Case study English courses at Dinal 46. Chapter 4: The employees Building talent An ongoing commitment to staff training and development is at the heart of Heineken's international employment policy. At Heineken's Dinal brewery in the central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan, an initiative aimed at improving internal Group communications by building local English-language skills is adding long-term value to the company and its employees. The Dinal brewery is located in the southern city of Almaty - Kazakhstan's second largest city, which is at the foot of the majestic Tian Shan mountains near the Chinese border. The brewery employs 270 workers who produce and distribute some 240,000 hectolitres of Amstel, Heineken and various national brands for the local market each year. Elnara Ossipova was appointed HR Manager at Dinal in December 2004 to establish the company's first-ever Human Resources department. Ossipova fully expected to face some big challenges as she set out to build the function from the ground up, but never imagined language would be one of them. "Kazakh is the official state language of Kazakhstan, while Russian is the official language of business," she explains. "I spent ever so many hours every week translating all our group documents from English - everything from e-mails to brochures. It was so inefficient and also a cultural barrier between our operations here in Kazakhstan and the rest of the Heineken Group." The arrival of the General Manager Joost van Roon and the Chief Financial Officer Joy Gundran some months before had already set the tone for change. While they had started learning Russian upon their arrival, they felt strongly that as part of an international company, their subordinates should have a basic command of English. From 2003, English tutors were brought to the brewery to teach a group of 15 employees two hours of English each week. Today almost 40 employees have signed up for the course that is divided into two basic levels: elementary and intermediate. Beginner students are taught basic grammar and pronunciation while more advanced students are offered a focus on business English to help them operate more effectively in a multinational corporate environment. "We've had a tremendous response and a lot of enthusiasm from everyone because people feel supported in their work and these courses are expensive to do outside the company," says Ossipova. "There is also a long-term financial incentive; in Kazakhstan a chief accountant on the job market who knows English, for example, can find a job in an international company with better working conditions." "What started out as a practical decision to bring Dinal closer to the Heineken Group has added tremendous value to being a Heineken employee in Kazakhstan," says Ossipova. Heineken's local reputation as an employer that offers competitive wages, good benefits, better chances for promotion and greater job security has been reinforced by the language-learning initiative, she explains, and this may help us to attract more talented job-seekers to Dinal. Looking ahead, Ossipova plans to launch a 'Talking Club' at the brewery every Friday night so employees from all areas, as well as close friends and family members, can meet to practice their spoken English. "It will be a great opportunity for our students to interact in an informal setting because they don't always get many chances to elsewhere." Heineken N.V. - 2004/2005 Sustainability Report

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Heineken - Milieuverslag | 2004 | | pagina 48