Rather than focus on the short-term, focus on keeping employees on-board for the long haul by working with them on their career goals and how you can help them meet those goals. The key is to make employees feel like they belong. Independent Electric Supply (now owned by Sonepar), for example, developed career-track courses for all of its employees. One-on-one meetings were held with employees to assess goals and determine ways to reach those goals while working for the electrical distributor.
“We keep track of their progress and check in with them to make sure they’re still on the path they want to be on,” Independent Electric’s Mike Baker says in the 2011 article, Hiring Lags Despite Return in Business.
Beatty D’Alessandro, the former CFO of electrical distributor Graybar, talked with MDM about Graybar’s approach to training in this interview. Graybar developed its program with Rutgers University. “The program is about a year long, is taught with inside and outside resources, and is case study-driven. … During the program, participants also work on internal consulting projects, which they present to the company's senior management,” D’Alessandro said.
“As officers, we get the opportunity to see managers who generally are mid-career, ready to make the move into high-visibility, high-responsibility roles.”
One industrial distributor in the 2012 Distribution Trends Report article on hiring trends summed up the philosophy behind working with employees with a focus on building a career at your company: “Treat your people right, honor your commitments to them, create opportunities for growth. … If quality outside education and training are not available or sufficient, do it yourself. When we create a good work environment for current employees, they spread the word far better than we can.”