July 1, 2022

Putting people first with leadership training for Frutas Esther

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From June 14th until 17th  a leadership training programme took place at Frutas Esther, another step towards creating a more valued and productive community of farm workers. The training was sponsored by innocent and SVZ. Based in Huelva and Murcia, Spain, the berry cooperative attracts both permanent and temporary workers from across the world, contributing to a hugely diverse team.

“Managing people from different countries and backgrounds comes with a unique set of challenges,” says Carmen María Velasco Martínez, Human Resource Manager at Frutas Esther. “As part of our pledge to empower our workforce, we are running a leadership training for supervisors from all areas of the business. We want everyone to fulfil their potential, whatever their department.”

Supervisors at Frutas Esther are already well-versed in growing and supplying the best quality produce. And now this new training aims to equip the wider team awith the tools to maintain an effective and cohesive community where everyone feels valued and appreciated – whatever their background.

A collaborative team

The programme is run by Emerging Leaders, an NGO that specialises in leadership development – particularly in vulnerable communities across the globe. Training is adapted to suit the needs of every business – in this case, the focus was building an effective team and allowing individuals to thrive.

“Our programme is built around the belief that leadership is part of everyone, and with the right skillset we can all help people flourish. The main challenges that supervisors at Frutas Ester have to overcome are related to the language barrier and the cultural differences, which can add to challenges when leading a team” comments Steve Miles, CEO at Emerging Leaders. “Frutas Esther are committed to investing in their employees’ wellbeing, and that includes fostering self-esteem, encouraging collaboration and better teamwork. We brought together people from across the farm to further develop a ‘one-team’ approach. It was great to see workers laughing together and improve relationships outside the session afterwards, too.”

Building better futures

Taking place across four days, the training was not only about leadership in the traditional sense. “We want our employees to feel like leaders in every aspect of their lives,” says Carmen. “As well as giving supervisors the knowledge to change their mindset and behaviour, we wanted to provide the essential skills and financial literacy training to build confidence in their personal lives as well. This is covered in the three-module course, entitled ‘lead yourself’, ‘lead your finance’ and ‘lead your project’, as part of our all-round investment in workers’ development.”

“If workers feel they can better manage their resources and help their families, they feel more valued by the business. It is about engaging the head and the heart,” adds Inge van Disseldorp, sustainability manager at SVZ. “When employees are happier at home, they are more focused at work, which in turn benefits the organisation. It’s win-win!

“We’re pleased to be supporting this important initiative – it’s the first external training session of its kind at Frutas Esther, complementing the numerous internal programmes the company already runs. Feedback has already been overwhelmingly positive, with workers from across different departments actively participating and connecting on a personal level, which is great to see.”

Growing better together

Thanks to this collaborative training programme and cooperation from everyone involved, the team at Frutas Esther will be equipped with the leadership skills needed for agriculture – and for life! Watch this space for future education development initiatives in collaboration with our partners too – learning is a continuous process, after all!

For more information on SVZ’s valued partners, and how they are growing better together, get in touch today: https://www.svz.com/contact.

Are you interested in running the Emerging Leaders programme at your farm and/or organization? We are more than happy to share our insights and answer your questions. Please contact:

Carmen Velasco (Frutas Esther) [email protected],Inge van Disseldorp (SVZ) [email protected] or Steve Miles (Emerging Leaders) [email protected]

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