016our survey wire

By George Riley,2014-05-08 10:16
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016our survey wire

Old, but trying to get younger…

    As would be expected of a company whose logo contains a reference to the

    original 13 colonies, Procter & Gamble is not the hippest of work

    environments, although we hear the winds of change have blown through

    Cincinnati in recent years. One employee describes the company as “very conservative.” “To fit,” he says, “you should be a typical yuppie, drive a Saab.” However, most other employees say the atmosphere is shifting. “The culture here is a bit on the conservative side, though it seems that the younger

    generation is changing that,” says one. “I am finding an emerging diversity of thought and dress. More and more men are finding it OK to keep their hair

    long or have an earring,” says another. “Obviously we‟re still a somewhat conservative company. But there is more openness and acceptance of those

    who don‟t fit the „traditional, conservative‟ look or views.”

    …and more casual

    In keeping with its move away from a conservative atmosphere, dress for

    most employees is now “business casual” or “business appropriate.” “Dress code has been suit and tie for many years, but recently changed to business

    casual, which, by the way, is a shock to many people,” reports one employee. Those in sales management wear suits when meeting clients, and upper

    management is often also dressed formally, but for most, it‟s relaxed fit slacks, collared shirts and skirts (no T-shirts and jeans).

    Big, and struggling to act small

    Accounts of how P&G operates run the gamut from “surprisingly nimble and non-bureaucratic” to “extremely structured and hierarchical,” but enough employees complain about its being overly bureaucratic to suggest that the

    description, while perhaps not unilateral, is far from a fluke. “What I did not like was that the company was large and sometimes very bureaucratic, which

    meant that change sometimes happened very slowly and that

    entrepreneurship was sometimes stifled,” says one former international brand manager.

    Within brand management, teamwork and communication is stressed 50 percent of a brand manager‟s evaluation is based on the development of employees in the brand. Most employees speak glowingly about their

    treatment by superiors, saying their bosses take real interest in their

    Our Survey Says

    Procter & Gamble

Procter & Gamble

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    development and treat their opinions with real respect. But bureaucracy can

    rear its ugly head when it comes to interdepartmental movement. “Many of the functions (outside of Brand and Finance) do not have the performance

    incentives we have. As a result, they can be bureaucratic and will use Brand‟s failure to follow procedure or guidelines as an excuse,” says another

    employee. But within Brand, the company can also be overly stiff. “It‟s definitely bureaucratic, it‟s very difficult to get things done at P&G,” says a former assistant brand manager. “Things just move at a very slow pace.” That former employee says that when a new idea is presented, it is sent by memo

    to a superior and then “niggled” – sent back with comments in the margin.

    The memo is rewritten and sent to the next higher level, and then “niggled” again. And so on. “It‟s a pretty stifling place,” he says.

    Was white and male; moving quickly to greater


    Procter & Gamble, employees nearly unanimously say, is making impressive

    strides to recruit and advance more minorities and women, although there is

    also the tacit or explicit admission that this was not always the case. “In a lot of areas, minorities and women have a great chance of getting promoted fast

    since the company is trying to change its traditional conservative corporate

    atmosphere,” reports an employee.

    P&G advertises itself as an employer in publications such as Minority

    Engineer and The Black Collegian. In 1996, the company was honored with

    the NAACP Legal Defense Fund‟s first corporate affirmative action award for its tripling of women and minorities at the director level and above during the

    previous five years. Since then, the company has received numerous awards

    and plenty of recognition for its commitment to gender and ethnic balance.

    One employee describes a Halloween Party he had with fellow employees:

    “We had friends there from Iran, India, Ukraine, Israel, Canada, Romania, as well as from all over the United States.”

    With respect to the status of women in the company, as one employee points

    out, “most of our consumers buying our products are women, and so we‟re very in tune with what they want.” For the past decade, P&G has been voted one of the 100 best companies for working women by Working Mother

    magazine. Although only one of P&G‟s top 15 officers is female, many employees report that the middle and upper-middle management ranks are

    filled with women working their way up the corporate ladder. A third of the

    company‟s brand managers, and half of its marketing managers, are women. “I was one of four males in a department of 28. Both marketing directors were .

