Human Resource Practices at Sonoco and Adobe


Human resource management refers to a set of practices that are aimed at ensuring that an organization not only has the right employees but is also able to maximize their potential and retain them for as long as they are relevant to the organizational goals and objectives. As such, the HR component of the organizational management is responsible for hiring and firing, formulating compensation practices that are relevant to the organization, and ensuring that the leadership within the company is also contributing to the employee retention through motivational leadership practices among other things. As such, it can be noted that the HR department is also responsible for knowledge management and employee motivation, with the intention of both retaining employees and reducing turnover. This paper compares the HR practices at the Sonoco company and at the Adobe company in order to establish the kind of practices that these two companies have with respect to the HR management. This paper compares the human recourse practices and compensation packages at the corporations Sonoco and Adobe and argues that Adobe’s HR practices are superior to Sonoco’s in terms of compensation and general working terms including incentives.

The Organizations

The Sonoco company is a business organization that deals with packaging products and services. As a global organization, the company enjoys the services of employees from over 35 countries across the globe, with more than 300 locations. This has prompted the company to operate on a people-oriented basis to enable innovation and boost cooperation amongst the various branches. The nature of work here is challenging, and more often than not the employees receive employment offers from other companies due to the high standards within which Sonoco operates. The company thus has to deal with a lot of competition within the labor market, thus making their recruitment and retention processes very crucial to their sustainable excellence in the global packaging industry.

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Adobe is, on the other hand, a creative and digital marketing software company which serves the entire world as well. As a global company, Adobe is also responsible for quite a big number of employees, and thus their culture is innovative and people-oriented, given that the employees are directly responsible for the company’s business. As such, they are treated with respect and given the room to grow individually as well as with respect to their careers. Adobe is considered as a market leader in the creative and digital marketing software industry, thus making it a worthy opponent to Sonoco, as far as comparing HR practices is concerned. Both companies are remarkably successful in their respective industries, with a significant dependence on the abilities of their employees as a competitive advantage in both external and internal marketing.


There are quite a number of similarities in these companies’ HR practices, starting with their corporate culture, core values, compensation practices, recruitment, promotion, motivation, and interpersonal relations within the organizations (Baron & Kreps, 1999). It should be noted that in either companies, the most important asset is the employee, thus the need to not only appease the employees but also to ensure that they get the best recruits in the labor market through the effective internal marketing. The companies are both proud winners of numerous awards with respect to their place in the global labor market, with Adobe even appearing on the 2014 list of Fortune 100 best companies to work for.

Corporate Culture

Sonoco is built on the ideology that ‘People Build Businesses’, and this slogan is even imprinted on most of the company’s merchandise and buildings. This ideology implies that they elevate their employees, regarding them as highly valued assets, whose contribution to the successes of the organization has been invaluable. Adobe also values their employees very highly, considering that their business is driven by the personal interactions between the employees and the customers. This company is thus thriving on the satisfaction of their employees, such that they have to keep the employees happy at all times if they are to expect the best output from them.

With this in mind, it can be noted that both companies thrive upon an innovative corporate culture, in which the people are free to come up with new ideas and implement them with little restrictions. The companies have both trusted their employees to the point that they take responsibility for their actions within and outside the workplace, as far as their companies are concerned. What this does to the HR component is that it builds the esteem of the employees, making them feel valued and respected within the organization and thus adding on to the strength of the relationship that they have with their respective companies. An innovative corporate culture symbolizes trust between the employer and employee, and this is one of the core aspects of employee retention, as everyone wants to be appreciated to the point that their ideas are considered worth taking a risk.

Core Values

From their official website, the Sonoco company can be stated to uphold values such as ingenuity, innovation, honesty, teamwork, respect, hard work, safety and sustainability as well as curiosity. All these values point to the idea that at this company, cooperation with the other employees is mandatory, as is the ability to make calculative risks with good intentions. This company not only values the employee’s ability to interact with one another, to work together and to make competent and informed choices, but also encourages them to learn new things and discover more in their line of work. At Adobe, genuine, innovative, exceptional, and involved are the core values, thus implying that they are also interested in keeping their employees well connected to one another and well informed, as far as their professions are concerned and generally focused on the end game without neglecting the processes as well. This is primarily because this company also looks to inspire their employees to do their best through learning experiences and opportunities both on and off the job.

