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How P&G Finds and Keeps a Prized Workforce

The home product giant's real edge is in personnel managementbringing in and promoting creative thinkers who keep the company on top of its game

Few employers spend as much time cultivating their workforce as Procter & Gamble (PG). The consumer-products company expects to get 400,000 applications for entry-level management positions this year. It will hire less than one half of 1% of them, selecting only those most likely to fit the P&G culture. "We actually recruit for values," says Chief Operating Officer Robert McDonald. "If you are not inspired to improve lives, this isn't the company you want to work for."

The careful vetting, training, and career development pay off. P&G boasts 23 brands with at least $1 billion in annual sales and is the market leader in everything from detergent to diapers to razors. True, the company's renowned marketing skills and deep pockets help. But another important edge is personnel management—bringing in and promoting creative thinkers.