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Since our high school careers class, we've all been conditioned to believe that more work experience with different companies equals a strong resumé, but today that couldn't be farther from the truth. Companies in the fashion retail world have taken notice to the importance of internal employee growth and more people are finding themselves working with the same company for many years.

We really appreciate internal growth and see that it has a lot of benefits, says Emily Scarlett, public relations and communications manager for H&M Canada. There's so much knowledge that comes from working directly in the store and that knowledge can be shared when you're growing internally.

Oftentimes employees start at the store management level, says Scarlett. From there, some move on to positions in head office including visual and leasing. Even the president of H&M Canada today started as a store manager, she says, adding that a recent company meeting of 90 store managers and head office employees showed over 680 combined years of experience solely with H&M.

One of the perks of growing with one company is the ability to travel. With our rapid expansion, we are able to offer travel within Canada and outside of Canada to other markets, says Scarlett. I think that's definitely a great benefit to the employee: to be able to see how the company develops in other countries and in our country. It also acts as an opportunity to network and meet new people within the company.

Working your way up to a head office position doesn't require an extra academic certificate, she says. We really talk about the values, but I think if you have drive, initiative, and you embody the H&M spirit—which is putting the values into your work every single day—you stand out and can definitely advance without having an MBA or whatever you might need.

As for employee internal growth in the fashion retail world for the future, Scarlett says in order to grow as a company we need the employees to be really strong, engaged, and feel like there are opportunities for development.

Keeping employees motivated and having a strong belief in their capabilities ultimately encourages growth. For us, it's one of our greatest strengths that we believe in people and we offer development, she says, because people feel motivated and they don't feel like it's just a job.

Photo: Thomas Northcut/Thinkstock