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Taking It on the Road

This article accompanies Turnover Turnaround.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017
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As Taco Bell executives sought innovative ways to highlight the role the company can play in someone's career path, regardless of whether they stay long-term, they happened upon Roadtrip Nation, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based company that specializes in spurring career exploration by millennials. In late 2016, they formed a partnership to tell the stories of the many successful people who have worked for Taco Bell at some point in their lives.

"This is often a job that kickstarts someone's career," says Fred Tucker, Taco Bell's chief people officer. "We are excited to partner with Roadtrip Nation to show our team members how these invaluable skills can get them to their highest aspirations in life."

The Roadtrip Nation crew took to the road in its distinctive green RV, interviewing a slew of Taco Bell employees and alumni from coast to coast. They included Mike Grams, the company's current COO, who initially struggled to find his place in the restaurant, and Fred Mossler, a co-founder and former senior executive at Zappos, who began his Taco Bell career as a dishwasher before working his way up to supervisor.

In his Roadtrip Nation interview, Mossler recalls the little gold bells given to team members as they learned new skills, adding "that skills-based compensation has played a part in how I've thought about progression in every venture I've been involved in since." Perhaps most powerfully, Mossler calls his time working at a Taco Bell restaurant "the launching pad of the rest of my life."

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According to Mike Marriner, co-founder of Roadtrip Nation, such personal stories resonate with millennials, who thrive on authenticity.

"The heart of Roadtrip Nation is all about talking to people who have found their roads in life and learning how they got there," says Marriner. "That gives a deeper level of relevance and helps build their confidence because they see people like them who have gone on to do fascinating things."

The videos are accessible to current Taco Bell employees, as well as to potential job candidates and the general public at https://tacobell.shareyourroad.com. In the next phase of the project, Taco Bell employees will be encouraged to create a profile on the portal and share their own stories. The goal is to foster networks and communities, and empower and inspire team members to further their own careers.

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