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Bacardi ‘millennials manager’ targets talent

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Spirits giant Bacardi is to launch a bid to connect with millennials.

And the firm has appointed a new global millennials manager to nurture young talent and keep the firm's brands relevant to younger people.

Now Nim de Swardt, 30, is aiming to get together an international group of around 20 Bacardi millennials to join the firm's rising stars programme.

Ms de Swardt said: “This is a very new initiative to put immediate focus on this generation from an internal and external angle.

“The way the world is changing and the future of work is changing is happening at a very great pace.”

Millennials — generally regarded as those born between 1980 and 1995 — are expected to make up 75 per cent of the workforce by 2025.

And Ms de Swardt said the career expectations of a generation born into technology was very different from their parents.

She explained that tech-savvy millennials were looking for flexibility in the workplace and “unique experiences they wouldn't normally be able to get in their careers”.

And she added that millennials also wanted to work for companies with strong mentorship schemes, as well as a social conscience and an emphasis on “a work-life blend, not a work-life balance”.

Ms de Swardt said: “Millennials, as we know, have quite entrepreneurial spirits.

“This has been developed so we can, as an organisation, get better at retaining them and developing their careers internally.

“It's been completely structured based on the attributes these individuals want.

“It will better retain and attract our talent, especially for the millennial generation.

“The business world is changing and companies have to adapt in the best way possible.”

The first group of 20 Bacardi employees to take part in the rising stars programme are expected to meet for the first time in Bermuda in May.

As part of her preparation for her new role, Ms de Swardt visited millennial-driven organisations like Google and Twitter to see how they deal with the new generation.

The scheme was the brainchild of Bacardi chief executive officer Michael Dolan, who said the company was committed to accelerating the development of its future leaders.

He added that Ms de Swardt, who reports directly to him, will “play an important role in engaging with employees to understand expectations and to help our company provide unique, rich and rewarding experiences that fast track personal and professional development at Bacardi”.

Australian-born Ms de Swardt, who has a background in marketing, has worked for Bacardi for five years, in London and Dubai, where she was brand manager for the Middle East and Africa region.

She returned to the company last year after completing a sabbatical across the globe for a philanthropic photography project.

Ms de Swardt said: “My job is quite disruptive ... Mike is not afraid to be disruptive and it's disruptive in a good way and it will bring change for the benefit of the organisation and its people.”

She added: “The rising stars will be given live business issues happening in the organisation and we will ask them for their input and perspective. They will also be exposed to thought leaders and mentorship.”

“Mentorship is very high on their radar but they find it hard to gain a mentor in their day-to-day lives.”

Ms de Swardt said: “It's not just about millennials and developing them — it's about how we educate the baby boomers on how millennials are working.”

She added that developing millennials inside the company would also help Bacardi better target millennial consumers — a major segment of the market.

Ms de Swardt said: “Millennials make up such a huge majority of our target consumers in Bacardi and we need to ensure we are living and breathing our consumers in everything we do.

“We need to inject that spirit and energy into our brands.”

She added: “It's about me empowering them to drive change in their departments and how we can use them almost as an internal think tank and leverage them to inject fresh new thinking on what we are doing with our brands and internally.”

Nim de Swardt: manager of the Bacardi's Rising Stars Programme, aimed at recruiting the best of millennial talent (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Nim de Swardt: manager of the Bacardi's Rising Stars Programme, aimed at recruiting the best of millennial talent (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published January 21, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated January 21, 2016 at 12:00 am)

Bacardi ‘millennials manager’ targets talent

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