Attracting talent is just the start. At TJX, we believe it is our responsibility to train and mentor our Associates for long-term success. From the top down, our senior leaders consider career development and teaching an absolute priority.
Our training happens throughout the organization in a variety of settings, including in our stores, distribution centers, and corporate offices. No matter the location, a vital part of this training is open communication and relationship-building among our Associates. This, coupled with our core values of respect, honesty, integrity, and fairness, guides our efforts.
We are particularly proud of our global merchant training programs, which we believe are some of the best and most respected in the retail industry. Our programs are designed to support Associates interested in pursuing careers as merchants and develop them as future leaders in our off-price retail business. Training begins with education in the principles of planning and allocation and an introduction to off-price retailing. Most merchandising Associates begin their TJX careers in an allocation position. From there, we continue to invest in an Associate’s training and development and create opportunities for structured career progression into merchandising, buying, and potentially, management.
At TJX University, we offer merchandising Associates advanced learning opportunities through specialized training, significant one-on-one coaching, and field exercises to both further their development and prepare them for the next step in their careers. The coaching and field exercises often take place in our own stores, as well as in the competitive marketplace. The University teaches a consistent approach to the off-price business model, teamwork, and culture that have been a critical part of our success.
For some of the buyers identified as having potential to rise to a leadership level, we conduct a specialized six-month learning experience. It brings together merchants from across our global divisions to get exposure to the critical merchant and leadership skills necessary for success. Focus is on understanding the role; integrating strategic, business, and critical relationship skills; and building a diverse, global leadership perspective.
In 2017, we hired over 300 Associates into the U.S., Canadian, and European buyer and planning and allocation training programs.
Along with our merchant training programs, we have many other talent development opportunities in our global corporate headquarters, regional Home Offices, stores, and distribution centers aimed at developing Associates’ potential to enjoy long, fulfilling careers at TJX. We offer a global and consistent leadership development curriculum that is directly aligned with the TJX Leadership Competencies and Cultural Factors. We are proud of two programs in particular, Leaders Developing Leaders and the TJX Graduate Programme.
Leaders Developing Leaders is designed to accelerate leadership readiness among our high potential leaders. The program offers a variety of opportunities, including gaining exposure to different leaders and business units, and receiving feedback on leadership style. The individual also participates on a team, researching and addressing a business issue or opportunity. The team develops and presents a strategic plan to senior management, working collaboratively with other managers from a broad range of functions and geographies. Participants learn how to navigate the organization through the development of their problem-solving and strategic planning skills, while deepening their understanding of the business and themselves as leaders.
Since 2012, close to half of the 140 Leaders Developing Leaders participants who have completed the program have been promoted. Many of the project recommendations that come out of the program are implemented in some capacity, including, for example, the layout of lighting fixtures for sale in the new Homesense U.S. stores, which is a replica of what was proposed by the Leaders Developing Leaders team.
Similarly, the TJX Graduate Programme in Europe helps broaden Associates’ understanding of our business and prepares them for future leadership opportunities in the areas of Finance, Merchandising and Buying, Loss Prevention, and Logistics. In addition, the Leader in Me program is designed to help develop high-potential Associates early in their careers and prepare them for more senior roles in the future. During each nine-month session, which runs three times a year, Associates from all functions learn more about themselves as leaders, as well as how to use these leadership skills in their current roles and for future opportunities.
Of the 140 Leaders Developing Leaders participants who have completed the program to date, nearly half have been promoted.