Learning & Development

Training Program Drives Promote-From-Within Philosophy at Car Rental Company

Employers that take a comprehensive view of training see it not only as a means to improve employee performance but also as an effective recruiting and retention tool.


Take Enterprise Holdings Inc., which describes itself as “the largest car rental company in the world as measured by revenue, fleet, and employees.” Enterprise provides learning opportunities to new hires; invests in ongoing, award-winning workforce development programs; and offers promotion and internal career mobility opportunities. The company says its founding values foster professional development and a “strong promote-from-within philosophy.”

Enterprise Holdings operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, and Alamo Rent A Car brands globally through a network of regional subsidiaries and independent franchises. The company credits its Enterprise Rent-A-Car Management Training program with being “a major driver” of its promote-from-within culture and in being “consistently successful in developing new hires into the next generation of business leaders.”

The program features hands-on experience that helps participants learn the ins and outs of running a business; how to empower teams; and how to deliver top-notch, in-person customer service. Participants also have an opportunity to sharpen their business skills through training in profit and loss management, business-to-business marketing and sales, and operational logistics.

At Enterprise Holdings, managers are held accountable for employee retention and development.

“The company takes employee development very seriously, basing promotions in large part on managers’ ability to retain and develop their employees. Enterprise Holdings employs a philosophy of learning that focuses on job shadowing and active learning. Managers play a crucial role in the process, providing on-the-job support that is critical to the company’s success in building a strong bench of leaders,” the company states.

Enterprise Holdings says its Management Training program is a key reason that close to 15,000 Enterprise Holdings employees were promoted in 2015 and why the company won several workplace training and development awards in 2016.

The awards include being named a BEST Award winner by the Association for Talent and Development (ATD), a gold LearningElite organization by Chief Learning Officer magazine, and a Training Top 125 recipient by Training magazine. “While we set high expectations for new hires, we also make sure they are supervised by and learning from the best. This culture of learning is what really sets Enterprise apart from other employers,” said Steve McCarty, vice president of talent development at Enterprise Holdings.

McCarty added, “Our dedication to training and coaching is a fundamental part of Enterprise Holdings’ culture, and it remains instrumental to our long-term success.”

No matter the size of your company, there are important lessons you can glean from Enterprise Holdings’ success with its workforce development strategy. First, recognize that your organization’s investment in training can affect not only employees’ individual performance but also your recruiting and retention efforts, employee morale, productivity, and bottom line.

Second, create a culture where learning is valued—and promote that culture as part of your branding efforts. Top talent looks for employers that are willing to invest in their workforce.

Third, in addition to offering formal training programs, look for ways to leverage informal learning—through lunch-and-learns, mentoring, and social networking, for example.

Fourth, hold managers and supervisors accountable for keeping up on their own training, supporting employees’ development, and ensuring employees (and the managers and supervisors themselves) put the skills that they learned into practice on the job.