    Procter & Gamble

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    female,” says a former assistant brand manager. “My last three bosses and their bosses have all been women,” says another employee. And yet another says: “I have not had a boss who was male. Even my director, at a high level, is a female.” The company has, and encourages involvement in, women and minority support groups.

    The perky city

    In Cincinnati, the company rents out an amusement park every summer for

    employees and their families to enjoy for free. In the winter, it does the same

for events such as David Copperfield, the Harlem Globetrotters or ice-skating

    shows. Sales reps get a company car and keep their frequent flyer miles.

    There‟s also a company gym, holiday gift packs and coupons for P&G products. “I haven‟t bought detergent or soap for nine years!” says one employee. And the perks aren‟t confined to the P&G campuses. “All kinds of perks all over town,” a central office employee reports. “P&G owns Cincinnati.”

    P&G also was one of the first companies to offer “FlexComp,” which gives employees a wide range of healthcare and other insurance choices. And P&G

    also pays out another 2 percent to 4 percent of an employee‟s salary (above base pay) that workers can use to pay for their benefits.

    But by far the most impressive perk P&G offers is its company profit-sharing

    retirement plan. Initiated in 1887 to address labor unrest, the program is the

    longest-running profit-sharing plan in the country. Under the plan, the

    company automatically kicks in stock worth from 5 percent to 25 percent of

    a participant‟s annual base pay, with the maximum company contribution

    coming after 20 years of service. The plan is considered a real gem because,

    unlike the pension programs at many companies, it‟s not a matching program: P&G makes the contributions above base salary regardless of what the

    employee does. “It‟s automatic, you don‟t even have to think about it,” according to one employee. “I‟ve had job offers with higher salaries but have never been able to make the long-term math pay out over what I can

    reasonably expect here,” another employee says.

    Participants in the plan are fully vested after five years of service. Although

    the program provides longtime employees with substantial retirement

    security, it is not necessarily such a bonus for itinerant workers. “My honest opinion is that it‟s not any better than other well-respected companies, except

    if you stay a long time (over 10 years),” one employee says. “It‟s really skewed in favor of longevity,” says another. “All you really know is all the folks who have been there for a while go on and on about how much they‟re

Procter & Gamble

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    getting.” That person, a two-year Procter employee, describes his profitsharing

    receipts as “miniscule, a couple thousand dollars a year.”

    Who needs money when you live in Cincy and

    have that profit-sharing plan?

    Talking about salary is more taboo than Satan-worshipping at P&G. “P&G is notoriously hush-hush about salary,” says one employee. “The one thing that is absolutely taboo at Procter & Gamble is salary. Do not have a discussion

    about it unless you are absolutely sure they will not tell your boss you had it,” warns another.

    The one thing employees do know about each other‟s salaries is that they do not change with location in the United States: “If you move from Kansas City

    to New York, you‟re not going to be making any more,” says one slightly peeved metropolitan employee. Those in Cincinnati like to point out that the

    low cost of living there, combined with the company‟s policy on geographic uniformity when it comes to compensation, is a plus for them. “Keep in mind that $40,000 in Cincinnati is comparable to 70 to 80K in San Francisco or

    New York,” one says.

    Overall, employees give tepid reviews of their salaries. “Pay is higher than average, but not astounding. You can probably get a higher salary in high-tech

    or consulting,” says one. “They hope the opportunities and outstanding benefits will make up for the average pay,” reports another. The final conclusion? “You‟ll never be rich, but very comfortable.”

    A reputation 99.44 percent pure

    In the consumer goods industry, P&G‟s reputation is unparalleled. “It is a [Fortune-ranked] company and known worldwide. It is a household name

    and so are all of its products. On a scale of 1-10, it is a 10,” one employee says. The same can be said about the company‟s reputation for training managers. “I believe it is the best marketing school in the world,” says another respondent.

    Although most employees who work at the company stay there, Procter &

    Gamble is a definite resume boost. “I was told that I should not consider interning at P&G if I had no real intention of living in Cincy,” says one intern. “False. A summer at P&G means a lot to other brand companies.” One former employee in P&G‟s sales division reports that although he did not feel as

    challenged as he had hoped: “in the end… what seemed to be the best part about the job was just having the name on my resume. Telling an admissions

    . Procter & Gamble

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    counselor at a business school that you worked for P&G automatically carries

    a great deal of weight.”

