How 5 People Had Their ‘Aha!’ Moments At Enterprise was originally published on WayUp Guide.
You’ll sometimes hear successful people talk about an “aha” moment: a realization that they weren’t just doing a job, they were building a career.
At Enterprise, these kinds of aha moments happen all the time—and that’s because of the company’s long-term growth culture. It’s a true equal-opportunity meritocracy where someone’s success is determined exclusively by their performance.
Here’s a look at five different Enterprise employees—who have excelled in their careers—and how they would describe their aha moments. We held these interviews earlier this year, and clearly much has changed with the advent of COVID-19. We followed up with each employee and shared some of their post-COVID reflections and experiences below.
Ethan: Applying For His First Promotion—And Getting It
Enterprise is a company built from the ground up. And for our employees, that ground floor is the Management Training (MT) program. When Ethan graduated from college and entered the MT program, he started learning how to run an Enterprise branch on day one.
“Everyone was really eager to help me grow quickly,” he said.
As a Management Trainee, Ethan heard a lot about the culture of quick promotions and steady advancement at Enterprise. And while he was excited for the opportunity, he wasn’t sure if he could believe the hype.
However, after he’d put in the work as a Management Trainee, it was time to take the qualifying test and apply for his first Assistant Manager position. He aced the test and got the job—and that’s when he had his aha moment.
“I started to realize the promote-from-within hype is real, and I’m moving up because of it,” Ethan says.
Since COVID-19, Ethan’s perceptions of the company have only grown stronger.
“Our CEO Chrissy Taylor and senior leadership stepped up and have really made it clear that we are all in this together,” says Ethan. “Enterprise has stood behind their employees and are giving us the tools we need to get back to normal and ensure our customers feel safe coming back and renting from us again.”
Kendra: Quitting Enterprise (And Then Coming Back)
Kendra excelled early in her Enterprise career, getting promoted to branch manager in only a year and a half. But when she received an offer to join a sales team at another company, she took it.
Shortly after she arrived at her new job, she saw some stark differences in the culture.
“I remember I asked my supervisor, ‘How does this fit into our bottom line?’ And she told me that I didn’t need to worry about that right now,” Kendra recalls. “If I asked someone at Enterprise about a part of our business, they would’ve taken the time out of their day to teach me, not just to give me the answer but to show me the big picture, too.”
That culture of mentorship and learning at Enterprise is an essential part of the company’s performance-based promotion plan. And why Kendra, ultimately, decided to return to Enterprise.
“You get promoted by performance from day one,” she explains. “And that’s why we take development so seriously. When your manager moves up, so do you, and vice versa. Everyone wants you to take their job in the best way.”
Now, as an Area Rental Manager, Kendra is the kind of boss she always had at Enterprise: ready to lend a hand, teach a skill, and guide her teammates to success.
And lately, Kendra has had to adjust to one more change. She’s adding a new member to her family.
“My husband and I are expecting our first child this summer, which means I was in my second trimester when COVID-19 struck,” says Kendra. “Due to the severity of the disease and the unanswered questions surrounding its long-term effects, the leadership in my area allowed me to work from home. I have learned a lot during all of this and am grateful that my team showed me such flexibility.”
Phillip: Doing More, Earning More, Becoming A Leader
Phillip had a goal to double his annual salary within two years—and he knew sales was the way to get there.
“I started as a Management Trainee,” Phillip tells us. “I liked the idea that my career would be based on my individual performance and how I could contribute to the overall atmosphere and experience at a branch.”
And his individual performance really did shape his career. A strong work ethic and success with key management attributes allowed him to rise through the ranks, eventually getting him into a role with Enterprise Car Sales. Within the two-year mark, Phillip was hitting his original goal, but that wasn’t when his aha moment came.
“One day my Area Manager asked me what I thought about being in management,” says Phillip.
Phillip was an all-star individual contributor, and that brought him a lot of success, but with the encouragement of his Area Manager and a few other leaders at Enterprise, he took on a management role while still staying in sales. Now, he’s got a new goal: senior leadership.
Phillip’s aha moment came when he realized he would never run out of ways to grow—and people to support him—at Enterprise.
Glo: Managing Hundreds Of People—And Her Own Life
Glo started in the Management Training program at the St. Louis Contact Center—where employees provide support to Enterprise’s field operations—and quickly found her place on the roadside assistance team. Her dedication to customer service over the years led to her current role: Reservation Manager.
“Collectively I’m responsible for about 120 to 140 employees,” Glo tells us. “It’s pretty exciting. I get to learn and grow with them.”
Her aha moment came around 5 years ago at a pivotal time in her career. “Right around the time I earned a promotion, I found out I was pregnant,” she recalls.
She was nervous that her career growth wouldn’t be compatible with her personal growth. But when she told her leadership team the news, they were excited for her.
“The thing that was so great was that there was room for my whole self at Enterprise,” Glo says. Not only was she able to take advantage of flexible work-from-home arrangements, but her managers were still just as committed to her growth.
“I can’t think of another organization that is so intentional about you being your best self,” she explains. “This is a place where you know that your performance will be your passport to a long and healthy career.”
And with COVID-19, Glo can attest to its impacts personally and professionally.
“During the last part of the school year, my husband was homeschooling our son and I was working from home,” says Glo. “My day-to-day responsibilities at work changed a bit, too. We got to a point where we needed to bring employees who were furloughed back and get them onboarded. That was a special time for us, and it was a signal that our business is moving in the right direction.”
Ali: The Freedom To Work Creatively—And Succeed On Her Own Terms
Ali has always been independent. Born in an immigrant household where hard work, creativity and purpose is a way of life, she always knew she wanted to make a career for herself outside of the family business, yet still centered around those same philosophies.
“I thrive on customer relationships,” Ali says. “One of my mantras is to treat every conversation as an interaction instead of a transaction.”
At the beginning of her career, this worked great in the branch with rental customers, but Ali had a feeling her philosophy could carry her to even more success in a formal sales setting.
“I knew I’d be more apt to succeed in a business-to-business sales environment,” she says.
And, of course, her dedication and support from her managers helped her achieve that goal. But her aha moment came when she realized a measure of her success came from being able to do it in her own way.
“Being creative and getting involved in the community have always been important to me,” Ali explains. “Both as a professional and as a person.”
And that’s been the key to Ali’s success in her current role as a business rental sales executive in Nashville—connectivity. She’s a member of local organizations for business owners and community members. The connections she makes in those groups have led to new relationships for her and new business for Enterprise.
Of working for Enterprise in a world affected by COVID-19, Ali says, “It’s refreshing to see the sense of increased compassion amongst everyone. People who I used to meet with in person that were always so meticulous and poised, now have their dogs barking in the background, babies crying or even t-shirts on. We have a lot of work to do, but it’s been amazing to be part of the Enterprise response to COVID-19 and see how we can turn on a dime to help reset our business. It’s all hands on deck, and you feel it every time we talk to one another.”
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