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We Believe in Cross-Training to Build Better Leaders

Oftentimes, the key to a company's stellar performance can be hidden within the organization's current talent pool. 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 Trainee Program at Purina is 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: Accounting, Engineering, IS/IT, Production, Supply Chain, Operations, Human Resources and Quality Assurance. Each Trainee 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, some of our current Manufacturing Executives came out of our Management Trainee program over 30 years ago.

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.

Vice President of HR Commercial Strategy, Christine G., emphasizes the importance of being able to walk in someone else's shoes in order to better understand from another's vantage point.

"The RDP program provides broad cross-functional understanding of our interdependent commercial areas to enable employees to be more prepared to understand the full impact of the decisions they make across the commercial value chain," Christine said. "It's a structured approach to developing future leaders of our business."

Program participant, Marko D., 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.

 

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