Talent Management

By Steve McCarty

Taking care of your employees first is one of the keys to creating and managing a successful business.

This philosophy has helped Enterprise Holdings not only achieve great success, but also earn a reputation as a great place to work. From providing an attractive mix of hands-on training to offering employees the opportunity to advance their careers, a focus on employees is at the heart of everything Enterprise does.

Values-based culture

More and more, employees desire to work for a company that shares their values. The Enterprise culture is built on a set of values that have served as the company’s foundation for growth and success for nearly six decades. These values guide employees’ day-to-day dealings with their customers, their communities, their partners and each another. They're one of the things that attract talented recruits to the company – and they're important reasons why employees are proud to be part of the company.

Learning through doing

Maintaining a positive company culture goes beyond getting talented individuals in the door. Once an employee is hired, it’s important to take great care to make sure he or she receives the mentorship and training needed to pursue a successful and fulfilling career.

At Enterprise, most new hires get their start in the management training program – a hands-on learning experience that teaches trainees how to empower teams and provide excellent customer service, while being immersed in a wide range of the skills needed to run a business, including profit and loss management, business-to-business marketing and sales and logistics.

In 2015 alone, nearly 15,000 Enterprise employees were promoted or took on new opportunities – representing a 10 per cent annual increase in companywide promotions.

The program is grounded in the “70-20-10” philosophy of learning, which maintains that the majority (70 per cent) of career preparation comes through learning on the job, while the remainder comes from mentorship (20 per cent) and from courses and reading (10 per cent).

You could compare this hands-on approach to golf: a person can watch dozens of instructional videos and hang around great golfers every day, but unless they actually hit the links and practice hard, they’ll never master the game.

Managing for the future

Managers play a crucial role in the training process, providing the on-the-job support and mentoring that are critical to getting new employees up to speed and prepared to take on new challenges. Enterprise supports this approach through the company’s proprietary Show, Observe, Shape (SOS) training. SOS helps managers effectively coach their employees by showing them how to perform a particular job, observing them as they complete the task and shaping their behaviour through timely feedback.

In fact, Enterprise bases promotions in large part on a manager’s ability to retain and develop their employees. This is used as an incentive to foster development among employees. Few companies evaluate that type of metric, but it’s proven extremely successful in developing new hires into the next generation of business leaders.

In 2015 alone, nearly 15,000 Enterprise employees were promoted or took on new opportunities – representing a 10 per cent annual increase in companywide promotions.

A promote-from-within culture isn’t just about making your company a great place for people to build a career; it’s also about giving you a real competitive edge. In recruitment, many firms search externally for top talent. Instead, look to your company’s bench for the next generation of leaders.

Hiring for a path, not a position

But how can you ensure that you have a bench of employees to choose from? It’s no secret that “job-hopping” is an ongoing trend among an increasingly Millennial workforce, which continues to be a top concern for HR professionals across the board. In an ideal world, employers want their new hires to stay at the company for the long term. This is where developing employees and ensuring they are involved in meaningful work is most beneficial. Employees are most likely to look elsewhere when they feel stuck.

When hiring an employee, consider the path, not the position. If you are lucky enough to have a wide range of job options and business functions at your company, present employees with the opportunity to switch careers without switching companies. Last year, Enterprise significantly upgraded its internal careers website to provide employees more information about career mobility within the company.

In the end, it all comes back to a company culture that puts employees first. To maximize retention and minimize turnover, you must cultivate a culture of training and development that enables employees to feel as though they are constantly considered and supported at every stage of their career.

Steve McCarty is vice president of talent development at Enterprise Holdings Inc., and oversees training and development of the company’s 93,000 employees.