Professional Development

Professional Development

Investing in Employees

At Hormel Foods, continuous improvement and innovation are a way of life. These Our Way principles are the foundation for our employees’ personal development and encourage continuous growth in their careers. Professional development involves regular performance reviews, comprehensive training and opportunities for career enhancement and advancement. We also know it is important to help employees manage career endings, which is accomplished by offering ongoing retirement planning education workshops.

Topics in this section include:

Performance Review Program

We understand how important it is for our employees to feel both valued and challenged, so we conduct regular performance reviews annually with more than 99 percent of salaried employees; 92 percent of office hourly employees; and 49 percent of plant hourly employees. Reviews for salaried and office hourly employees include an assessment of current job performance and mutual employee/supervisor goal setting for the next year. The process also takes into consideration work/life balance, career development, training needs and opportunities and current job performance.

Specifically, Hormel Foods employs a formal annual needs evaluation and training enrollment process among our Corporate Office (Austin, MN) employees. Administered through the corporate learning and development team, this process provides structure for managers to meet with each direct report to evaluate development needs and identify training to be delivered, as well as priorities for the employee’s development.


To support our tradition of fostering long-term careers, employees receive formal training applicable to their level of responsibility and expertise throughout their career at Hormel Foods. The total hours spent on training in fiscal year 2011 was 368,426. This equaled about 18.9 hours of training per employee. The chart below shows an in-depth analysis of training hours per employee group at Hormel Foods.

Because training is based on applicability to employees’ daily activities, hours of training per employee vary across the company. Some of our training programs include:

  • Accountability;
  • Accounting;
  • Benefits;
  • Communication skills;
  • Computer skills;
  • Diversity and inclusion;
  • Executive training;
  • Food safety;
  • Interpersonal skills;
  • Management/leadership;
  • Negotiation;
  • Operations;
  • Reliability/maintenance;
  • Sales;
  • Workplace safety; and
  • Six Sigma.

Our career development efforts feature training and coaching that facilitate and encourage career enhancement and advancement. We offer educational assistance to reimburse eligible employees for undergraduate, graduate and preparatory course fees.

Hormel Foods Manager Training

  • Consumer Products Sales employees participated in the second session of the Leading for Success Advanced Seminar. The program is designed to further advance skill sets through additional training and development sessions. Participants also spend time with the Consumer Products Sales executive leadership team.
  • Manager Training: Hormel Foods employees from various company locations participated in manager training. Participants were chosen from different areas of the company to broaden the conversation and provide an opportunity to network. The three and a half-day event focused on coaching employee performance sessions, situational leadership, human resources issues, Career Connection, performance management and compensation.

Foodservice executives and sales training participants, August 2011

  • Foodservice Sales Training: Hormel Foods employees from across the country completed the program which provides relatively new employees a better understanding of how to more effectively sell the benefits of the company’s products, become a consultative seller and better represent Hormel Foods and our brands. The training included a variety of presentations by the foodservice marketing team, which highlighted the full line of products the foodservice division offers.

Foodservice Executives and Sales Training Participants, August 2011

  • Quality Control (QC) University: Quality control employees from various company locations graduated from QC University in 2011. The Hormel Foods corporate quality management team developed this comprehensive learning opportunity. The graduates attended four one-week sessions throughout the year, covering topics on food safety, government regulations, sanitation requirements, good manufacturing practices and more than 60 company quality programs. Along with classroom training, the sessions included hands-on experience such as conducting a sanitation audit and a hazard analysis.
  • Six Sigma Black Belt and Green Belt Training Event: The Hormel Foods Six Sigma team hosted a training event for individuals from various Hormel Foods locations. Some of the attendees are working toward Six Sigma Black Belt certification and others are working toward Six Sigma Green Belt certification. The training included presentations from Hormel Foods Master Black Belts on new tools for process improvement. These include: Failure Modes Effect Analysis (FMEA), Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA), process mapping, mistake proofing and Statistical Process Control (SPC), improvement theory around the cost of poor quality, Six Sigma level improvement and project roles.
  • Biennial Our Way to Safety Conference: Safety management employees from various company locations, along with members of the corporate safety steering committee, attended the 2011 “Raising the Safety Bar Together” conference focused on the company’s safety process.


Mickelsen Honored for Commitment to Quality of Principles

Darryl Mickelsen, recently retired Six Sigma project manager, was honored with a Karl Shurson Quality Award from the Rochester Area Quality Council (RAQC) in November of 2010. The award, which honors the commitment to quality principles, is named after Shurson, a late, long-time executive of IBM Rochester who was an integral part of the team that won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for the company in 1990. With Shurson’s leadership, the RAQC was formed to leverage the leadership and experience from IBM’s Baldrige work.