Powering CPG Through Times of Crisis & Beyond

Tom Viggers
April 23, 2020

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” -- William Shedd

For consumer goods companies, the world had already changed before the coronavirus. 

The old model, perfected in the mid-20th century, of large-scale brand building, innovation, and distribution, was no longer working. Organic growth was slowing down and performance was slipping.

Meanwhile, an explosion of VC-funded small brands were developing products with niche target audiences, marketed in smart digital ways. They were cooler, more convenient, more ethical, more desirable. It was hard to keep up.

As a result, the consumer goods giants were investing heavily in transforming their traditional models. They needed to be faster, more dynamic, more ethical, and perhaps above all, more innovative, than their competition.

So they focused on becoming more agile – structuring the workforce into dynamic teams that could group and regroup effortlessly. They adopted radical new approaches to innovation, empowering diverse teams with faster routes to market to test more ideas faster and find new groups of customers. They re-thought the way they reached consumers, selling more and more via innovative e-commerce models such as subscription boxes delivered direct to their customers’ homes.

And now, the world has changed yet again.

With COVID-19, the consumer goods giants are being pushed even harder. Can they innovate and scale fast enough, do they understand their customers well enough, and are their workforces dynamic enough to make a difference?

It will be the giants, with their scale and cash reserves that are in the best position to do it – and they’re already doing an enormous amount. Unilever is contributing more than €100m to help those affected and launching a global campaign to educate people about handwashing. Nestle is working with the IFRC to get food, medical nutrition products and bottled water to those who need it. British American Tobacco is developing a potential vaccine using new, fast-growing tobacco plant technology. And these are just a few examples.


For the rest of us, maybe this is a reminder not just of how important this industry is to our lives, but of the innovations they have made over the last hundred years to get there. The hand sanitizers in our offices and backpacks, the ice creams in our freezers, the powdered milk in our cupboards all happened due to countless hours of carefully coordinated human ingenuity.

By empowering CPG companies to measure and organise the characteristics of the people that drive that ingenuity, pymetrics hopes to play its part in driving us through and beyond this crisis. By helping CPG companies break the barriers to innovation and fluidity, we help our customers unlock and accelerate their much-needed progress even faster. 

Companies can feel fully confident that they have this human ingenuity to drive their teams and mission forward by evaluating soft skills, which 92% of talent professionals and hiring managers agree are just as important–or more important–than hard skills. 89% of respondents even agreed that a common theme among “bad hires” is that they lack these soft skills. Only 41% of companies report to have a process in place to assess such soft skills, which usually just means having hiring managers assess candidates’ social cues subjectively. But such inconsistent and often unstructured interviews pave the way for unconscious bias to creep its way in -- and that’s where pymetrics becomes essential. We use behavioral assessments to evaluate existing employees for where else they could fit within the company, not based on what they've done before but who they are. This is a great way to create the diversity that drives innovation - exposing new areas of the business to new people and new perspectives.


Rather than focusing on backward-looking resumes, self-reported questionnaires, or human-led interviews, all of which tend to fuel convergent thinking, we collect objective behavioral data that measures a candidate's true potential and provides a window into their inherent cognitive and emotional make-up, sparking divergence -- the key to innovation. 

Here’s to the human-centric innovations of the next hundred years, but above all this one.

By committing to improving soft skills assessment in this way, you’ll start finding ways to spot the uniquely human traits that spell success, and begin to future-proof your workforce. Contact us to learn more.