Innovating for Personal Growth
CEO Brad Smith
"It's all about learning, if it accelerates growth."
Intuit has always focused on helping our employees discover their talents and grow their careers. But this year, we upped the ante and declared personal growth and development a companywide priority. With programs ranging from a customized website for human resources employees to Career Power workshops to innovative data jams, employees had a wealth of opportunities to help them take charge of their career path and continue to learn, grow and develop.
Here's a look at some of our more successful development programs - and our employees' reaction to them.
Innovate and Inspire
We encourage all employees to grow their skills, both personally and professionally. Because of this deep-seated commitment, our reputation goes beyond market leader. We're known as a leader in innovation. That's why you'll find exciting development opportunities such as Design for Delight forums, idea jams and unstructured time. These programs all help the company grow and innovate, and provide employees with opportunities in areas such as collaboration, innovative thinking, brainstorming techniques, leadership and presentation skills.
It Starts With Design
Design for Delight forums are the brainchild of our co-founder Scott Cook who usually hosts the sessions. A Silicon Valley icon, Scott brings in the some of the area's most visionary personalities from some of the region's most successful companies, including Eric Ries, author of "The Lean Startup," and Ken Rudin, vice president of analytics and platforms at Zynga. Scott personally invites every employee to attend the sessions, which are also broadcast live and archived on Intuit TV.
The sessions have one common theme: encourage employees to go beyond customer expectations in delivering ease and benefit and evoking positive emotion throughout the customer journey.
Recess? At Work?
Unstructured time almost sounds like recess and in a way, it is. The program gives employees the chance to break free from the routine and devote 10 percent of their time to work on projects they're passionate about. It's a chance to solve new customer problems, learn new skills or innovate to improve the work environment. Typically employees invest four hours a week on their unstructured time project.
"Unstructured time allowed me to work on several projects, which are really interesting and give me the opportunity to build up new skills. Now my unstructured time project is to help others take better advantage of it. By helping the Employment Management Solutions group relaunch unstructured time, I can bring this benefit to my coworkers, improve their experience and hopefully help my business unit create the next big innovative breakthrough."
Mountain View, Calif.
Developing Big Ideas With Data
Intuit's data organization held a companywide data jam, a two-day event focused on tackling the company's most challenging data opportunities and discovering innovative ways to help customers. One hundred employees participated in the event, working all day and into the wee hours to develop and fine-tune their ideas. The next day, each team presented their ideas to a team of judges. The winning teams received prizes ranging from funding to help them develop their ideas to a trip to India to participate in a data jam in Bangalore.
"The Jam was the best! I enjoyed the energy, passion and amazing turnaround of 21 rock-solid ideas converted to reality within a day."
Data Jam Judge and Lead Architect
Mountain View, Calif.
What Happens in Vegas…
When it comes to financial software, most people don't think of fighter pilots and heavy machinery - unless you're a group of Intuit product managers looking to solve customer problems in a creative way. In the fall of 2011, a group of product managers formed to tackle the issue of improving "first use" - industry lingo that describes a customer's first experience when using a new product.
Rather than put themselves in familiar surroundings, the product managers took an unconventional route that led to Las Vegas, where they sat behind the controls of fighter jets, bulldozers and backhoes.
"We didn't want to do the usual thing," says team leader Ralph Matlack. "We wanted to experience the same feelings that our customers feel when faced with something new and overwhelming! The best way to understand how our customers feel when trying out new software was for us to try something new and out of our comfort zone."
Innovating for Newbies
Intuit realizes the value and potential of all our employees, including the youngest of the bunch - our interns and new graduates. We design our development programs to retain engaged employees who want to help the company - and our customers - succeed.
Our Rotational Development Program, established in 2004, and the Finance Rotational Development Program, which began in 2007, are comprehensive 27-month training programs for employees fresh out of college. We provide these freshly minted graduates with training and exposure across key areas in our finance, operations and business unit functions.
Around the Business and Around the Globe
RDP associate Garrett Morimoto gained global exposure and a bird's eye view of Intuit's global operations while spending one of his rotations in Intuit's Bangalore, India office. At the end of the project, he presented the results directly to Intuit's co-founder Scott Cook.
"I love that Intuit truly invests in ensuring its young leaders are well-versed in all aspects of the business. I have a bachelor's degree in economics, but I've been able to go beyond that with RDP. I have already explored four different career paths within social, mobile, global, and platform while working in four cities across the nation and abroad."
Interns: Blending Rookies With Veterans
The Intuit Intern Program gives undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to work with senior leaders across the business. This pairing supports interns' professional development and growth, culminating in a project where they demonstrate their new-found skills.
Then there's the Next Generation Network's Intern Buddy Program, which matches interns with NGN members who are less than five years into their career. The program provides interns with an informal resource to answer questions and help them tap into Intuit's many social networks.
Innovating for Internal Mobility: Making an Impact
We pride ourselves in developing, retaining and rewarding talent. Through May 2012, current employees filled 34 percent of our job openings. Additionally, we filled 48 percent of our director-level and above positions and 44 percent of mid-management positions with internal promotions.
A One-stop Shop to Help Employees
The Intuit Small Business Group communications team partnered with human resources to launch a new website, "SBG Grow Your Career." The site includes job openings, career stories, resources, and an employee chat forum where people can swap ideas about career-related topics. The goal was to create a site that included all the career resources that employees wanted.
"I love the employee forum. It gives employees a chance to interact with their colleagues and share advice on anything and everything career-related. There are many useful resources on this site. Love it!"
Account Data Management Supervisor
Lunch, Listen and Learn
For Employee Management Solutions employees, career advice and the opportunity to spend quality time with a leader over lunch is time well spent. EMS launched its Lunch with Leaders program to give employees face time with a senior leader, grab a bite to eat and learn about career development.
"Lunch with Leaders was a great opportunity to sit down with a leader and get advice in a fun, informal setting. Plus, I really enjoyed hearing from other employees and getting their point of view on career mobility."
Mountain View, Calif.
100 Hours Adds up to Success
The finance department leadership team recently pledged to provide 100 hours of development for its employees, demonstrating its commitment to personal growth. The goal also created a way for employees to increase skills in key areas and build their capability to become strategic advisors to the business. The commitment started right at the top. CFO Neil Williams encouraged his organization to look at development as both learning and teaching, and explained that development comes in many forms, including increased job responsibilities, rotational assignments, and mentoring.
iGrow in HR
Human resources created a team focused solely on personal growth and development within their organization. Called iGrow, this team has its own website, holds regular meetings to brainstorm ideas and share best practices, publishes a monthly newsletter, and seeks continual employee feedback and measures its success. The team posts job shadowing opportunities, development assignments, career tips and learning opportunities on their web page. A monthly talent activity report gives employees quick access to all open jobs and people movement in the organization.
"Through iGrow, I've had exposure to, and fantastic coaching from, people that I normally would not get a chance to work with. That exposure even led to HR senior vice president Sherry Whiteley and CEO Brad Smith asking me to serve on a team that improved the communication and collaboration tools at Intuit."
Fort Worth, Texas
The Next Generation of Leaders
Intuit employees formed the Next Generation Network, or NGN, to promote career mobility and engagement for early career employees. Panels, lunches and Q&As create open and direct conversation with subject experts or senior leaders, while hikes and network dinners foster camaraderie and cross-department learning. As with all Intuit's employee networks, membership for NGN is open to anyone at the company. Being "Next Generation" is a mindset, not an age bracket.