Personal and Professional Growth:
The Meeting of Opportunity and Respect
At Intuit, learning and development isn’t a series of events, but a part of our everyday culture and our talent management philosophy. We encourage employees to “Bring your whole self to work.” We recognize that personal and professional growth go hand-in-glove and make broad efforts to encourage both.
Whether you’re a college student, new to the work force or a seasoned professional, Intuit offers programs in a variety of formats including on-demand, online, face-to-face coaching and even traditional classroom style workshops.
The journey begins by hiring, developing and retaining great employees. Once they’re on board, we give employees at all levels the support and resources they need to grow – to become the best they can be. Internships for college students. Rotational development opportunities for recent grads. Leadership development opportunities for supervisors and high-potential managers. Problem-solving assignments for senior leaders. And an annual leadership conference for directors and vice presidents to make sure everyone’s on the same page and can share their knowledge with their teams.
We also have candid discussions during regular performance review meetings, a time when employees are encouraged to share their aspirations and when coaches guide them toward those goals.
UPDATE Growing Your Career: Movin’ on Up
We pride ourselves in developing, retaining and rewarding talent. Our philosophy on career growth is simple. Move people across the hall, not across the street.
Through May of this year, current employees filled one-third of our job openings. Additionally, we filled 21 percent of our director-level and above positions and 18 percent of mid-management positions with internal promotions. Brad Smith was promoted to CEO after five years at Intuit.
Here’s a look at some of our more successful development programs – and our employees’ reaction to them.
The Intuit Intern Program gives undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to work at or slightly above their current skill level. Interns are part of an established program with committed resources, and supported by a supervisor or mentor to help them with their professional development and growth. Our interns are exposed to senior leaders, work with various departments and disciplines, and are assigned a "start-to-finish" project to demonstrate what they have learned.
In 2008, about 72 percent of our interns who received job offers accepted permanent positions at Intuit.
Our Rotational Development Program, now approaching its fifth year, and the new Finance Rotational Development Program, put approximately 20 highly qualified college graduates to the test in a 27-month training program, exposing them to all parts of our Small Business Division and the finance and operations organization. Associates develop their potential to be future leaders and rotate across key business functions and locations to gain a deep knowledge of our customers, products and internal processes.
“I have been simply floored by the investment Intuit is making in us and this program. I get to learn what I like, what I don’t like, what I’m good at, and where I have opportunities to learn more. “The exposure we have to top leaders in the company speaks to the Intuit philosophy of having management’s primary commitment to develop others. And when Imeet with these leaders, I can tell they’re not there because they have to be, but because they’re genuinely interested in listening to what I have to say and sharing their wisdom with me.”
Finance Rotational Development Program participant
Mountain View, Calif.
Rotational programs aren’t limited to tomorrow’s business leaders. Two directors in our payroll business, for example, exchanged jobs for several weeks to learn each other’s business, best practices and new working relationships they can apply in their home territory. This has become a stepping stone for other rotations which have taken off in our innovation and technology groups.
Leading@Intuit is designed to develop people managers to be both leaders and teachers who continually learn, teach and learn. We believe that managers should spend 50 percent of their time developing the team’s talent; teaching our leaders to be better leaders is a priority for Intuit.
Fast Path consists of two, four-day programs designed to speed the development of Intuit’s high-potential leaders. Taught by senior leaders, the program gives participants feedback on their leadership styles and helps them create a personal development plan. It also supports Intuit’s long-term leader bench strength.
iKnow is an online tool that allows employees to create a talent profile that showcases their skills, qualifications and aspirations in one place. Then managers can find talent they need for a project based on the profiles.
The Action Learning Program, offered when business needs warrant, helps directors and vice presidents develop their skills by working on high-priority projects identified by the CEO and his executive staff. Participants work in teams and spend about 20 percent of their time over six months working on projects while honing their own leadership skills. A specialized version of this program is available for those who have previously participated in Fast Path.
UPDATE As of press time, we also have two new programs set to launch later this summer. Our Director’s College will create a long-term learning opportunity for all directors at the company. And a Foundations of Leadership program is designed for employees who are new to people management.
Senior leaders from across the company converge for a two-day Officer’s Meeting to ensure they understand our strategy, direction and priorities and then share that information with their teams. They also share knowledge, get to know each other better and celebrate success.
The Intuit Learning Network creates a culture of learning by providing more than 40,000 instructional sessions to employees in the past year. It includes almost 1,000 individual courses, ranging from product and leadership development to information technology. About one-quarter of these classes take place in the traditional classroom setting, while three-quarters are delivered on-demand to the desktop.
A Focus on Growth and Innovation
UPDATE When Brad Smith took over as CEO, he introduced six new mindsets he wanted all employees to adopt. Among these: “It’s all about learning … if it accelerates growth.” Brad is also committed to making Intuit known as one of the leaders in innovation.
Following his direction, we created new development opportunities. Across the company you can find Idea Jams, Design for Delight forums and Unstructured Time, all aimed at helping the company grow and innovate, and providing employees with opportunities to in areas like collaboration, innovative thinking, brainstorming techniques, leadership and presentation skills.
Design for Delight forums are the brainchild of co-founder Scott Cook, who remains very active in the area of innovation at Intuit and usually hosts the forums. These sessions encourage employees to go beyond customer expectations in delivering ease and benefit, “evoking positive emotion throughout the customer journey so folks buy more and tell their friends.”
Guest speakers from outside the company – professors, entrepreneurs and experts from other Silicon Valley firms – speak at the forums, which usually last about two hours. They often include some a hands-on activity. Anyone can attend via Intuit TV, and we archive the sessions for later viewing.
Unstructured Time gives, employees the option to devote 10 percent of their time to work on projects they’re passionate about, whether solving new customer problems, learning new skills or innovating to improve the work environment. Typically employees invest four hours a week on their unstructured time project.
Intuit's Idea Jams are an offshoot of Unstructured Time. They evolved after employees in product development wanted to gather passionate people in a room and harnessing their energy on innovation for a day. The idea began in our Small Business Group and has expanded beyond product development to all areas of the business.
An Idea Jam has simple rules. Form Come up with an idea as a team or single act. You can either prepare your idea ahead of time and explain it in a presentation or work on it at the event as a “one day sprint.” (This is a nod to adrenaline junkies or people who haven't already started a project during their Unstructured Time.) At the end of the Idea Jam, a panel of executive judges determines the winners.
In less than two years we’ve had more than 1,500 ideas, and 22 new ideas are now “released and learning” in market. You’ll find many of these ideas on our Intuit Labs Web site.
Here’s how one participant described his Idea Jam experience.
“This was my first opportunity to spend an entire day working on an idea from start to finish, presenting it to leadership and a host of other leaders and peers, and actually winning one of the awards at the end of the day. What an exciting opportunity, that left a lasting impression on me. “I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I just got paid to be creative outside of my regular job.’ It was also really cool to have our CEO and several other executives show support by judging the contest and listening to every idea that was presented. It’s a definite sign of commitment to all three stakeholders by listening to employees describe how they can solve for our customers and stakeholders through innovative ideas developed in a day.”
Mountain View, Calif.