The sprouts program was initially the one that was being used as training and recruiting program at Arrow Electronics. The sprouts program was introduced in the organization to drastically change the work force – hire college graduates. The entire point was to make sure that the then hired employees would move into the upper management level soon and influence the culture of the organization. A couple of years after the program had been implemented, the staff and the upper level managers realized some flaws in the program and decided to develop a fresh, newly based program that would help the organization use their human resources to the best of their capabilities. Hence this gave rise to the Pathways Program. The main difference between the two is that pathways program sales force development program and not a sales management program. In the sprouts program, employees when newly hired used to be trained by others and would end up exceeding them in the hierarchy after the training period would end. The upper management level decided that this should not be the case anymore. The sprouts program was introduced with a concept to ‘upgrade the professionalism the existing workforce’ as quoted by one of the top management level employee.
In the pathways program, hiring was a big problem. While the staff interviewed people with not a lot of industrial knowledge, the decision of who to pick was termed as one of their biggest challenges by one of the interviewers on the panel. As soon as the people were selected, the training of the entire batch would start. This training would include the staff to tell the newly hired about the culture, history and basic functioning of the company. But there was not a lot of attention being paid to the sales skills that they possessed. In this recruiting process, after the initial training the people were allowed to work for the inside sales of the company, soon promoted as a full time salesperson and then a GM. All this would take place before they worked at executive levels or even regional for that matter. This was entirely done to train them in real organizational settings. After this training would end, they were sent for an on-the-job training for further enhancement of their skills. The sprouts program offered a rigorous training for the newly hired employees. In case of the sprouts program, the people being hired were college graduates but the training given to them was highly essential for them to understand the customer strategies, how to sell their services and the company’s product. In the training program they were taught the basic sales skills. But the training of the existing employees was near to impossible. Hence only the newly hired were trained so that the clean slate full of knowledge but zero experience could be shown the real sales world. Like in the pathways program, personnel who were hired under the sprouts program were also given a week’s training focused on culture and history of the organization. Soon they were sent to warehouses of the company to work in various regions, followed by six-month on-the-job training. The worst problem in the training under the sprouts program was that the training result of various regions differed. Employees were said to be either disinterested or the people who were responsible to train them were not willing to do so either.
As far as the compensation is concerned, in the pathways program there were three main compensation packages. Firstly the base salary, this was for the ones who were recruited and worked in the company. According to the sales performance and completion of tasks given to the employees they were given an incentive bonus. Lastly the special bonus plan was also based on the extent to which the sales objectives and targets met. But in the sprouts program there was a fixed salary that was given to all the college graduates during the first year. And the salary would increase gradually with experience in the company.
But the company soon realized that not a lot of employees were staying in the company with the pathways program. Some people switched due to the higher pay being offered at other companies in the same industry while some switched because of the so-called fickle effect. The pathways program was hoped to be more successful than the sprouts program, but unfortunately they were unable to retain their employees during the initial launch of the new program. In the sprouts program as well, the people started to leave once their training ended and they started working. Most of them claimed to have been leaving for a better salary. The upper level management tried their level best with the sprouts program as well to retain employees but in time, they ended up losing all of their best human resource to their competitors. The sprouts program allowed the employees to reach the upper level management level faster and hence the employees focused more on status and promotions rather than career advancements and attainment of objectives. (Mathis, 2007)
In my opinion, there should be a program introduced which includes college graduates being interviewed for training. College education is highly essential as it is the place where people learn about the theoretical part of the work place after which rigorous training is essential as people learn through practical experience. This practical experience would allow them to excel in their work and have a better know-how of the organization. On-the-job-training is a must. After the training, the real tasks should be given to the employees. Team work and interdependence should be the motto of the work tasks. But the compensations should be awarded on the basis of individual efforts. The better the people perform, the higher their salary should be. This would keep them motivated to work and complete tasks on time. This should definitely reduce the turn over rate of the employees. However the employees should not be allowed to move up the hierarchy in short periods of time that distracts them from career advancements. Instead the vertical movement of employees in the hierarchy should be on the basis of seniority. (Mathis, 2007) (Fitz-enz, 2001)
Mathis, R. (2007). Human Resource Management.
Fitz-enz , J. (2001). How to Measure Human Resource Management.
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