Established in 1986, Spectrum Paint is the largest independent paint dealer in the U.S. and operates over 80 retail stores in nine states. As the company grew quickly, it had to evolve and flex to fill roles throughout the country and started the Management Training Program in 2018 to bring high-quality employees into management positions. The Management Training Program focuses on recent college graduates looking for a career in the paint industry.
“Spectrum Paint is a fast-growing company, and we felt we needed to put together an intensive training to offer potential future managers and account managers to set them up for success,” says Christopher Carbone, regional operations manager for South Carolina and store operations training manager.
Applicants are accepted all year-round into the program that takes 12 to 18 months to complete and trains new hires in all aspects of the paint business, including operations, management, purchasing, customer service and product knowledge. Carbone says the end goal of this program is to have an educated individual familiar with the company and products who can be placed into a management role, either store manager or assistant manager, or possibly in the field as a sales representative.
Since its inception, 46 trainees have gone through the management trainee program, with 15 placed as assistant store managers, six as account managers and 11 as store managers.
During the program, trainees learn every role in the Spectrum Paint operations, working through different phases. Each of the phases corresponds with a role or position in the company: delivery driver and warehouse, counter sales specialist, store management, outside sales and company broadening, which involves working at corporate, a regional office or a distribution center.
Store managers who have a management trainee in their store are responsible for the day-to-day training, and Carbone says he completes regular check-ins with the store managers and management trainees. Carbone also conducts monthly calls with the regional operations managers to communicate the growth of the management trainees.
Each management trainee attends in-person training at the company’s corporate headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where trainees meet and learn from each department head at the corporate office.
“Having a management trainee program gives us the opportunity to recruit and lay out a clear path of a potentially successful career for the next generation of employees,” Carbone says. “We have seen great retention with this program because employees see their future and know they are on track for a career in management.”