The UPS Approach

notes on Soupata, Lea. “Engaging Employees in Company Success: the UPS Approach to a Winning Team“. Society for Human Resources Management Online.

The UPS company-wide vision is based on founder Jim Casey’s philosophy of good management, and on UPS principles and priorities.

UPS has a “Winning Team” strategic initiative, an “effort to attract, develop, and retain a skilled, motivated, and diverse global workforce.”

The Winning Team initiative strives to develop not only an effective workforce, but also one whose interests and values align with UPS, which subsequently results in highly engaged employees. It also is intended to preserve and build upon UPS’s culture and legacy of integrity, ownership, performance, respect, innovation, personal growth, and service excellence.

UPS was founded in 1907 in Seattle, Washington. In 2005 it brought in more than $33 billion in revenue and employed more than 357,000 people worldwide. It’s the world’s largest package delivery company and “leading global provider of specialized transportation and logistics services.”

The UPS Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the company, “focusing on literacy, hunger, and effective volunteerism.”

The company is publicly traded but predominantly employee-owned. Employee stock programs include: Discounted Employee Stock Purchase Program, Managers Incentive Program, Long-term Incentive Program.

Employee ownership is core to the UPS culture, and it translates into a strong work ethic, with employees engaged in growing the business and committed to the company’s success.

They measure success through a combination of Winning Team metrics and conventional business goal metrics: revenue growth, operating income growth, net income growth, operating economic value-added growth, customer satisfaction index improvement, employer of choice index improvement, service quality index improvement.

Employee communication is very important to the way the company is managed:

Employees must know what UPS is doing, why we are engaging in various activities, and what their individual roles are in making the business successful.

Communication meetings, employee web portal — links to healthcare carriers, 401k plan advisors, stock purchase plan.

“Prework communications meetings” — three-minute daily group meetings to provide feedback.

“One Vision” — hour-long one-to-one conversations between supervisors and firstline employees.

Project LEAD — rewards employees who obtain sales leads for the company.

Company success depends on a commitment to building trust and improving employee relations by relying on integrity, ability, and character.

Open-door policy: the supervisor is available at any time for workplace issues, questions, concerns.

Integrated talent management program: “succession planning, career development planning discussions, management performance improvements, retaining talent.”

UPS believes in promotion from within.

Making financial goals does not ensure an individual’s promotion to greater responsibility. Rather, the individual’s ability to manage people effectively (using their historic employee relations index scores as a measure) plays a key role in UPS’s promotion decisions.

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