    Moreover, employees take equal pride in P&G‟s reputation as an ethical and philanthropic company. “It is a company with deep integrity, a company you never have to worry about defending to your family or friends,” one says. “Never in my 23 years have I ever come close to compromising my personal integrity for the company‟s sake,” according to another. “We are excellent corporate citizens in the communities where we have operations.” The cream of the crop, the pearl of the oyster,

    the Oil of the Olay

    Procter & Gamble says they only hire the best and brightest and they mean it. Virtually all employees remark that they are surrounded by, as one

    employee said, “the cream of the crop… former military officers, captains of college sports teams, fraternity and sorority officers, award winners, highest

    GPAs in college.” Many employees say the competency of co-workers is a major plus when considering working at P&G: “Everyone is very talented

    and intelligent… and pulls their weight.”

    “I‟ve known many people at many companies, and I‟ve had close friends leave P&G and go elsewhere. But invariably, they‟ve told me that although they enjoy their jobs, the quality of the people they work with is below what

    they were used to at P&G,” one 20-year veteran says. “We do hire the very best. I‟ve been in the hiring business for many years, and I can guarantee you that.”

    This doesn‟t just mean employees are good at pouring over data in their

    offices. Success at P&G is much easier if you‟re a “people person.” The company emphasizes many attributes with its “What Counts Factors,” but initiative and leadership and critical thinking seem to be the most important.

    A brand manager “defines what success looks like,” one employee says. Of course, that P&G is so selective has its drawbacks. “Since there are so many talented people, it‟s hard to move up. There are 20 great people trying for one promotion,” one employee reports.

    The up-or-out policy in Brand

    The talent of the employees becomes a major issue when it comes to Brand,

    and that department‟s up-or-out policy. While the evaluation policy (50

    percent of a manager‟s evaluation depends on development of employees) promotes up-down cooperation, the up-or-out policy promotes lateral

    Procter & Gamble

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    competition. “You do get a lot of help from the manager. I don‟t think you get as much help from your peers,” according to a former Brand employee. But that former employee says although he saw politicking and brown-nosing

    because of this competition, and “people are very much aware of their place in the organization,” he did not see any malicious undermining, because Brand employees accept the competition as a fact of life. “It just doesn‟t happen. It‟s not permitted,” he says about whether a brand employee could stay at one position for their entire career. “It‟s the way the organization works.”

    No slave-driving here

    For those with management-track positions, workload at P&G is heavy, but

    not as intense as in consulting and investment-banking fields. One employee

    explains, “Being in Cincinnati generally made the corporate culture embrace family-work balance. I didn‟t see the slave-driving at P&G that you see on

    Wall Street.”

    Although the official workday in the corporate offices is 7.5 hours, most

    employees at P&G‟s downtown offices pull between 45 to 55 hours a week. However, many comment that the hours are fairly flexible: “Some people even come in at 7 or 7:30 a.m. and leave at 3:30 p.m.” Of course, hours can intensify: one assistant brand manager reports working 60+ hours a week for

    two or three weeks while preparing an annual plan. Treks to the office on

    weekends to catch up are common for those higher up on the ladder. But even

    when long hours are required, employees say, it is not because long hours are

an ingrained part of the company‟s culture. “Ultimately, you will be judged

    on how good a job you do, not how many hours you keep,” says a P&G

    market researcher.

    I‟m living on the air in Cincinnati Opinions of Cincinnati vary. Some employees like the low crime rate and

    free-flowing traffic; others complain that the city is conservative, lacks

    diversity, and has crappy restaurants. Interns generally have a great time over

    the summer, in part because the company plans social activities such as

    riverboat cruises, happy hours and trips to Cincinnati Reds games. For fulltime

    employees, P&G has the obligatory activities. “There are a lot of sports

    leagues within the company which is a great way to meet other young

    people,” says one employee. While P&G has been cognizant of making life

    comfortable for families (they work hard to try to get spouses to both work

    for the company), it is only recently considering the needs of the young and

    . 2002 Vault Inc. 28

Procter & Gamble

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    single. Says one former employee, “Cincinnati as a town is a pretty rough

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