Growth is the goal: 5 LA tech companies where professional development is a top priority

by Michael Hines
May 22, 2019

Professional development programs aren’t just perks that sound nice in a benefits package – they’re crucial incentives that retain top talent and build the next leaders at major businesses.

And lucky for LA jobseekers, they’re a dime a dozen at local tech startups, which understand that investing in their workforce improves not only employee happiness, but also their company’s bottom line. We recently caught up with five of them to learn more about their approach to professional development along with some of the most exciting opportunities they offer that help employees grow their skill sets — and careers.

 

Golden Hippo Los Angeles tech jobs

Golden Hippo is a digital marketing company that partners with health, wellness and beauty companies on the creation of direct-to-consumer brands. One of the company’s core values is “mentoring one another.” Learning and Development Manager Claudia Corleto said mentorship and peer learning play a prominent role in professional development at the company.

 

What are some of the most exciting professional development opportunities at your company?

Golden Hippo is a company where individuals can grow to their full potential. Managers work with our learning and development department to create employee development resources. Opportunities are available for interested Hippos to enhance their job-specific skills through their immediate managers and soft skills through mentors and learning tools. Our company also conducts lunch and learns and “Hippo Talks” where employees learn from internal subject matter experts and our senior leadership. Topics include public speaking and a panel discussion on one of our favorite leadership books, “Tribal Leadership.”

Golden Hippo is a company where individuals can grow to their full potential.

 

Any other examples of how your company develops its employees?

To foster a developmental mindset, Golden Hippo is introducing new learning and development initiatives. Some of these projects include a new learning management system to serve as our learning hub, a rotating mentor program for Hippos who wish to learn from the experience of other Hippos and a management training program. We will soon introduce a new employee buddy program, where new employees can learn from an assigned partner who will guide them through their first 30 days. We have multiple examples of employees who have grown their careers here. For example, some media buyers who took on management roles are now managing their own teams of media buyers.

 

MeUndies Los Angeles tech jobs

MeUndies is a direct-to-consumer lifestyle brand that sells men’s and women’s underwear, socks and loungewear made from high-quality fabrics. Senior People Operations Associate Bree Garcia said the company’s feedback-driven culture provides employees ample opportunities to learn new skills, grow their career and better understand the impact their work has on the company.

 

What are some of the most exciting professional development opportunities at your company?

We offer a personal learning and development budget to each of our employees and encourage our team to use it by taking advantage of conferences, online courses and much more. This budget, alongside our engagement surveys, lunch and learns, team building and our annual retreat, create resources to ensure you feel like a rockstar during annual performance reviews.

During reviews, you’ll track your accomplishments that have helped push the company forward throughout the year. You’ll then sit with your manager to talk through these accomplishments, areas for opportunity, career aspirations and receive tips to help you achieve those goals. We aim to provide all the necessary tools to help you grow your career, whether that’s at MeUndies or beyond. We’re always rooting for you.

We aim to provide all the necessary tools to help you grow your career, whether that’s at MeUndies or beyond.

 

Any other examples of how your company develops its employees?

We’ve adapted a platform called CultureAmp to engage in company-wide and individual feedback. We introduce this tool to new hires during orientation to understand their candidate experience followed by 30-, 60- and 90-day surveys to keep track of their onboarding process. During the remainder of their tenure, they will engage with annual 360 reviews and a quarterly engagement survey.

CultureAmp has been a pivotal piece in our feedback-driven culture. We strive to challenge our team to never stop looking for areas of opportunity and to always keep their strengths top of mind. We’ve had a number of employees grow from the associate level up to managers, directors and beyond. Time and time again, leveraging feedback has been a key driver in our employee success stories.

 

 

Edmunds Los Angeles tech jobs

Edmunds is a car shopping and information platform that provides online tools and content to make picking out a new or used automobile easier. Executive Director of Employment Experience Jamie Epstein said part of what makes the company unique is that support for professional development starts at the top. Given that support starts with senior leaders, it’s no surprise then that Edmunds offers a wide variety of formal and informal opportunities to help team members grow their careers.

 

What are some of the most exciting professional development opportunities at your company?

