Certified Origins employees working with Mariateresa Romeo, Executive Coach

Apr 12, 2024

To Live and Breathe the Company Culture

Written by Mariateresa Romeo

A Client Story: How Certified Origins successfully improved the US team’s engagement and alignment with the company’s core values.

The Need

Certified Origins is a European-based company that aims to contribute to people’s happiness and health through good food. The company is a leader in high-quality private-label olive oil and traceable food programs. It has been operating in the US market for over ten years, with a New York office and soon opening one bottling facility in Virginia. As a result of this expansion, the US workforce increased by 50% in the last year and will keep growing further.  

In 2022, the company kicked off “Building Bridges,” a global corporate program to promote brand internalization and harmonize its culture among its three main operating countries (Italy, Spain, and the United States) and sales offices in Mexico and China, 

The project involved multiple worldwide employee engagement surveys to reinforce and divulge the company’s mission, values, and purpose internally, and the group grew and evolved. 

The leadership team hired Cometa Coaching to support the US-based employees in familiarizing themselves with the company’s mission and values, increasing their sense of belonging and level of engagement, and overcoming the distance, not only geographically, from the European and International locations.

The Approach

In partnership with the leadership team, we developed our interventions based on the following fundamental aspects:

  • Food: A key component of the company’s mission and strategies, food was not only the key topic of group sessions but was also used to create bonds and facilitate employee interactions. 
  • Fun: the Certified Origins US work environment is dynamic, friendly, and not particularly formal. We ensured the team could enjoy themselves while working together through simple and entertaining activities.
  • Creativity: We adopted creative team-working activities, such as vision boards and exercises using photos and metaphors, to encourage the team to think outside the box, brainstorm, and engage simultaneously.
  • Diversity: In any interaction with the leadership team and the group, we considered not only the differences between US and European work cultures but also the diversity within the US group, as it is composed of employees from different cultures, ages, and backgrounds. 

Our project comprised three phases, each developed for a specific goal and outcome.

    1. Embodying the values 

    We started our engagement with a pasta-making class, a team-building activity that allowed the New York team to have fun working together and disconnecting from their daily routine. This activity was propaedeutic for a group coaching session on the company’s values. The team redefined the values from the employees’ standpoint. They considered how core values, such as quality, sustainability, or innovation, inform the company’s practices and processes and how they can contribute as a group and as individuals.

    2. Crafting strategic messaging

    We analyzed the group coaching session outcomes and the employee engagement global survey results to develop a messaging framework outlining the core themes and the related key messages to evoke and promote employee behaviors connected to the company’s mission and values. The framework was used to develop internal communication to shape and sustain the company culture.

    3. Changing behaviors

    We concluded our intervention with a workshop arranged during the yearly national meeting in Virginia involving the entire group of US-based employees. During the workshop, the employees worked in small groups to create vision boards for the Company’s future. The goal was to engage the employees in designing the company’s future state and, most of all, in identifying the necessary changes in behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes to make it happen. 

     Client Feedback

    As our team has grown considerably over the past year, one of our challenges is integrating all the new team members into the existing structure. This initiative and other workshops we plan to hold in the coming months will help improve communication among team members, a key factor in any company’s success.

    During the sessions, the team was eager to engage with our mission, our approach to Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and the company culture that makes us one of the leading companies in our sector.

    The sessions tremendously facilitated the creation of connections between the team members.

    (Nacho Nuez, Certified Origins US Managing Director)

    How Cometa Coaching can help

    Our People & Culture Programs can help elevate your company’s work environment and culture, increasing employee investment, motivation, and passion. We support companies in assessing cultural behaviors and developing initiatives to improve employee engagement, experience, and well-being, including, but not limited to, team building, training programs, and internal communication strategies and campaigns.

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