Discount Tire is a company that definitely cares for its workers. They have over 24,000 employees, but they cultivate and care for each and every one of them. And those aren’t just buzzwords. Discount Tire invests in their employees through the Discount Tire University, or DTU. This helps their employees achieve their career goals. But there are other ways they invest in their future. Discount Tires has several training academies for employees to work in.
A few years ago, one of their stores noticed that new hires had gaps in their knowledge. After consulting with some of the veterans, a more hands-on approach was created to assist those who were new. The news spread quickly between stores, and was soon noticed by corporate. Seeing the positive results, management set out to re-create the original store’s success, and to make sure all new hires also got the training they not only needed, but deserved.
Al Hatfield, the assistant vice president of Discount Tire, says this about the training academies: “Our training academies are a by-product of our focus on our employees and our customers. At the academy, we train our employees on company best practices and critical safety procedures. Most important, we instill confidence in them before they start their new position so that they can provide a world class customer experience.”
The different training academies are there for the employees, to make sure they can train and apply the best safety practices, both for the employees working and the customers driving. But these aren’t just regular classes, oh no. The academy is run in a way to make learning memorable and fun, to make sure employees are fully engaged with both the instructors and the course material. Graduation isn’t just the end goal either. Discount Tires wants to make sure employees reach their full potential, which will often take them further than when they originally applied.
The store leaders are the academy coaches as well, and their job is to keep “graduates” focused on their goals within the company, interacting as often as possible. When this works, the employees feel empowered to speak, and listening to them makes Discount Tires better than ever. The feedback introduces an ongoing return on investment that constantly improves the academy training to what it is today.
All of this may not sound like much, but the training academy brings lots and lots of both short-term and long-term value to Discount Tire. One short term bonus is the ease of recruitment, and one long term bonus is the retention rate. Recently, a few of the academy graduates were asked about their training. Many of their replies were all about how they wanted to achieve their dreams, and now they could with the training they had gone through.
What this says about the training academy is simple. The training works! New employees understand their role, become more loyal to the company’s long-term vision, and are excited to work on their new careers. One recent graduate said ,”I really like the family aspect here and that the teachers help keep us focused.
I feel I’m more prepared to work in the store now.” This kind of praise shows the commitment form the highest levels in the company, who are willing to invest financially to get training and education right. And it pays off well. The employees who have gone through training academies are more invested in not only improving themselves, but improving the company as well. Discount Tire knows one undeniable truth: their employees are their foundation, and with a strong enough foundation, the company will thrive.