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Life at McCormick January 13, 2020

Employee Ambassador Group Spotlight: Seasoned Ambassador Group of Experience (SAGE)

 

McCormick’s Employee Ambassador Groups (EAGs) ensure that every employee, regardless of age, background and experience, feels valued. And the Seasoned Ambassadors Group of Experience (SAGE) EAG is no exception.

In 2018, a group of employees felt inspired to find ways to support the unique needs of more experienced staff members and brought SAGE to fruition. In just one year, more than 200 employees at McCormick’s Global Headquarters became members of the EAG.

The mission of SAGE is to champion an inclusive environment that maximizes the engagement and contribution of seasoned employees by supporting their needs and professional growth, and by leveraging their extensive experience. SAGE’s vision is to help foster a multi-generational McCormick culture where all can thrive from Hire to Retire. 

“We focus on addressing the areas that are most important to our members, such as leveraging their experience through leadership opportunities, expanding their knowledge with strategic development roles and cross-generational integration with two-way mentoring,” said Nancy Peper, principal scientist and co-chair of SAGE.

McCormick recognizes the important benefits this generational EAG can bring to the organization, including maximizing the business impact of the most experienced employees, transferring critical knowledge to future leaders, retaining these valuable employees by ensuring their needs are addressed, and gaining additional insights into this important consumer group.

 

As for how the EAG benefits employees’ personal and professional lives, the SAGE leadership team conducted employee surveys to determine what topics would be of interest to members, which resulted in five key priorities. Deborah Stuiber, marketing director and co-chair of SAGE, says that in its first year, SAGE has successfully offered learning sessions on each of the five topics:

 

  1. Health and wellness: In a Lunch & Learn session, members learned stress reduction techniques, ways to keep active during the work day, and an in-depth look at the medical services offered at McCormick’s Wellness Center.
  2. Career enhancement: When you enter a company as a younger employee, you focus on getting promoted. But as a senior employee, how do you develop new skills and continue to contribute to the organization in meaningful ways? SAGE addressed these concerns through an information session on how to expand an already successful career.
  3. Caring for aging parents: November was National Family Caregivers Month, and the SAGE team held a “Caring for Aging Parents” Lunch & Learn to provide tips and inform employees about the resources McCormick offers (such as flexible work arrangements, employee assistance programs, financial planning, and more) to ease the stress of being a caregiver.
  4. Retirement preparation: To help seasoned employees prepare for retirement, SAGE asked a panel of retirees and a retirement expert to share their experiences and tips for the transition. Deborah and Nancy said this panel resonated well with SAGE members, and they’re hoping to have a retirement follow-up event in 2020.
  5. Working across generations: With five different generations in the workplace, communication can be a challenge. SAGE partnered with the McCormick Young Professionals EAG and Tallsmall Productions to host “Gen-Everyone: How to Navigate Communication Between the Generations.” The event examined stereotypes and communication challenges using interactive modules and skits.

SAGE is also involved with Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland. The EAG gathered twice last year to pack 500 gift bags with McCormick products. Additionally, a few times a month, a group dubbed “The Lunch Bunch” volunteers during lunch breaks to deliver meals to Marylanders in need.

 

The “seasoned” employees most likely to engage with SAGE have more than 20 years professional work experience either at McCormick or elsewhere. But Nancy and Deborah stress that any employee, regardless of length of experience, is welcome to join.

 

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