Oreo maker Mondelez's CEO is pushing radical changes to help employees 'skip' dealing with their bosses

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Oreo maker Mondelez's CEO is pushing radical changes to help employees 'skip' dealing with their bosses

Mondelez International CEO Dirk Van de Put

Mondelez International

Mondelez International CEO Dirk Van de Put

  • Management changes at snack giant Mondelez include letting employees make their own decisions and facilitating direct communication with top executives.
  • That's according to CEO Dirk Van de Put.
  • These changes are designed to make the organization more agile and innovative.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

If you take a job at Mondelez International - the parent company of popular snack brands including Oreo and Ritz - you won't get much handholding from your boss.

That's according to Mondelez International's CEO, Dirk Van de Put. In an interview with Business Insider, Van de Put said the 90,000-person company is placing new emphasis on employee autonomy, to facilitate organizational speed and agility.

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To that end, they're pushing two key changes.

1. Mondelez encourages new and potential hires to consider whether they're comfortable with autonomy

"We're trying to create an environment where people feel like, 'I can make my own decisions, and I can work the way I want to work. I can go as fast as I want to,'" Van de Put said.

This represents a major shift in the company's management style. Van de Put explained the logic behind the change: "That's the way you will get the highest motivation, you will get the best results, and you will get a unique group of colleagues that we will be proud of."

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But while some people "embrace" this model, Van de Put acknowledged that "some of us like to have clear guidance." Mondelez wants people who are comfortable in this environment; "otherwise, they might feel pretty annoyed and anxious and stressed."

Read more: When the CEO of $5.9 billion Canada Goose interviews job candidates, he gives them a warning - and their response speaks volumes about whether they get the job

If you're starting to feel uncomfortable, "you need to have a conversation," Van de Put said. "Is this the company you want to work for?"

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2. Mondelez is stripping away some layers of communication between employees and their CEO

In January 2019, Mondelez put in place a "local-first" model.

The company now has 13 business units, each reporting into one of four geographic regions. The leader of each business unit has the power to make decisions on issues like innovation, as opposed to waiting until the regional heads have approved them.

Read more: 68% of US CEOs think their companies will go bankrupt if they move too slowly. Here's what they see as the biggest opportunities and risks for growth.

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Van de Put described it as "eliminating those big teams." He said some employees "hated" the old bureaucracy, "but now that they don't have the teams anymore, they're a little bit shaken by it."

Leaders of the 13 business units also speak with Van de Put once a quarter. "We skip the bosses," Van de Put said, meaning the regional heads. "I hear what's working, what's not working, what help do they want," he added.

What's more, each team's bonus is based on performance in their local market, in order to foster a sense of accountability.

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Overall, Van de Put said, the company is placing more trust in individual employees. He added, "We want to make sure that people feel, when they work at Mondelez, that they have the liberty to make things happen."

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