UNFI needed to help its 350 leaders develop a core base of skills. It also needed a standardized selection process to better hire frontline employees who would be a good fit with the job and more likely to remain in the position over time.
To help make leaders more effective, UNFI implemented a curriculum of four courses from DDI’s Interaction Management: Exceptional Leaders . . . Extraordinary Results® (IM: EX®) leadership development system. The courses included Essentials of Leadership, Getting Started as a New Leader, Coaching for Success, and Building an Environment of Trust. Strong support and buy-in of UNFI’s senior leaders helped ensure the success of the training initiative, as did a follow-up process that ensured the skills learned in the courses were applied back on the job. To reinforce and expand on the courses, leaders have access to OPAL®, DDI’s Online Performance and Learning system, a powerful online coaching and job performance tool that provides just-in-time training, resources, and skill refreshers. In addition to improving the effectiveness of its leaders, UNFI created a standardized process for all of its 21 regional distribution centers. Central to the new process was a version of DDI’s Targeted Selection® behavioral interviewing system designed specifically for high-volume hiring situations.
Less than a year after training more than 350 leaders, a stronger infrastructure is in place for UNFI to efficiently manage its ongoing organic growth and apply effective leadership development strategies. Managers at all of the company’s 21 regional distribution centers are now employing Targeted Selection® to more selectively target potential long-term employees for entry-level warehouse jobs. In addition, the leadership development and hiring initiatives are interconnected, as a combination of more effective leaders and a better hiring process is needed for long-term hiring success.