The Jameson name is known around the world, from Vancouver to Sydney and Dublin to Shanghai. The brand is famous for its logo, ethos and, of course, graduate programme. But what makes this programme so popular? And why do hundreds of students apply every single year? We asked Sinéad D’Arcy, Head of Jameson International Graduate Programme to find out more
In Sinéad’s opinion, it comes down to the company’s culture and key values. “We’re authentic, we’re creative, we’re innovative. We have what we call an entrepreneurial mindset. That means we’re always looking for opportunities for our brand, opportunities to connect with new customers and opportunities to go into new markets. I think that’s what attracted Millennials and is now attracting Centennials to our brand.’’
Jameson gives graduates what they need to succeed: Global careers, autonomy, sustainability, development opportunities and wellness.
The international programme is a three-year scheme that includes two rotations, 12 months in one country and 24 months in another. This gives graduates the opportunity to travel and immerse themselves in different cities around the globe.
According to Sinéad, graduates ‘’can truly build their career on a global stage, which is what that generation wants. What we offer graduates is very unique and engaging.’’
Through research and internal feedback, Jameson has discovered that Centennials thrive on autonomy. They want to be entrusted with a task and then given the freedom and the tools to achieve it.
This is built into the graduate programme training from day one with the ‘Distill Your Own Success’ initiative. Sinéad explains the importance further stating that ‘’We make sure we have different learning modules that empower the graduates to take control of their own careers.’’
‘’They have a support network to be successful, but the autonomy to go get things done. They get a lot of freedom but at the same time they have a lot of feedback sessions, so if they’re having any challenges we will be able to help support them.’’
Sustainability is a huge concern for Generation Z. They not only want to work for a successful company with lots of opportunities, but they also want to work somewhere that has a positive impact on the world around them.
“As a company, we do a lot around sustainability. We’re very conscious of the community and the environment,’’ explains Sinéad. At their three day Global Ambassadors Summit this year, the team committed to being more eco-friendly.
“We walked to our venue, which reduced our carbon footprint. We made wooden name badges, instead of plastic lanyards. We eradicated the single-use plastic bottles from the venue, and we also got rid of all plastic straws.’’
Centennials are keen learners. Sinéad believes that ‘’Employers need to be aware that Gen Zs are knowledge seekers. They’re constantly learning and constantly self-developing. They want a company that will help them to grow fast.’’
And she’s right. Research shows that one of the main reasons Centennials leave a company is because they’re not learning fast enough.
This tech-savvy generation wants to continually upskill in their own time. To promote this, Jameson places a great deal of focus on mobile and commuter learning.
“The big thing with Gen Z is that they’re digital natives,’’ says Sinéad. ‘They’re hyperconnected and online all the time. They have an attention span of about eight seconds, so everything that they consume from a learning and development perspective has to be short and snappy.’’
Wellness isn’t just about free office fruit or a weekly gym pass, it’s about treating your employees as a whole person. Jameson takes a holistic approach to employee wellness focusing on four key pillars – sleep, eat, connect and sweat.
Sinéad explains this further. “Sleep is the foundation of all good health. We have a lot of strategies for getting enough sleep. Eat is all about nutrition, we run workshops and bring in personal trainers. Connect is how our employees communicate with each other and include things like networking lunches. Sweat is about making sure that they are fit and healthy.’’
And what about the other generations in the Jameson workplace? How do they promote communication and teamwork across generations?
Sinéad believes that the key to good teamwork lies in understanding.
“The reality is we all now work in a multi-generational workplace. As an employer, if you understand each generation then you can understand how they work closely with each other in synergy. We try to engage all the different generations within Irish Distillers in fun ways where they can interact, learn from and listen to the new generation.’’
The organisation invests a lot of time and resources into making sure that all age groups are catered for, but how are they preparing themselves for the next workplace generation? Well, Sinéad believes in a three-pronged approach that includes colleges, government and feedback from employees.
‘’The first thing you need is to make sure that you work with educators…the universities and career development centres on campus. Next, we work with the government. I’ve been on Ibec focus groups etc. It’s important to have a seat at that table. As a business, we are constantly looking at primary and secondary research to see what the future of work will look like. We do focus groups with students to understand what they want from employers. When those students are with us, we’re constantly looking for feedback from them.”
If you’re a student, you might be wondering how you can land one of the coveted Jameson Graduate Programme spots. The good news is, the application process is a lot more open than you might imagine.
“What we’re hiring is potential, passion and attitude. You can have those three traits from studying anything,’’ explains Sinéad. ‘’We have graduates that have come from loads of different degrees, including law, psychology, architecture, and archaeology. Sometimes people think it’s just business or marketing grads that we hire, but that’s not true. The diversity of thought really comes from the diversity of degrees that people have studied.’’
Work Happy 100 judge Charlotte Jee says, “Employees could be drawn to the Jameson Graduate Programme by how concrete their rewards are: a car, a phone and flights. It shows a real commitment to investing in the people you employ. I also liked the way they conveyed a real sense of community and connectedness, despite being a globally distributed team.”