Development of associates

Growth opportunity is the greatest motivator of performance. How do we support our associates’ personal and professional development so they can achieve their full potential?

Why does it matter?

The professional and personal development of associates is crucial for the growth and prosperity of any business. Capable, qualified and supported associates help build a company’s competitive advantage.

What we are doing

We have always aimed to be a great place to work, fostering curiosity and initiative, for all our associates – who now number 369,000 around the world. To ensure Associate Development continues to receive the attention it deserves, we have made it a separate HR focus area. How will this help? For two reasons:

Our customers’ experience while shopping with us is directly related to how our people feel. Simply put, engaged, inspired and fulfilled associates enable a more positive customer experience. At the same time, offering a culture of learning and personal development will make us top of mind with young potentials.

We want associates to love what they do. To achieve that goal, we are making a major shift in how we measure performance, with more conversation and less administration.

More than ever, we will start from each person’s own aspirations: what is important to them, how can they develop and grow, and what career paths can they take.

Three key catalysts will help us get there:

  • A new leadership model that inspires and supports managers of all levels to lead by example, emphasizing five qualities:
    • Purpose
    • People
    • Performance
    • Change
    • Growth
  • Enhanced capabilities in, for example, IT, innovation, digital and sourcing negotiation skills
  • New associate learning programs that will focus more on future growth, and less on past performance.

For more details please see our reporting page.

Our focus

We rethought our performance management programs across the organization, and are prioritizing a learning matrix that empowers associates to direct and manage their own learning. We created a five-year matrix, which will roll out during 2017.

A maturity study revealed that we have many best practices throughout our brands that we can build on, to avoid ‘reinventing the wheel’. Dedicated learning managers will identify existing best practices, and inspire people across brands to build on them.

Development of associates in practice

Read below how our brands are helping associates develop a clear sense of purpose, so they can love what they do and contribute to our long-term company success.