We offer a quarterly program in which we match team members with three executives and ask that they meet at least once. There is no commitment beyond these three individual lunches and meetings, however, we find that pairs most often find value in the exchange of ideas and choose to continue meeting. We also host a yearly learning event, which includes workshops, panels and speakers based on common development themes. Employees are sent invitations based on their personal development goals.

Thursdays are dedicated to strategic thinking and extended focus. Employees are encouraged not to schedule meetings and instead use their time for personal and professional development through workshops and sessions. Edmunds also hosts two hackathons every year. We offer cash prizes to the winners and incorporate some of their projects into our product suite.

We also host a yearly learning event, which includes workshops, panels and speakers based on common development themes.

 

Any other examples of how your company develops its employees?

At least three times a year we participate in a program called FUEL Your Potential. The focus is on meaningful career development conversations between individuals and managers. At the close of the conversation, employees complete a survey, and we use the data to identify development themes and to tailor our future offerings accordingly. As special development opportunities come up, we reach out to individuals and send them priority invitations to events.

VP of Dealer Operations Katti Fields weighed in about her own growth at Edmunds, saying, “I joined Edmunds as an IT manager. I’ve since held individual contributor and management roles in project and product management, strategic planning and most recently in business operations where I manage a team of 100 employees. Edmunds also invested in my continuing education, offering tuition reimbursement support for my M.S. and MBA.”

 

Verifi Los Angeles tech jobs

 

Verifi helps online merchants cut down on chargebacks and fight fraud through their end-to-end payment protection and risk management solutions. Manager of Client Support Cyril Tecson said a company initiative that allows employees to try out roles in different departments played a big role in her growth at the company.

 

What are some of the most exciting professional development opportunities at your company?

We offer professional development opportunities, or PDOs, throughout the company for a variety of departments, which allows employees to try out a new role to see if it fits what they are looking for as a next step. We also offer opportunities to learn about other departments or products through lunch and learns. Additionally, employees are offered opportunities to be involved in a variety of projects to expand their skills and knowledge. Having an executive and management team that is always available to mentor and educate also creates a space of continuous growth and learning.

Verifi prides itself on the internal growth and development of its employees and promotes from within whenever possible.

 

Any other examples of how your company develops its employees?

Verifi prides itself on the internal growth and development of its employees and promotes from within whenever possible. Verifi also provides support for employees looking to pursue certificates, credentials and degrees by offering tuition reimbursement. Within the past year, nearly 20 percent of team members received promotions. I was one of them. I started my career as a specialist in the operations department. Quality assurance was an area of expansion, and a PDO was made available.

I applied for the position and was allowed to be hands-on in the role for 90 days to determine if it fit my career path. Through training and coaching from the QA team lead, I moved forward with the QA role. Over the next year, a team lead role opened up, and I was confident in applying for it knowing that I would be given an opportunity to further my knowledge and enhance my leadership skills. Most recently, I was promoted to manager of client support.

 

 

 

Ace Metrix Los Angeles tech jobs

 

Ace Metrix provides advertisers, agencies and publishers with technology, tools and insights to better measure the impact of video advertising. According to Senior Director of Data Engineering Development Narendra Kumar, employee development is closely linked with the growth of the company. When it comes to the development of his department, Kumar said, engineers are provided the tools, time and encouragement to grow their skills and learn new technologies.

 

What are some of the most exciting professional development opportunities at your company?

Ace Metrix provides excellent opportunities for professional development and prides itself on creating a solid working environment, and empowering employees to be ownership-driven. Team members are encouraged to learn new technologies and share new, dynamic experiences with their co-workers. Informal meetings with small teams help keep everyone on track while not taking up too much time or introducing micromanaging. Also, we have an organizational technical meeting every two weeks for knowledge-sharing among engineers. The company also provides work-life balance and is open to adopting any changes.

We create individual development plans and are open to providing team members opportunities to grow their skills outside of their role’s function.

 

Any other examples of how your company develops its employees?

We create individual development plans and are open to providing team members opportunities to grow their skills outside of their role’s function. Ace Metrix also trains junior engineers by providing opportunities to learn via pair programming, code review and through our open environment that helps employees sharpen their skills sets. The performance of engineers is acknowledged and celebrated by giving them special monthly reserved parking.

 

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