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Where the Sum Is Greater Than Its Parts

Case Study Overview

Case Study Overview

This dairy-cooperative becomes an ABW success story

Organisation: Fonterra

Location: New Zealand

Employees: 16,000+ globally, 10,000+ farmer shareholders

Global Revenue: $18+ Billion

Key Concept: 'One Fonterra'

“I always want to compare us to the All Blacks, everyone knows what they stand for. We’ve got to get to that position.”
Executive Leadership Team Member

The Back Story

The Back Story

Fonterra’s vision for the new way of working was to bring five Auckland offices into one purpose-built building under the banner ‘One Fonterra’.

From Fonterra’s full set of values, V+C worked with users to identify the most important ones for supporting One Fonterra and its new way of working:

  • Visible and authentic leadership
  • Being customer led
  • Trust
“The intention was to bring all of our people together so that they could all be living the same values and collaborating more.”
Head of Virtual Stream | Fonterra Ways of Working Project

The Challenge

One Fonterra and its new way of working was identified as opportunity to challenge several cultural limitations:

  • Departments are politically siloed
  • Employees didn’t have a strong sense how they and their teams connected to the customer experience
  • There is tension between employees, on one hand, being held to account and, on the other, not always being given trust to make decisions/take action.
  • Due to the office layout and cultural norms, senior leaders struggled to be visible and 100% attuned to how their people were living the values.
  • The direction for the brand was not coherent
  • To be able to react to disruptions and stay ahead of the competition with innovative and inspiring products and services.
  • Employees were encouraged to adopt a mindset for change; by striving to be more communicative and collaborative towards the office as a whole (vs. individual silos) and focus less on the time spent on individual work and more on collaborative activities.
  • By feeling proud of the brand and the work they do, employees would be able to understand the purpose they serve and in turn, customers would be more trusting in their interactions with Edenred.

The Results

At the new Fonterra Centre, the public, shareholders, customers and employees were welcomed into the trusting, barrier-free environment with hubs and cafes providing social meeting places reflecting the Fonterra story and product lines.

The open and transparent nature of the new way of working enabled leaders to be highly visible within the organisation and promoted greater connection with leadership. Spatially, the building created the ability to host events and important business announcements within the new environment and make these visible to Fonterra’s people.

The supply of a variety of fit for purpose activity-based settings enabled a dynamic agility for the people of Fonterra to keep organising differently in and between teams. The workspace and the employee’s willingness to, years after the move, reorganise people and teams in support of ongoing cultural evolution and strategic direction, has provided the opportunity for Fonterra to continually strive for greatness. An increase in employee engagement and a more robust sense of what they stand for has been the consequence and arguably its greatest success.


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Ultimately, we will work with you to create a unique culture and environment where people will have the space to thrive, the freedom to genuinely connect with one another and will proudly work as a part of your organisation.