For every business organisation, success depends on the ability of its employees to perform at the highest level. Business analysts state three main reasons to improve employee efficiency; training, motivation and job satisfaction. Out of the three, training is perhaps the most important factor that leads to employee efficiency. Admittedly, motivation and job satisfaction are major factors and cannot be ignored.
However, training provides a more tangible element in the sense that on a practical level, it is easier to identify the link between training and efficiency. Simply put, the more trained you are, the better your skills become, hence improving your efficiency as an employee.
So how important is employee training at Nestle?
Many organisations today invest heavily in employee training and one such organisation is Nestlé. Their trainee programs are quite extensive and can span years. For example, a new international marketing and sales trainee, after being selected by the organisation, can enjoy the benefits of considerable investment in their training and development by Nestlé.
The international marketing and sales trainee program starts with a 2-4 month orientation at Nestlé’s international headquarters in Vevey, in order to give a clear understanding of the role of the headquarters, and the way it works with local Nestlé markets. It also introduces specific product categories that provide the basis of each new employee’s assignment. During these first few months each employee is given the opportunity to network with as many people as they can and highlight them as important contacts for future reference.
Once this familiarisation phase is over, the trainee is ready to embark on the training period. Nestlé will even send trainees abroad to start their training for a global, expatriate career. This is when the fast-paced training program really gets under way. The intensive training program is designed to help the new employee get to know all the various departments that will contribute to their success and that of the company.
During training, the Trainees work in close collaboration with an experienced Manager who facilitates their learning in many key areas such as:
- Marketing Strategy – incorporating elements such as brand positioning and communications, and also designing business plans built to support the long-term strategic vision for different brands.
- Setting Objectives – how to determine targets for factors like distribution, profitability, market share, volume, and brand awareness.
- Production – learning about product profiles, renovation and innovation; how the R&D network and Nestlé Product Technology Centres function in the context of the organisation.
- Communications – sponsorship, advertising, preparing briefs, consumer promotions and working with Nestlé Communication Partners.
- Market and Environment Analysis – price point elasticity analysis, competitors, consumer/shopper research and insights, and various market studies and methods.
This initial training program is comprehensive and covers all of the different channels used by the company, and gives a complete overview of the activities of the firm. It also includes several months work as a representative of the department – to experience how the job functions, how to interact with trade customers, and how to be an integral part of the team.
During this phase of the training, the trainee can perform job functions such as:
- Administration – organising the workforce, trade spend and incentives.
- Trade marketing – point of sales activity as well as broader sales channel strategy
- Regional sales – the practical application of sales in the area the trainee might be assigned later
- Category management – understanding categories and tools.
- Key account management – learning about key accounts and the importance of key customers, including retail chains and wholesalers.
The depth and breadth of this training represents a considerable investment by Nestlé in their employees, but also indicates that the organisation believes such an investment will pay off in the long term. While such an intensive program might not be practical for many smaller organisations with less resources, this is still a prime example of the importance and value placed on high quality employee training by large and successful companies such as Nestlé.
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