards even greater flexibility (e.g. equipping the workforce of the future).

As we emerge into a new normal, what do you expect the total rewards landscape to look like?

A big shift we anticipate in the rewards and recognition landscape is an increased focus on both the extrinsic and intrinsic needs of our colleagues. Apart from monetary benefits and safety-first policies, employees in Southeast Asia are increasingly looking for an inspiring culture that provides continuous learning, great colleagues, a fast-paced career trajectory and a place where they can truly be themselves.

We recognise these shifts and are committed to offering employees a chance to experience such a culture. This is showcased through our ‘Make It!’ employer brand campaign, which focuses on four elements – Love Brands, Courageous Challenges, Global Impact and True Colours. We want our new talent and experienced hires to feel excited about the opportunities that await them at Mondelēz International.

Moving forward, our approach towards rewards also needs to be more inclusive – for example, the need for programmes to support childcare or dependent care.


This interview has been published exclusively in the Jul-Aug 2020 issue of Human Resources. Read this edition of Human Resources, Singapore:

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