I've worked since I was fifteen and carried out two jobs alongside my degree at university – as a bar manager and an administrative assistant. I think the strong work ethic this demonstrates impressed during the recruitment process for the role of graduate management trainee with Enterprise Rent-ACar (Enterprise), as the drive to work hard is something the company really values. My bar manager experience was particularly useful; I was the person that other people came to with problems and I built a strong relationship with the rest of my team, so I could draw on this experience for examples of teamworking and problem-solving skills during the interview.
The pace of progression
The opportunity to progress quickly and gain responsibility early on was something that really struck me as a positive thing about Enterprise when I was choosing a graduate programme to apply to. When I had my interview, I was shown a career timeline and thought it was amazing how quickly you can get a significant pay rise – that this could happen within a year. My experience has mirrored that career timeline; I was able to gain my current position as branch manager in just under two years.
Everyone's been in the same boat
Because of their strong promote-from-within culture, almost all employees at Enterprise start out in the same position, as a graduate management trainee. This really reflects in the working environment at the company; as soon as I started working here, I could tell that everyone wanted me to do well.
This became clear when I was revising for tests that graduates take to pass their Management Qualification Interview, on six different areas of the business. For me, this was the toughest part of the graduate programme, yet all employees at Enterprise have had the same experience so they are the best people to help you. Head office put on conference calls in which they give hints and tips to graduates, but I could also just pick up the phone to my area manager and ask for advice; I'd recommend that people are proactive and do this. Everyone is very supportive.
Get to know the employer from the get-go
There are plenty of opportunities to interact with your team on the graduate programme and, when you first start, you're given daily tasks that are focused on helping you to get to know the business. However, you begin finding out about Enterprise and its employees even before you've secured a position, as the branch interview gives you the opportunity to visit an office and talk to people there. Graduates should make the most of this; remember that everyone working there has been in the same boat, so you should ask them what you can do as an employee to impress.
My advice to candidates is to start getting to know the organisation as early on as possible. When researching the company before an interview, make sure you find out about Enterprise's values; these are integral to the organisation's culture and influence how each and every employee, from graduate to manager, behaves.
You could go further than this, too. Since I've been in my role as branch manager, one interviewee has phoned asking about the company and for tips before their branch interview, which demonstrated their interest and initiative. Don't worry about asking a question because you think you should know the answer; Enterprise looks for people who are confident enough to talk to customers and who are more likely to ask a question than to make a mistake.
Goals and wins
As a graduate management trainee, you're set goals and monthly one-to-ones with a manager help to keep you on the track towards fulfilling them. Because of this goal-driven environment, graduates gain a sense of achievement even if they experience small setbacks along the way. One example of this was when a trainee I work with missed a sales objective but – on the same day – she found out that she'd successfully opened a new account, which is an important goal for trainees. By leaning on the support of the people around you and celebrating what I like to call your 'wins', you will build up the resilience you need to deal with challenges.
Learn from others
Observing and learning from other people is a great way to develop as an employee and it's something I've been able to do well at Enterprise. One of the main reasons I valued my time as a trainee so much was because of my manager. He gave his employees plenty of praise and support, which made our day-to-day working life more enjoyable. I've benefited by trying to replicate his management style in my current managerial position. I think part of the reason my team do well is because I get on with them, so they don't want to let me down. The most important thing I've learned since working at Enterprise is that you're only as good as the people around you – so it's important to work well with them.
The chance to socialise
The company also encourages strong working relationships by putting on events outside of work. One example of this is attending Pride events across the country, to show our support for the LGBTQ+ community. But it doesn't stop there; we also celebrate promotions and achieving performance goals. These events are so much fun and strengthen the bond between you and your colleagues.
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