Kraft Foods

www.kraft.com
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Learned great business skills & made great money but the price was steep

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Associate Director in Northfield, IL
Former Employee - Associate Director in Northfield, IL

I worked at Kraft Foods full-time (more than 10 years)

Pros

Brand recognition - great to work for a company where everyone is familiar with at least one of your products
Generous paychecks - even better if/when you crack into the management ranks for bonuses & stock options
Huge organization offers multiple opportunities locally, nationally & internationally
If you don't like your current boss, most likely there will be a major reorganization or at least position rotations within 2 years so chances are you will have a new boss & can start fresh
Lots of opportunity to learn various businesses, technologies & functional areas
Great leadership opportunities if you are recognized as a potential leader
Midyear & annual reviews a natural part of the management process so if you don't get regular feedback from your manager, you will get some at least twice/year
Typically a high caliber pool of employee talent
Rotations in various positions, across functional areas are encouraged & help develop well-rounded employees & leaders
Many functions provided the ability to work remotely from home which was wonderful & many times more productive because you didn't have the daily distractions

Cons

For a food company whose target customer base has been families for many years, the leadership expects you to be available to the company 24 x 7 x 365; I felt like I was "married" to the company, my personal life wasn't important to the company & as a result my personal, community & spiritual lives suffered
Many people in executive positions have stay at home spouses OR in-home nannies if they have children because of the demanding work schedule
Very complex matrixed organization
If you do not actively network yourself you will not raise above a certain level
Relationships are everything at Kraft and since leadership is constantly changing/rotating this tends to get to be tiresome after so many years
WAY too many number one priorities - by default that makes none of them number one
Leadership in some areas sets goals & priorities much too late in the year but still hold you responsible for hitting the goals
Current leadership trends are rewarding managers & leaders who deliver results regardless of how they got them & at the expense of their staff
Management is not encouraging employee development as much any more except for a few chosen people
People/employees are no longer a priority of the organization even as leadership continues to declare how important their employees are; employees are being asked to do so much with so little & devote so much of their own lives to the company without any breaks in between high priority projects;
Some functions encourage management to give low performance ratings to people at the end of the year in order to hit target numbers generically set by executive team & HR even though the employee was never told he/she wasn't performing up to expectations at any time during the year (including midyear)
Ambition and competition for promotions can be cut-throat and hence people can make decisions on what's best for 'me' as opposed to what's best for the company
The organization seems to breed a type of leader who wants to hear everything is fine and proceeding according to plan even when things are derailing, not going to plan or taking much more work than what was originally expected; almost encouraging people to lie versus tell the truth
Organization has not shown the smarts to stop projects midway or after they've started even when the risks or costs start to exceed the benefits
Nothing is ever a failure so company leaders lose the opportunity to help people learn from mistakes; if mistakes are actually made & noticed, typically the lower level people are held accountable and the people in the leadership positions who originally dictated the direction/project/goal go unscathed because they have already sailed onto a new endeavor -- so the people who come in get left holding the bag & the criticism
Leadership/management is rotated too frequently... at minimum people should be retained in the position at least 6 months to a year after they implemented a project/major change in order to see the ramifications of the change and to learn from the situation
The open office work arrangement is very difficult to get used to after you've been working in a traditional office space; there are positives & there are negatives but I never did get used to all the noise & distractions and my productivity suffered tremendously; additionally as a manager it made life much harder because in order to work on confidential materials or to have confidential conversations I had to hunt and search for office space - lost loads of productive time

Advice to ManagementAdvice

1. Eat your own cooking:
  a. if the help desk is going to be outsourced, everyone should have to use the outsourced resources, don't have a special in-house service for the executive team; top levels need to experience the same changes the rest of the organization goes through in order to understand the ramifications of the decisions made
  b. if you are going to an open office space, everyone in the organization (including top executives) should have to use the open office space in order to understand the benefits & the challenges their employees are going through
2. Five, eight, ten number one top priority projects/goals means there are ZERO number one priority goals; You can only have One Number One Project/goal. Requiring people to have yearly goals is great but when they end up encompassing 1-2 pages of priorities, that's too many to focus on. Give people 1-3 things to concentrate on all year, results will be better if everyone really were working on the same objectives.Currently by the time you get to mid-management, they have so many goals because they have the CEO's goals, their department goals, their functional goals, their management's pet project goals, etc. And set them in December for the upcoming year. January is too late already & most times they're not set until February/March.
3. Listen to, really listen to all levels of employees in the organization;
4. Really give people the chance to provide feedback & don't kill the messenger when they do; trust takes a period of time to build
5. The higher you are in the organization, the more you need to check in with the middle and lower levels to understand the demands you are putting on them; sometimes leaders ask for things that sound simple but really end up causing several employees to be working 20 hour days to pull off the request but no one will share that information upwards because they are too afraid
6. Make the employees & their families a high priority again. Employees who are well taken care of, happy & can have lives outside of their work will be loyal and produce outstanding results. Kraft has slowly been eroding family & employee trust over the past few decades.
7. There's a serious problem with a company expecting people to work 50-70 hour work weeks without breaks for unending periods of time. That's just unhealthy.

Doesn't Recommend
Negative Outlook
Approves of CEO

701 Other Employee Reviews for Kraft Foods (View Most Recent)

Sort: Rating Date
  1.  

    Willing to promote within

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Analyst in Northfield, IL
    Current Employee - Sales Analyst in Northfield, IL

    I have been working at Kraft Foods full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Great Managers, great facility to work at.

    Cons

    They are not a family orientated company anymore and do not really care about their employees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need to develop ALL their employees

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Good Company

    Current Employee - Information Systems in Northfield, IL
    Current Employee - Information Systems in Northfield, IL

    I have been working at Kraft Foods full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Ability to work remotely
    Great vacation package
    Career opportunities to move to different functions/business units of the organization
    On-site employee store & fitness center

    Cons

    Sometimes it can be difficult to get things done (or done quickly) in such a large organization

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the great perks (remote working, vacation packages, etc) after the spin-off

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