Each employee at Cone is assigned a dedicated manager to steward their individual career path at the agency. The Professional Development Manager (PDM) is required to have regular check-ins with their direct report, conduct an annual performance review and midyear development discussion and gather feedback from colleagues. PDMs participate in monthly PDM Roundtables led by HR and the CEO to ensure management training and development is occurring within this group and are also responsible for advocating for their employee through the Cone Promotions Process.
In addition, each employee is encouraged to participate in the Cone Mentor Program, which matches staff with colleagues outside of their normal work range in order to provide fresh insight and professional perspective.
Cone offers the opportunity for promotion for all employees three times per year and positions its PDMs as the catalysts and advocates for promoting employees. This way, promotions do not come from the top down but, rather, from within. Year-to-date Cone has seen 37% of staff promoted, with certainly more to come before 2012 ends.
All of these efforts have paid off: Cone is proud of its high employee engagement score (it has led the PricewaterhouseCoopers employee engagement study for the past three surveys) and its low turnover rate (14%) and high retention rate (89%).