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Employee Development Programs

Look Outside: Employee Development Programs From Other Industries

Along with looking for best practices from fellow home improvement retailers, it can be beneficial to look outside the industry to see what other businesses are doing for training and development and what principles apply to your operation. Here, we share the basics and takeaways of the employee development programs from three companies outside the home improvement industry. 


For over 30 years, the Disney Institute has been helping advise and train a variety of professionals, teams and organizations worldwide based on the business insights and best practices of Disney parks and resorts. The Institute offers a number of programs each year, including Disney’s Approach to Employee Engagement, which provides best practices for fostering an organizational culture, finding talent, training for culture and communicating effectively. Read how retailer Brian Kabat utilized the lessons he learned at the Disney Institute in his own home improvement operation. 

Key Takeaways

  • Create a culture that appeals to both customers and employees. 
  • Choose employees based on attitude, not just talent. 
  • Engage with employees through active listening. 


Well known for its chicken sandwiches and polite employees, Chick-fil-A takes employee development and training seriously for employees, whether they are working in a restaurant or the corporate office. Each franchisee has the autonomy to adjust the training program from corporate to best fit their business model and employees and receives support as needed from corporate leadership. The company also offers the Leadership Development Program, where business leaders travel the country for 24 to 36 months solving real-world leadership challenges and gaining real-life leadership experience. 

Key Takeaways

  • Train every employee to be a leader.
  • Make training comprehensive by teaching the physical and social skills needed for a role.
  • Encourage a culture of teamwork and cooperation. 

Marriott International

For over 90 years, Marriott International has been serving travelers around the world and has done so thanks to a robust training program for employees at all levels of the company. The company provides 15 minutes of training in job-specific skills every day for its hourly employees and offers over 20 management training programs. Training programs include hands-on, in-person options, as well as online programs and mentorships to guide employees through their careers. 

Key Takeaways

  • Demonstrate the value of participating in training programs.
  • Offer different training options for different learning styles. 
  • Utilize technology to facilitate training. 

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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