Growing Our Own: In 2022, Hershey Celebrated More than 100 Promotions on Its Retail Team
Hershey's retail team reflects a unique approach to fueling a talent pipeline and company growth.
VP, Retail, The Hershey Company
In 2022, The Hershey Company promoted 117 members of the retail team.
Nearly 75 percent of the sales leadership team at Hershey began in entry-level positions, called Territory Sales Leads (TSLs).
Promoting from within is one way Hershey builds culture and expertise, which fuels growth across the company.
The future of Hershey is bright. In 2022, we had 117 promotions from our retail sales team, which is the most in recent history. Our leaders have a deep-rooted pride in announcing each promotion. Developing our amazing people is part of our company’s culture and contributes to our competitive advantage. The way we train, develop and support our retail team is incredibly unique.
A newly hired Territory Sales Lead (TSL) joins a team of peers and reports to a leader who will become an important part of their professional and personal development. TSLs are considered CEOs of their territory. We are committed to providing best-in-class training centered around retail and merchandising principles, selling and negotiating skills, and leveraging data to generate insights that drive action. This enables our teams to build trusted partnerships with store management and co-create action plans to successfully deliver upon shared goals. Check out this video that shows a day in the life of our sales team.
TSLs collaborate with teammates and peers daily to share best practices and ask for guidance. Retail leaders spend a great deal of time with TSLs in the field to observe, coach and provide feedback to drive continuous improvement. This mindset helps our TSLs achieve their personal and professional goals, whatever they may be.
A culture of growth
Hershey is a promote-from-within company, and the TSL role is a great starting point. Nearly 75 percent of our sales leaders started their careers as TSLs. I started my career with Hershey 22 years ago as a TSL.
When I was a senior at the University of Florida, like all graduates, I was faced with the big decision of selecting my future employer. After speaking with the Hershey team through my school’s career center, I knew Hershey was where I wanted to be. I felt the authentic passion and comradery this company exudes. I love telling new and potential TSLs that I started in their shoes. I came to the company because of an emotional connection to the brands I grew up with. But I stay because of the culture and the people. So many people have mentored and supported me. I love being able to do the same for others.
There’s an enormous benefit and reward to fueling a pipeline of talent to the organization. We’ve built strong relationships with universities, and participate in on-campus activities, such as judging sales competitions for business classes, speaking to groups of students and sponsoring career center activities. We’ve revamped our recruiting materials to better tell our story, whether we’re talking about how we are advancing our capabilities, enhancing our employee value proposition or making strides in our ESG efforts around improved racial representation, gender diversity, pay equity, flexibility and career progression opportunities. We operate each day grounded in our history of doing well by doing good, including our dedication to the Milton Hershey School.
Where people make the difference
The strength of our organization comes from our incredible people who are committed to doing hard work together. We are united in our purpose of creating moments of goodness. We have the honor to carry forward the legacies left by Milton Hershey and the many leaders who have paved the way. That can start in the TSL role. That’s where you develop and cultivate a culture of pride, passion, commitment and connection. There’s hard work, grit and tenacity. This becomes the foundation for a successful career.
You’ll never hear me say, “I have to go to work today.” I like to say, “I get to go to work today.” The work I do is a privilege and fuels my passion for people and our company. After 22 years at Hershey, I love being in the field, listening and learning with our vibrant retail team. I am incredibly inspired and energized about the future of our company. We are continuing to invest in both our people and our capabilities, and there is no doubt that the best is yet to come.