Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. -- Proving Success Comes From Investing in People



"People leave managers, not companies." 

"Employees don't leave organizations, they leave bad bosses."

"Workers resign from their jobs because of their leaders."

However one wants to say it, the idea in these statements is the same. Majority of dissatisfied workers resign from their jobs because they couldn't stand their superiors anymore. That happened to me in the past; several times, in fact. This is one of the reasons why I totally love being a freelancer -- because I can choose who to work with.

touring INOZA Feed Mill Plant - a BAVI sister company
more about our BAVI facilities tour in another post
 
No matter how much we like our jobs, sometimes, we end up leaving a company due to supervisors and managers who don't treat us well. The funny thing is, only a handful of bosses still seem to recognize this truth! 

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Sir Ronald Mascariñas, President and General Manager of Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. (BAVI) during my trip to Cebu and I learned so many things from him about running a business, the huge benefits of treating employees well, and other interesting stuff about the Philippine economy. 

with Sir Ronald who is now in my list of
most-admired Filipino leaders 
BAVI is behind the popular names Bounty Fresh Chicken, Chooks-to-Go, and Uling Roasters. The company, he shared, started with people who lost their jobs when San Miguel Corporation acquired Pure Foods in 2001. Having been successful in heading three businesses (poultry, food service, and fast food) under the latter, Sir Ronald opted to leave the company when he was tasked to head another department that wasn't under his expertise.

Before he left Pure Foods, the UP Los Baños alumnus (I just have to include that because we graduated from the same university :D) was able to totally turn its formerly losing poultry business around. His work principles of honesty and fairness gained him the trust of their many partners. Thus, when BAVI started approaching business owners in 2002, doubts were set aside once they found out that those behind the new company were people from Pure Foods that they trusted to help them grow their businesses. 

Uling Roasters' efficient and friendly employees
Starting with 50 employees, BAVI's new management swiftly covered the whole country within the first two years, providing working capital and technical expertise to hatcheries, feed mills, contract growers/poultry farms, and dressing plants. "We don't own all of those," clarified Sir Ronald, "but we have a fully integrated system and we're now probably the strongest poultry integrator company in the the country."

With 800+ employees at present, BAVI's Core Value remains the same. "We want to be fair to everybody. Before our partners even start complaining, we should be able to address the problems right away," pointed out Sir Ronald who started this culture of trust in his former company.

employees of BAVI's Hatchery located in North Cebu 
What further impressed me about how BAVI is being run was discovering how the company offered to pay fees for Toastmasters International trainings to employees who would like to develop their public speaking and leadership skills. The 300 employees who took on the challenge were even given incentives whenever they reach a new level (e.g. 15% increase in salary for rank and file employees). Sir Ronald proudly revealed one of his people was able to move up to three levels in one year!

He affirmed that his employees' self-confidence definitely increased citing one who used to attend meetings with a bowed head and who wouldn't speak at all. "Ngayon, madaldal na s'ya," revealed the happy boss. Sir Ronald also shared that BAVI has been given the Crystal Globe Award by Toastmasters for having the highest numbers of members enrolled in the program worldwide. 

with BAVI executives Sir Alfred Espina and Sir Antonio Utzurrum
Another notable thing about BAVI is its hiring process where applicants undergo a month-long training   before taking a final exam that requires a 100% passing grade before being deployed to his/her assignment. Sir Ronald said 99% is not good enough because it means there's 1% that the applicant didn't learn.

"Before, when problems arise somewhere, the usual excuse would be 'Sir, it's because the supervisor there is new.' Now, when a department shows signs of doing exceptionally well, the reason would be, 'Sir, it's because the supervisor there is new." Awesome contradictions, right?! :) In addition, BAVI sends abroad an average of two to three employees a month for further trainings. 

BAVI employees at INOZA Feed Mill Plant
There are so many other things that Sir Ronald talked about that I hope could be compiled in a book so that more leaders could learn from them. Perhaps attrition rates in other companies would significantly decrease. For now, let me end this post with, again, a great nugget of wisdom. 

When asked what inspired him to heavily invest in people, Sir Ronald mentioned his love of war movies and his admiration of the strength of elite forces. He illustrated this using the ratio of Israeli vs. Palestine soldiers where one Israeli trooper can take on 20 Palestine fighters. "That's what we want for our employees. Over the years, I know they will be a cut above the rest."


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