At the time, the posting system, known as Inside Track only was available to the company's 5,000 Chicago-area employees. Because it was so successful in relocating those affected by the restructuring, however, human resources managers began to wonder if Inside Track might help with career moves for employees who weren't being displaced.
Believing that employees and the company have a joint responsibility for career development, in August 1992 Household made Inside Track available to all 14,500 employees at 450 offices around the country. Now, by using their personal computers, every employee can access the company's open positions, up to the level of assistant vice president.
According to Beth Derman, manager of corporate programs, having a nationwide system sends the following messages to employees: That the company is serious about career development and that opportunities aren't limited based on location, division or job experience. "If you're in accounting, you can go into marketing," Derman says. "If you're in HR, you can go into sales." The goal is to empower people to take charge of their own careers.
Because Household International strongly believes managers have a responsibility when it comes to career development, the company offers them an incentive to refer employees to Inside Track. For every employee who's placed in a position identified through Inside Track, the manager receives one share of stock. The incentive program recognizes managers who head departments that have a lot of turnover or who have a high percentage of entry-level employees. With the incentive, Household hopes to counter any resistance managers might have in encouraging employees to move on.
Inside Track is supported by other career-development tools, such as career counseling, cross-training opportunities within individual business units, tuition reimbursement, management training and a skills bank, which is a computerized database with up-to-date information on employee skills, education and experience.
Whereas Inside Track helps employees find job opportunities, the skills bank helps managers recruit qualified employees for open positions.
If the success of Inside Track can be demonstrated by the number of people who have relocated to new jobs in the company, then the program is working. Last year, 932 employees obtained new jobs through the online system.
In the long run, Derman adds, Household is better off with highly motivated people who know that if they do a good job they can move on. Inside Track is a way to get motivated people into positions in which they're challenged and effective.
Personnel Journal, April 1994, Vol.73, No. 4, p. 64J.