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Kraft Heinz’s recipe for successful internal mobility

Rodolfo Camacho, chief people officer at Kraft Heinz, tells HR magazine how nurturing internal mobility is the company’s secret sauce for better leadership and higher employee satisfaction.

Camacho, who originally joined Heinz in 2014 as a marketing manager in Italy, is now CPO of the food and beverage giant’s ‘international zone’, which includes more than 40 countries and 18,000 people. 

He sees himself as an embodiment of the company’s drive towards internal mobility and transferable skills that Kraft Heinz prides itself on.  

He says:We bet on talent. We want to develop the talent in our business, and we truly believe that acquiring different skills truly helps create better leaders." 

Kraft Heinz prizes providing opportunities for non-linear career paths 

Outside of Camacho’s example, the current manager of internal communications joined the company in the procurement team, and the president of northern European business was originally working in HR. 

Camacho says this has helped leadership become more well-rounded and resilient in a changing world of work. 

“If you think about how we can best prepare leaders for an uncertain future, there is a big advantage to people who have not had a vertical path,” he says. 

“We need people who have a variety of different skills and have lots of different projects under their belt. 

“Of course, experience is important in order to do the job well and no one can argue against that. But if you allow employees to develop transferable skills and you give them the opportunity for new training, that can compensate for a lot.” 

More about internal mobility:

Lessons from abroad on internal talent mobility

Internal recruitment could stem the career itch

How the gender gap is reflected in mobility

Camacho’s own career path - moving both functionally from marketing to HR, and geographically from Italy to being based in London – is evidence, he says, of how internal mobility is conducive to better work. 

“It gives me lots of credibility with my stakeholders from the start because we speak the same language,” he says.  

“I was in their shoes before moving into HR, so I feel like I have a better understanding of what it means to be an employee here. 

“Of course, coming from a different department also meant I have certain gaps in experience, but I had to study and speak to colleagues to make sure I filled those gaps.   

“That’s where the Kraft Heinz function-agnostic mindset comes in.” 

From employee engagement surveys the company found people would like to move internally but lacked the information about different functions to do so. 

The improve this, Camacho and the team ran a career journey fair. 

“We had a lot of signposting there and invited internal speakers so each functional lead told everyone what their department does. 

“That’s just one example, but we really try and listen to what our people need in order to progress.” 

Camacho says a lot of time is spent planning for the future of important roles: “I have spoken a lot with my manager, the president of the International Zone (all countries outside continental North America), just thinking about the future of our most critical roles in the company. 

“Are we planning enough for the years ahead? How can we keep the best talent by giving them the best opportunity to develop?” 

The feedback on internal mobility efforts so far has been very positive he says, with the career growth opportunities in the top quartile on the most recent engagement survey. 

However, he hopes new technology will further elevate these results. 

He adds: “We’ve seen how powerful AI can be in recruitment, of course with some limits. But I can say that we’re currently looking at new technology to see what the next step is for us in terms of developing our people and giving them the opportunity to move around in the business.”