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‘We want to unsmoke the world,’ says Philip Morris’ director of people

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Transforming the tobacco industry

Philip Morris’s ethos is changing and their goal is to transform the entire tobacco industry. Nowadays, we understand the dangers of smoking – and that stigma can prove a bone of contention for potential future hires. After all, with environmental, social and governance (ESG) values rising in employee minds, people might not be too keen to work for a tobacco company.

But, according to Gruber, that’s just a stigma.

“Number one, you don’t have to smoke to work for us,” he tells HRD. “Actually, the majority of our employees don’t smoke. A lot employes come into our business with the same goal of transformation – creating something that’ll eventually benefit millions of people. We also have a lot of workers who used to smoke, or who’s family members smoke, and have had difficulty quitting. For them, it’s great to know that there’s an alternative that’s not as harmful as tobacco.”

This shift, this transformation in products, means new departments, new processes and new supply chains – something pretty unique from an HR perspective. However, it’s not without its challenges. As Gruber tells HRD, one of the biggest issues for him right now is filling the void between employee expectations and the role of employers.

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