An organizations best asset, and competitive advantage, is its’ people. By investing in the resources to cross-train your current workforce, you're immersing your employees in opportunities that will offer them diverse experiences for learning and growth. And in turn, your business will flourish.
Our Management Development Associate roles at Purina are a perfect example of this. We hire talented graduating college seniors and recent graduates into a development program that exposes them to each of the critical functional areas within our factory environment: Manufacturing Excellence, Safety, Accounting, Engineering, IS/IT, Production, Supply Chain, Operations, Human Resources, and Quality Assurance. Each associate becomes well-versed within each of these areas prior to becoming the subject matter expert within their respective discipline. The program ultimately 'grooms' these individuals to be the next generation of leaders on the manufacturing side of our business. In fact, many of our current Manufacturing Executives came out of our Management Development program.
We've quickly learned, as a company, that our best talent spawns from diverse experiences across various discipline areas. This talent develops enriched, department-specific knowledge in conjunction with firsthand experience with other departments, people and situations that contribute to their overall expertise of the Purina business. We recognize the need to continuously train, coach and develop our associates so they can bring their best to work every day. So, we're acting on this need in unique ways.
We developed a Rotational Development Program (RDP) for our Branded Marketing, Marketing Development Organization (MDO) and Sales groups. Program participants spend one year in each of these areas outside of their "home" department. These individuals can expect a high-level opportunity to showcase contributions, exposure to other departments, accelerated learning and development.
Program participant, Marko, also sums up the program nicely:
"I would say that it really helps one develop versatility to increase your impact. Versatility is considered to be the toughest part of being a leader and it's in short supply."
Although we're already known for offering cross-functional opportunities within our work each day, Purina is excited to take it a step further by implementing programs like this one—leveraging our current workforce to maximize individual career opportunities and overall company success.