Providing a “Pathway to Success” for Merkle RMG Staff

At Merkle Response Management Group (RMG), we’re committed to continuous improvement – not just in our processes and procedures, but also in our people.

We’re a company that values homegrown talent. We believe in developing leaders from within, and nurturing high-potential staff who are already integral to our business and culture.

That’s why we created Pathway to Success – a professional development program that gives employees a hands-on, holistic education across Merkle RMG’s areas of operation. It provides a defined roadmap for their advancement, with set benchmarks for success.

Discovering the Big Picture

Launched in 2013, the program offers our employees cross-departmental exposure to all aspects of Merkle RMG’s response management business. It includes rotational training in human resources, account management, contact center operations, mail processing, caging, fulfillment and acknowledgement, data capture, payment processing, billing and accounting, and other key functions. Participants also learn about the different markets we serve – with time spent working on nonprofit, commercial and government accounts.

What it Takes

We choose candidates based on high performance in their current role and their potential to excel at least one level higher. An ideal candidate is a team player with a desire to grow, who understands Merkle RMG’s culture. We also look at prior work history and education and consider areas where an employee might be proficient, but under-utilized.

Employees receive training in multiple functions within five main focus areas: Client Interaction, Human Resources, Billing and Accounting, Data Capture, and general RMG Knowledge. After an employee has fulfilled every training requirement within a focus area, they must pass a test to advance to the next one. In a final assessment, each participant gives executives a guided tour of our 125,000 sq. ft. facility, explaining the entire Merkle RMG operation as if they were educating a potential client. It’s a true test of how well they grasp the full scope of what we do, and a chance to hone their presentation skills in the process.

Participants keep their current position while they’re in the program, so they may progress at their own pace. There’s no time limit for completion, but it typically takes between nine months and two years to complete.

What Pathway Participants Say

Maggie Clark, manager of data capture at Merkle RMG, was the first Pathway graduate. She said the program helped her gain better visibility into everything we do as a company.

“Before, it was like I was looking through a keyhole and I could only see so much,” she said. “As you go through Pathway, the door opens and you can see so much more than you could before.”

Maggie added that knowing the intricacies of various jobs helps her realize the value of each position at Merkle RMG.  

“You might assume a job is simple, but then you see it actually takes 20 steps to do what you thought took only one step,” she said. “It gives you a deeper understanding of everything and everyone it takes to get a job done, and that’s insight you can pass on as a leader.”

Jeremy Page, a staff accountant at Merkle RMG, also completed Pathway to Success. He said that learning what each part of the organization does can help a manager with problem solving and decision making.

“If I encounter an issue, I know exactly who to go to, and where,” he said. “Anyone in any type of leadership role should go through this program at some point.”

Mona Duncombe is a data coordinator at Merkle RMG and is a current Pathway participant. She says that already, she appreciates how complex certain processes are.

“I honestly thought imaging was just scanning, and mail processing was just extracting mail,” she said. “But it’s so much more than that. There are so many different machines to master and elements to capture. Seeing that really changed my perspective.”

The Case for Homegrown Talent

We prioritize homegrown talent because of our unique hiring needs here at Merkle RMG. Many managers coming from other companies expect a static, regimented business setting – and we’re anything but. We’re constantly implementing new processes and acquiring new clients, and we need leaders who not only have managerial skills, but the ability to thrive in our dynamic culture. In an office environment that’s also a production facility, everyone needs a hands-on understanding of how we operate. And that’s how we groom our talent.

Added Value for Everyone

We realize that Pathway demands a lot of employees beyond the responsibilities of their current role. That’s why we offer financial rewards every time a participant reaches a success benchmark. They’re eligible for a pay increase for each focus area they complete, in addition to a one-time bonus upon completion of the entire program. With new marketable skills (and financial benefits), employees increase their value; meanwhile, Merkle RMG retains top talent and profits from a highly capable workforce.

Do you have a similar program at your organization? Tell us how it’s working for you.