Cornering the Market on Talent

 -  8/7/10

Retail brokerage firm Scottrade emerged from the recession relatively unscathed thanks to a commitment to lean teams and internal development.

Retail brokerage firm Scottrade emerged from the recession relatively unscathed thanks to a commitment to lean teams and internal development.

Scottrade is remarkably lean as brokerage firms go, with just three to five people working in each of its 450-plus branches nationwide — 3,200 employees total — and plans to reach its 500th branch this year. As such, its talent management strategy must be targeted, fast-paced and able to easily reach its widely distributed and growing workforce.

When the company was founded 30 years ago, however, it had no talent management strategy whatsoever, and this remained the case for the first 18 years of its existence.

“We started as a small company; I actually was about the fourth employee here,” said Jane Wulf, Scottrade’s chief administrative officer, who is responsible for its HR, training, branch development and national service center. “We had no training department — people would sit with someone and learn that job — and as we evolved, we had to grow a training department. It’s only about 12 years old currently.”

Wulf spoke with Talent Management magazine about how Scottrade’s approach has taken shape.

TM: Describe Scottrade’s approach to talent management.

Wulf: We are a growing organization and have had to find ways to grow our talent from within. So we have created a set of core values, one of which is individual development, and drive [that] throughout the organization so that we can grow the talent that we need as we’re growing the firm.

TM: What processes or programs have you established to improve the performance of Scottrade’s entire workforce?

Wulf: It’s continuing to grow. Today we have well-established programs that provide training at all levels of the organization. We start with on-boarding, teaching the new associates about our culture, our beliefs in development, and how they can grow and be promoted here within the organization, and then they start to learn immediately. They’re assigned classes right after they finish their on-boarding to start learning all about the industry as well as Scottrade. And their learning continues for the rest of their tenure here at the organization.

Article Keywords:   mentoring   metrics   technology  


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