In a world where millennials have a reputation for job hopping, Jordan Rosen might seem like an anomaly—he’s been with his employer, MediaCom, for nearly seven years. However, Rosen hasn’t been doing that same thing the whole time. In seven years, he’s held four different roles and been promoted from the assistant level all the way up to associate director.
That kind of growth isn’t unusual at MediaCom. Through the company’s internal mobility program, known as GROW, people can evolve their careers within the company, which may mean changing teams, positions, and even skill sets. “At other companies, you may have to leave to do something new—at MediaCom we want people to be able to have multiple careers at the same company,” says Debbie Kemp, Chief Talent Officer at MediaCom in the U.S.
And the numbers show just how big of a priority that is: “Right now about half of our open positions are filled through internal moves,” Kemp says. “We believe our employees do their best work when they have the freedom to map out their own career path.”
Here’s why that philosophy works so well at MediaCom—and for the folks who work there.
Getting Honest About Your Career
One of the key components that sets the GROW program apart from other companies is full transparency—managers, employees, and the HR team are all on the same page when it comes to goals and objectives. “Being interested in the GROW program will never put an employee at risk,” Kemp says. “We encourage job mobility and the manager is part of that conversation, so it can be a very fluid shift.”
For Rosen, that ability to open up about where he wanted to go in his career was key. “When I began at MediaCom as a digital planning assistant, I knew I really excelled at the data portion of the job,” he says. While other elements of that first job, such as building campaigns, interested him, he felt like his skill set best matched positions that focused on data collection and analysis.
“At another company, I may have considered leaving at that point to find a position that better suited what I wanted,” he says. “At MediaCom, I felt confident I could go to my manager and HR, and say, this is what I love, this is what I’m good at, and this is where I want to be. And then we could have a conversation.” Rosen’s participation in the GROW program led to an operations specialist position, which he then was able to evolve into a manager position before going into his current role as Associate Director, Buy Enablement.
Finding the Best Fit for You
The program is designed to promote these kinds of frank conversations. To be accepted into the GROW program, employees are asked to identify their goals, skills, and opportunities for growth. After an intake meeting with HR to review goals and expectations, the candidate’s manager gets looped in.
The GROW participant then gets the opportunity to interview with the internal teams—either at their current location or in other offices—who may have positions that align with the employee’s interests.
“I think the biggest asset of working in a big network is that they are allowing you to make this shift between accounts and also between agencies,” says Magda Szmilewska, an Associate Director who transitioned from Mindshare, another agency in GroupM’s network. “Everyone should feel good about raising their hand and asking to see what other opportunities there may be.”
Feedback post-interview is also provided to all employees and frequent check-ins help them understand potential timelines. For those employees who don’t transition to a new role, they will come away with an understanding of what additional skills they need for a similar opportunity in the future. The entire GROW process can be valuable to employees in terms of understanding their own, sometimes untapped, strengths.
Rosen appreciates that he had the chance to be his own best advocate. “Even a few months into the role, I knew I just wasn’t playing to all of my strengths. And I was so glad to be at the kind of company where I could bring this up to my manager. What I love at MediaCom is that there are so many different teams and opportunities to find your skill set and what makes you happy to come to work every day.”