Life in the fast lane: 5 Austin companies prioritizing professional growth

by Kelly O'Halloran
June 29, 2017

Opportunity for growth ranks pretty high in terms of a job seeker’s priorities. What's more, that kind of attitude is also pretty important to recruiters looking to grow their team with the right kind of people.

It’s easy for companies to say they have paths and processes for promotions, but we wanted to learn about how companies actually support their employees’ career trajectories.

From quarterly one on ones with the CEO to internal transfer programs and fast-track promotions, here are a few ways companies prioritize professional growth.

 

main street hub june.jpg

SVP of Sales Tom Calvert and VP of Austin Sales Jeff Gossman provided some details behind Main Street Hub’s growing local sales team. The company supports the SMB sector with a social media and customer support team by creating a tailored online presence.

The duo said Main Street Hub’s sales representative role is an entry-level position that can lead to promotion within four months — if not sooner, depending on former experience. Calvert and Gossman highlighted the processes in place to support upward mobility within the Main Street Hub walls.

What types of characteristics do you think are essential for this role?

It’s essential that in this role team members are positive, goal-oriented, coachable and competitive. As we grow, we’re looking for team players who enjoy receiving and implementing feedback and are passionate about helping local businesses.

What are some common career path opportunities?

There are many ways to grow your career at Main Street Hub. There are various promotional opportunities including in the areas of sales management, training, and quality specialists.

What's that process like?

Career planning is a core part of our processes. This includes meetings with your manager to document your goals and track your progress towards achieving them. Once opportunities are posted through our internal systems, there are a few rounds of interviews.

Feedback is provided for anyone who doesn’t make it through so that employees can better prepare themselves for the next open position. We also have a Future Leadership Development Program in place that prepares high performers for next level opportunities.

How does leadership help support career growth on the ATX sales team?

Leadership provides a tremendous amount of support in every sales rep’s ramping process and  in learning next level leadership skills to prepare for promotion. It's a pledge that all managers on the ATX Sales Team make to every new hire that comes on to our team.

We have also invested heavily into training and development programs designed to help our employees improve their skills and prepare them for new and exciting challenges.

 

 

outbound engine cust success team june.jpg

Taking a load off small business owners, OutboundEngine’s marketing automation platform creates targeted, customized content and campaigns to an existing customer base. Since its launch in Austin in 2012, the company has grown to 270 employees.

Jon Lewis, OutboundEngine’s director of recruiting, said the company ideally looks for candidates with at least one to two years of relevant work experience for their junior level roles. To help promote growth from within, Lewis said the company has an internal transfer program for employees who have been there six months or more.

What are some roles on your team that don’t require as much experience?

Internships, customer success rep, market development rep and junior account executive.

What types of characteristics do you hire for in these roles?

We look for one to two years of applicable experience, including transactional sales and cold calling experience for the sales roles and customer facing experience for the client success role. On top of that, we look for a positive and proactive attitude complemented by a great personality. We also seek out candidates with great communication skills, both written and phone.

Prior startup experience is a plus, and we like people with a sports background. It usually means they know how to take coaching and apply that feedback as well as work well with a team, compete and achieve individual and team goals.

What are some common career path opportunities within OutboundEngine?

All of our departments provide a great career growth plan to allow our employees to develop their skills. Our CS and sales departments have a lot of training classes to help them ramp up. From there, each employee can earn promotions when they are successful at that role.

We also have a internal transfer program, meaning that each employee can interview for any position in any department if they have been an employee for six months. This allows employees to ramp up, learn about the company and then find out how they best fit into the company.

How soon after starting could an employee be considered for promotion?

It is possible to receive a promotion within the first three months. However, I try to manage expectations that it typically doesn't happen until the six to 12 month time period.

What's that process like?

Each department is different, however in our sales department, a manager will keep track of an employee’s performance. Once the employee has hit their sales goals over a period of three consecutive months, the employee is promoted. This can happen multiple times within a year.

How does leadership help support career growth at your company?

I believe it all starts at the top. It takes buy-in from leadership to follow through with promoting from within instead of only going outside the company to find this talent. Our company's leaders are strong believers in training, development and promoting from within. You can literally see it throughout our company. Many of our VP's, senior directors and managers have been employees that worked their way up the ladder from within.

 

 

all web leads june.png

All Web Leads delivers qualified leads to insurance agents, brokers, and carriers for the auto, health, life and home sector. Their proprietary platform identifies buyers at various sales stages who have actively looked for insurance options. Taking the process a step further, All Web Leads has a 250+ call center of agents who follow up on the digital leads to ensure the accuracy of the client’s info and verify that they did indeed want to speak to an agent prior to passing the lead off.

It’s at this call center where entry level candidates can begin a career in Austin tech as an agent. Jason Hargraves, All Web Leads managing editor, said a promotion can happen as quickly as three months from someone’s start date.  

What characteristics do you look for in call center agent candidates?

