Founders, fearless, and family— pillars of Bacardi Culture

Not just a tick mark activity, the unique culture is lived every day and also created and sustained by brainstorming ideas in a culture hackathon.


Bacardi rings a bell, and that too a happy one if you are nuts about the tipple. Along with consumers, it is adding a zing in employees’ lives and how!

Recently recognised for its superlative people practices and workplace culture, and having scored very high on parameters, such as credibility, respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie, the spirits company has disrupted the norm to innovate employee practices.

Sanjit Singh Randhawa , managing director, Bacardi, India and SEA, says, “For Bacardi, culture comes first and is at the heart of everything we do as a company. Our global cultural pillars of ‘Founders, Fearless and Family’ is a mindset that has sustained and strengthened our growth from a single distillery to one of the world’s largest family-owned spirits company.”

Bacardi India is a part of the largest privately-held spirits company in the world, which produces and markets internationally-recognised spirits and wines. Bacardi India is a key centre, both as a market and as a talent hub.

“Culture is in the DNA of the organisation, and the uniqueness comes from the fact that it is a family-run management at the top. The three pillars are embedded into all HR processes and strategies. Moreover, culture is a strong enabler for performance and long-term planning,” says Arijit Sengupta, director-HR, India and neighbouring countries, Bacardi.

The 157-year-old company, which celebrated two decades in India in 2018, has a young workforce with 55 per cent of it comprising millennials. Keeping the sanctity of founders – every employee is inspired to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. The workforce is expected to be fearless and allowed the freedom of thought action and communication. The Company nurtures a family-like environment of respect and trust, which has helped churn out innovative and progressive practices around employee engagement, L&D and performance appraisals.

Next Gen

Inviting ideas from employees that can be a game changer for the company and globally scalable, Next Gen further strengthens the core culture values by fostering the ‘founders, fearless and family’ mindsets.

Some of the ideas shared by the employees are supported by the management through resources and by providing bandwidth for their implementation.

“Millennials get an opportunity to participate in terms of company growth and also nurture their creative spirit by getting to contribute outside the work domain,” says Sengupta.


Fearless Friday

A group of employees are invited to meet the MD of the company, and a very open and transparent conversation takes place. The group discusses important matters, such as company growth and strategies to drive the business further.

In these meetings, the employees get an opportunity to discuss their own fears and how they can overcome them.

Such initiatives help the Company gain popularity among the millennials, who welcome the chance to be heard, contribute and feel like an integral part of the bigger company agenda.


Let’s Talk: Performance appraisal system




“We have got rid of our traditional appraisal programme based on review and ranking, for a more sustainable programme, that facilitates conversations all year long, via two steps,” says Sengupta.

At the start of the year, employees come to an agreement with their leaders about the key focus areas for the year and define commitments. This is called Primo Plan for the men and Prima Plan for the women employees.

Throughout the year, employees and managers refer to the commitment sheet and assess progress on the commitments, development plan and the impact the employees have on the culture. Traffic Lights are used to show the status of commitments. Red indicates off track, orange means a delay or risk of delivery, while green means on track.

“Our aim is not just to drive performance, but also support employee development, embed the culture and create a long-term and sustainable appraisal system,” remarks Sengupta.

Back to Bar

This is an annual event, which in February 2019, saw more than 7,000 Bacardi employees across 130 global cities turning up at more than 1000 bars on the same day, to interact with bar staff and customers. It is a great opportunity for employees to interact with customers and vice versa. Here also, the employees are given a chance to showcase their talent by posting their experience of social media (Facebook). The creator of the post that manages to attract maximum eye balls or goes viral, bags an award.

Back to School

The organisation also invests heavily on nurturing talent from within. Programmes, such as the ‘Emilio Bacardi Harvard Business School Leadership Programme’ gather Bacardi’s top talent (50-60 middle level to senior level employees) from across the globe to participate in a highly-competitive executive education programme at the Ivy League school to develop internal leadership pipelines.

My Inspirit Day

One day’s leave is given to employees to engage in social work. The activity is sometimes performed collectively in teams and called ‘Team Spirit’.

Founders Day is celebrated with the families of the employees, wherein their contribution to the Company’s success is acknowledged.





The pillars of its culture — founders, fearless and family —have elements of traditional values. However, their implementation has room for modern thinking, such as freedom of thought and action. Moreover, there is a common thread that binds all the above initiatives into one goal, that is, unification of individual and organisational interests.

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