They offer management trainee positions to some of the new graduates who want to be managers as quickly as possible. These are generally hourly positions with little management authority, but with a clear progression to management positions if training is completed, performance is good, and management openings occur.
We purposely do not have a position titled management trainee in our stores. Instead, we have 16 positions leading to management with titles like Grocery Team Leader and Customer Service Team Leader. Most of these positions lead directly to entry level management positions. Like management trainee positions at other retailers, they are hourly positions with a clear progression to management if training is completed, performance is good, and management openings occur.
There are several advantages to our job structure, both for our associates and for the company.
- Our career paths provide management preparation for a large number of associates, not just one or two in each store since there are numerous associates in each of the 16 positions leading to management. This assures the company of a rich pool of potential managers, vital to our growth since we continue to open dozens of new stores each year (even in a recession).
- Our promote-from-within culture has inspired many associates who came to us for a short-term job to stay with us a for a career because they couldn’t pass up the many opportunities to advance. This is particularly true because Publix pays above-average salaries for store management positions (an average of $44,991 for assistant department managers, $65,561 for department managers, $82,102 for assistant store managers and $112,911 for store managers).
- Our promote-from-within culture benefits the company because it ensures that the many practices responsible for our success will be preserved.
College students don’t seem to mind the difference in how we title our management trainee positions, but they do wonder if companies that have an official fast track training program will promote them more quickly than we will. I tell them that associates become eligible for promotion within just six months of being in a position leading to management. Our promotion process allows them to submit their name for consideration at any time during the year. And as long as we keep growing, we will continue to need about 3,000 new managers a year.
I remind them, too, that as important as speed may be to them, obtaining exemplary training in a company that has never experienced a layoff in its 82-year history may also be a factor worth considering.