Enterprise Rent-a-Car: At a Place Where Everyone Starts at the Bottom,  Anyone Can Get to the Top Enterprise Rent-a-Car: At a Place Where Everyone Starts at the Bottom,  Anyone Can Get to the Top

Enterprise Holdings Vice President and General Manager Kevin Moore stands before nearly 100 colleagues at his company’s St. Louis headquarters. His audience is 90 rising stars from across the company who are there for the company’s Minority Leadership Forum. But the audience also includes Enterprise Executive Chairman Andy Taylor (the family-owned $20B company’s second-generation leader), CEO and President Pam Nicholson, Chief Operating Officer Chrissy Taylor (Andy’s daughter), and other top officers. And their participation isn’t ceremonial here. The company’s leadership participates all day, each day of the Forums.

The high-potential employees in the audience listen intently to Moore’s story. He grew up in Sacramento … was first in his family to go to college … joined Enterprise’s renowned management training program in Long Beach. He tells them how he met his wife, Martha, as an Enterprise Rent-A-Car branch manager, how he moved to St. Louis for a corporate position, then on to Detroit for his first VP-level position. That led to his first international position in Ontario, Canada, before he secured his current role as General Manager of the Tampa region, one of the company’s largest tourist markets.

It’s a story the future executives in the audience can relate to, because they’ve seen it happen before. Moore is just one of the success stories that’s come out of the fledgling diversity team Enterprise launched in 1995 – a group that included Moore, Nicholson and many other senior leaders. The initiatives Kevin and the team created laid the groundwork for the company’s current diversity programs. And, as the ranks of diverse leaders have grown, so has the company. When Kevin started, Enterprise had around 200 locations and $250 million in annual revenue.
Today, it’s the largest car rental company in the world, with 9,600 locations, 97,000 employees and $20.9 billion in annual revenue.

One key to that growth, as Moore tells his team, is that “this is really an employee development company.Yes, we are really, really good at renting cars and managing fleets but, employee development is the best thing that we do.”

What began as a Corporate Diversity Team in 1995 blossomed over time into more than 100 Local Diversity Teams throughout the company. Diversity training begins with new hire orientation and is reinforced at the management level and beyond, focusing heavily on recruiting, retaining and advancing diverse talent. To enhance engagement and interaction with senior staff, the company also beefed up its existing mentoring program.

Today, Enterprise is an industry leader in diversity. More than 50 percent of all new full- and part-time hires are minorities, and 84 percent of new hires are minorities or women. Overall, minorities and women make up 62 percent of the company’s managers.

That’s no small feat when you consider Enterprise’s promote-from-within culture. Above entry-level, nearly all open positions are filled by internal candidates. Ninety-eight percent of the company’s top executives started, just as Moore did, in the management training program.

“This is a company that believes in starting everyone at the bottom and nurturing them to their full potential,” says Moore.“We’ve formalized our diversity program in many ways, but what’s been critical to our success is that this effort was initiated – and is still supported – at the top.”

Beyond its internal efforts, the company partners with national organizations that advocate on behalf of minorities and women, including the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce and the National Urban League.

In spite of all this progress, Moore admits that the team’s work is not done. Through these national partnerships – and the company’s local initiatives – Enterprise keeps striving every day to live up to its founding values, which include: We work hard … and we reward hard work. We strengthen our communities, one neighborhood at a time, and … Our doors are open.

“I give this advice to anyone who asks me,” says Moore,“get yourself prepared, because you never know when an opportunity is going to present itself.”

Through Enterprise’s Management Training Program, the opportunity is there. And, with executives like Moore leading the way, the doors are indeed open.

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