When Jordan Colletta joined UPS in 1975, fresh out of school and newly married, he wasn't thinking about building a career. He just wanted some security. Now not only is he still a faithful UPS employee, but the former tracking clerk has come a long wayhe's vice president of the shipper's e-commerce sales team. His advancement in the company was steady, the result of careful planning though UPS's career-development program. By putting resources into such programs and helping reps set goals and develop skills, businesses can allow employees to grow within their organizations and reduce turnover rates in the process, as UPS has found: Its turnover rate among full time managers in 4 percent.
Developing salespeople starts with a clear mission. At UPS, employees meet annually with managers to identify their strengths and decide what skills they need for a new job within the company. " We lay the foundation for future development and map out immediate, midterm, and future goals," Colletta says. " When I was a tracing clerk, I told my supervisor that my goal was to became a district sales manager. I then became a driver, then a salesperson, and in 1986 I reached my goal."
Career development entails implementing training programs and Internet career centers that can help companies grow their staffs. Employees take courses in order to acquire the pedigree that will make them candidates for management positions. But learning isn't just in the classroom. Mentoring programs in which managers coach lower-level employees are also valuable. "Mentors are especially important," Colletta says. "They help you understand the opportunities that are out there. They helped me see what I couldn't because I couldn't look that far ahead yet."
Progress must be routinely monitored. Employee reviews and 360-degree reports are good ways to track improvement. So is a manager's involvement. "Have an open door policy to keep the communication lines open," he says.
Finally, when it...
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