Internal growth is an enormous part of culture at Charter/Spectrum, as shown by the estimated 90% of supervisor and lead positions that are promoted from within its call center employee population.
“The majority of our career development, promotions if you will, do happen internally. It really starts when you’re hired, when you come on board,” says SVP of customer care Greg McMichael. “We’ve built a career progression model that takes into account the employee and where they want to go and where they want to be.”
Spectrum’s career pathing model encompasses layers that allow for growth recognition at early stages. At call centers, all new hires start as a Rep 1, learning roles and becoming proficient at providing the level of customer service associated with Charter. Within the first nine months, employees have the opportunity for promotion to Rep 2, and within another six to twelve months, there’s the opportunity to move up to Rep 3.
Call centers are integral to Charter’s operations, and it’s been beefing them up. When Charter acquired Time Warner Cable in 2015, it made a commitment to bring all of its Spanish-language call centers to the US, as nearly 90% of its Spanish-language customer service calls were outsourced. The first opened in 2017 in McAllen, TX, and is in the southern tip of Charter’s 41 state footprint. In McAllen alone, nearly 80% of its residents speak Spanish. In bringing back the call centers, Charter committed to adding 20,000 jobs over the next four years, with the majority of new positions serving customers directly.
Career development benefits both employee and employer. “First and foremost, the employee, coming as a new hire, they invest a lot in us. And conversely, we invest a lot in them. There’s a lot we need to do to keep our employees. We make sure to invest in someone who wants a career and not a job,” says McMichael.
Of course, there’s even further opportunities for leadership, with Rep 3s progressing into supervising roles (and sometimes straight from Rep 2). “Our leads are really first line escalations for our representatives, they’re the first line to go through help and support,” says McMichael.
Career development doesn’t stop there. There is a supervisor development program where Charter takes the supervisors through “how to look at data, how to look at numbers. It’s much more a 360 view of the frontline, more holistically through developing that rep or that lead,” says McMichael.
Internal promotions also end up benefiting customers. “Employee development is critical for us. We know when we invest in the employees, they stay and they’re happy. And when we do this, our customers see it,” says McMichael. “We remove friction from the business. More engaged employees with more tenure engage with the customer in a different way. Really at the end of the day, it develops the employee, but also the customer relationship.”