Enterprise Rent-A-Car is driving rings around its competition these days in large part because it has embraced the crucial importance of employee engagement.
"It's central to us," said Steve McCarty, vice president of training and talent development for St. Louis-based Enterprise, in an interview with Inward Strategic Consulting.
"Focusing on employee development and promoting from within drives profit. And we have an engagement culture to make sure that happens."
In fact, the strength of its engagement culture has been one of the primary factors that has allowed Enterprise to rise in market share and consumer esteem compared with some of the traditional heavyweights in the market.
A main reason for this, McCarty said, is that "there is a strong correlation between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. Enterprise is very well known for both and fortunate to have a culture that drives both."
Enterprise strives for "completely satisfied" customers, not merely "somewhat satisfied" ones, he said, "and are employees are more engaged when they deliver those service levels."
McCarty said this fortunate fusion between employee and customer satisfaction is depicted in Enterprise's marketing, such as its TV ads "featuring the wonderful quality of our men and women as part of our consumer brand and our employee brand."
The appeal of Enterprise as a workplace and a company that encourages career growth has helped make it especially popular among a target constituency for its recruiting efforts: new and recent college graduates.
"The word of mouth about us on college campuses has hit a bit of a tipping point," McCarty said.
And given the difficult job market lately for newly minted graduates, that means Enterprise is getting to scoop up some very strong talents.
Yet, McCarty noted, the fact that Enterprise has been building such a strong corps of young managers also "keeps us honest, because our top talents could get jobs elsewhere. So we have to be constantly vigilant."
"Part of our appeal is that we put customers and employees first, and people can stay the course and invest in their careers at Enterprise. Our stability combined with our growth prospects and our employee focus really stand out today."