At least 18 years old, with high school diploma or equivalent. Candidates must have a positive attitude and ability to work in a fast-paced environment with a strong work ethic and attention to detail.

What are some common career path opportunities?

Many Call Center Agents have been promoted to an administrative role or to our sales department in a customer support role, assisting agents with their business needs. Some have obtained their insurance license and work directly with consumers, issuing policies for auto or health insurance.

How soon after starting could an entry level employee be considered for promotion?

We like to have at least three months of consistent performance to review before considering for a pay increase or promotion, however exceptions have been made for outstanding team members.

What’s that process like?

Production Supervisors can recommend Call Center Agents for promotion who consistently perform at or above standard, show up for their shifts on time and with a winning attitude. Typically there is an interview process with several team members.

How does leadership help support career growth at All Web Leads?

Within the call center, team leads and supervisors focus on mentoring and coaching CCAs to reach full potential in the role. They use chat rooms, emails video calls and screen-sharing software to monitor processes and connect with team members. TLs or supervisors are available throughout each shift to field questions or situations that arise. CCAs who have great attendance and performance are often chosen to participate in pilot projects or business initiatives outside of their typical role.

 

 

legalzoom june.jpg

Since 2001, LegalZoom has assisted people with their legal needs, whether it be launching a nonprofit, ensuring a trademark application runs smoothly or creating an estate plan. The company, headquartered in Austin, has many key entry-level roles that make a big impact on their customers with promotions as soon as six months in. LegalZoom's Senior Corporate Recruiter Kristy Smith filled us in.

What entry level roles do you have on your team?

We have several key entry-level roles in customer care, sales and document processing. Our front-line Zoomers are crucial to our operations.

What types of characteristics do you hire for in these roles?

We’re looking for high-spirited, forward-thinking candidates who align themselves with the LegalZoom mission of democratizing law. They thrive in a fun yet challenging, fast-paced environment and are always ready to overcome the next obstacle. They’re eager to collaborate with others and think outside the box while delivering exceptional service.

What are some common career path opportunities?

Those who join the company at the entry-level often make the best candidates for other roles because they have a clear understanding of our services and the LegalZoom customer experience. That’s why a majority of our team leads and managers come from those entry-level positions.

Zoomers often will transition into other essential areas such as workforce management, knowledge management, quality control, training, legal, and human resources. The knowledge and skills they acquired in their entry-level positions make them rockstar candidates for new roles.

How soon after starting could an entry level employee be considered for promotion?

Candidates in entry-level roles are usually considered for promotions after their six-month anniversary. This ensures they’ve received all the necessary knowledge about our products, services, and operations to be able to excel in their next role.

What's that process like?

We make it a point to ensure Zoomers have the first opportunity to apply for any of our open roles. We notify them of available opportunities with a series of internal communications. Interested individuals are invited to complete a short application and submit their resume. All employees are guaranteed an interview with the hiring manager.

How does leadership help support career growth at your company?

When someone joins our team, it’s because we believe they’re a great fit for us and our mission. That’s why we make sure to provide all the tools and development programs necessary to help them grow and succeed. We have a top-notch corporate learning department which organizes a variety of programs including Dale Carnegie leadership classes, Real Colors workshops, and Talk Like TED sessions. Management is also very supportive in working with Zoomers to outline their long-term goals and career road map, making sure to highlight the necessary steps to make those goals a reality.

 

 

mvf june.jpg

Following six to 12 months of positive growth rate targets, account executives at MVF are eligible for promotion. Emmy McKee, MVF’s senior corporate recruiter, said that if a promotion is denied following a valuation assessment of an employee’s key KPIs and adherence to MVF’s core values, then a meeting is held to create action steps to ensure the promotion is accepted the next time.

What entry level roles do you have on your team?

We are hiring for entry level Account Executives on an ongoing basis.

What types of characteristics do you hire for in these roles?

We look for passion, a self-starter mentality, commercial intelligence, leadership skills and mathematical intelligence.  

What are some common career path opportunities?

From account executive to senior account executive to team lead.

What's that process like?   

Salespeople are judged against the key KPIs and MVF's seven core values. If a salesperson shows an average growth rate above their target — which is set in line with their level of seniority — for at least three months running, their manager will perform a Values Assessment along with other senior stakeholders to assess their suitability for a promotion and a pay rise. If the promotion is denied, a meeting will be held to outline key action points required to confirm the promotion next time.

How does leadership help support career growth at your company?

On a weekly basis, the sales team meets with their direct line manager. This includes a Monday morning meeting with the entire team and leadership to confirm weekly targets. Then on a monthly basis, we hold OMMA (Once Monthly Management Assembly) which is presented by various heads of departments from the UK office via video conference. Here the CEO of MVF US discloses a full report of business performance — this is in addition to quarterly one-on-one meetings between the CEO of MVF US and each employee. Lastly, a complete employee review with the direct line manager is held annually.

 


Images provided by companies.

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