Compensation Practices

Both companies practice performance-related pay, where people are evaluated for their efforts within a given period and then awarded in terms of rewards and benefits. At Adobe, for example, the employees are often given the opportunity to take a vacation in order to relax after a very productive year at work. The employees here are thus challenged to work hard to receive a reward in the form of a working vacation abroad or a bonus among other things. It should be noted that the working vacation is meant to be motivational, given the fact that the company often sends their employees to their overseas offices if they perform exceptionally well locally and would consider invaluable assets in other parts of the world. By sending them to visit these other branches, they not only give them the opportunity to experience a different culture and relax but also to consider their options, as far as overseas business trips are concerned. At Sonoco, employees are also challenged to perform better through rewards and benefits that are given based on the level of commitment and dedication that an employee has shown towards personal and organizational goals within a specific period of time. This encourages the employees to work extremely hard during the year so that they can get the promotions, bonuses, and rewards as well as other benefits that come with being a good employee in the company. For both companies, the compensation practices are aimed at not only paying for the services of the employees but also keeping them within the company, as they are both considerably competitive for their respective markets.


Adobe recruits their people mostly from the universities, whereas Sonoco also recruits college students for their entry levels into the organization. Adobe recruitment is based on one’s creativity, ability to learn and work in a team setting, and their interpersonal skills, based on the importance of relationships within the company. What this means is that in order to be recruited here, one must be creative, collaborative, and very capable when it comes to fitting in with a community of people with similar interests in technology and innovation (Rowley & Jackson, 2010). These requirements are the benchmarks of excellence for this company and thus govern all their recruitment decisions. At Sonoco, recruitment is done on the basis of talents, skills, and passion as well as creativity. This is possibly why they also recruit college students who may have a lot to learn, as far as teamwork is concerned. The organization relies on the ability of these students to learn, thus investing in them for their future. Recruitment as an HR component dictates the kind of people an organization has, and in these two cases, it can be noted that creativity and the ability to learn are equally important for both companies (Heneman, Judge, & Kammeyer-Mueller, 2011). This means that the employees must be able to think on their own and make credible decisions for the organization’s benefit, and must also be willing and able to learn from those around them. This is probably why both organizations have a mentorship program, which pairs up the new recruits with more seasoned employees for guidance and knowledge sharing within the companies.


This is a very wide concept that includes, among other things, the kind of leadership that an organization has and their attitudes towards social relationships in the workplace. At Adobe, friendship is considered as one of the most basic concepts, as far as teamwork is concerned. The employees are often encouraged to engage with each other outside the work environment through sports, charity work, community service, and other social activities including family outings. The idea here is to keep the people close in a way that allows them to bond and share experiences that will help them in their own ways. Working with friends is considered as one of the best situations with respect to one’s productivity, as it opens up the internal communication within the organization, seeing as the people understand one another beyond the formal restrictions of their professional life (Dowling, Festing, & Engle, 2010). Sonoco also advocates for a work and life balance, where the employees are expected to hang out every once in a while and bond over sports or drinks among other things. This increases their productivity as well by making the workplace a friendly environment where people relate incredibly well with each other since they are personal friends beyond the workplace. Moreover, while this may have its disadvantages, the two companies find it very lucrative for their people-oriented cultures.


The only major difference that can be spotted between these two companies is with respect to their performance appraisals. Both companies practice performance-related compensation, thus implying that they both require a mechanism to monitor the employees throughout the year in a manner that is not only fair but also practical. At Sonoco, the performance appraisal is conducted through a conventional approach in which the employees are interviewed by their supervisors in relation to their goals, expectations, and personal reviews for the ending year. Here, the employees mainly give their own perspectives of what they have accomplished within the year, how much they have grown, and what areas they would like to improve in the next year as well as any new goals in their personal lives and careers. Employees are then given scores based on how they believe they have performed during the year and how their improvements have impacted the organization (Baron & Kreps, 1999). At Adobe, however, the employees are evaluated through a continuous system of feedback, where the employees propose their goals and expectations to their managers and then offer frequent feedbacks with respect to their performance. In this way, the employees can monitor their progress throughout the year and thus make improvements without having to wait for the annual interviews. This opens up the opportunity for a steady individual and career growth within the company, thus attracting and retaining even more employees.


Adobe and Sonoco are largely similar in the way they handle their employees, except for their performance appraisal component, where they use different approaches to monitor and evaluate the employees. In this regard, it can be agreed upon the fact that Adobe takes the upper hand in the element in which they differ. A continuous performance evaluation implies that the employees have an opportunity to monitor their performance more regularly and can thus improve whenever they notice a reduced enthusiasm. This can also be helpful in targeting the rewards and benefits as well as promotions and other career options within and outside the company. The HR practices of Adobe can thus be considered as superior to those of Sonoco, despite Adobe having only one significant upper hand over Sonoco. The implications of continuous performance appraisals are by far too significant to employee retention to be ignored.

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