At Cox, we support a culture of lifelong learning and personal growth rather than cookie-cutter career paths and rigid corporate ladders. Here’s how the Cox Gigs program helps employees stretch themselves professionally.
We all have a different approach to growing in our careers. Some enjoy taking courses on their own time, while others benefit from building a close bond with a mentor. Then there are those who love learning on the job.
You can find all of this and more at Cox. In fact, one of our development programs at Cox is for those who like gaining experience doing real, hands-on work.
Cox Gigs allows employees to take on a stretch assignment anywhere within our network of companies. Each gig is a short-term, part-time assignment for a defined project in a different department or division. It gives people a chance to get outside of their day-to-day jobs for a few hours a week while honing their skills or developing new ones — and making connections along the way.
We chatted with two Cox employees who’ve participated in the program. Here’s how Cox Gigs has changed their careers for the better.
Leveling up skills and confidence at work
Matt Kriess is what you’d call a seasoned pro at Cox: he’s been with the company for 17 years and is a leader in his own department. And yet, he was one of the first people to jump at the chance to sign up for Cox Gigs’ pilot program in 2021.
“I wanted to do something totally different outside of my comfort zone,” he said.
So Matt, who works in field operations at Cox Communications, went out for a gig with human resources. With his leader’s support, he blocked out time from his calendar to dedicate a few hours to his gig outside of his day job for a few months.
Matt’s original gig — reviewing HR research vendors — turned into a highly visible project at the company. By the end of the gig, Matt and his team presented their findings to senior leaders, who ultimately took their recommendations.
“It started out with just me, but then a band got put together and I took on the role as a project lead,” he said.
Matt says that even for someone who is advanced in their career, there’s a lot to be gained from working on a project with a different team. During his gig, Matt leveraged leadership expertise while gaining practical experience in other areas, like project management and presenting.
Matt’s gig was also one of his major talking points during the interview process for his latest role at Cox.
“That gig I did has yielded so many fruits, from benefits to my career to the connections and relationships I’ve made,” he said. “Doing something totally different also gave me a lot more confidence.”
A networking vehicle
Erin Keating was a new full-time employee at Cox Automotive when she talked to her manager about signing up for a Cox gig in 2022.
Erin, who was working in enterprise data strategy at the time, saw the program as an opportunity to establish connections organically.
“The program allows you to explore Cox’s organization in a meaningful way — it’s especially good for those who maybe don’t feel as comfortable reaching out and introducing themselves,” she said.
She came across a gig as a coordinator with the corporate social responsibility team at Cox Enterprises, planning social impact events in three cities over the summer. This was a perfect match with Erin’s experience in event planning.
“I’ve owned my own event production company before and I oversaw events and other companies,” she said. “So, to me, this is a pretty easy way for me to leverage skills that I know like the back of my hand and add value pretty quickly.”
Erin said that the connections she made were priceless.
“Not only did I meet colleagues, but I made friends whom I still keep in touch with and see on campus,” she said. “[Cox Gigs] doesn’t necessarily need to be about obtaining new skills; it can be about obtaining new relationships and perspectives, and bringing existing skills to the table.”
Erin continues growing in her career path — she was recently promoted to a senior director role — while pitching in on informal projects across other teams now and then.
“Going through a Cox Gig equipped me and my boss to constantly look for opportunities to partner with other teams,” she said. “I ended up doing a project with the communications team because of my marketing and comms background, even though I work on the data data side now.”
A full-circle moment
A year after Matt participated in the Cox Gigs pilot program, he posted up a gig and brought on someone with insurance experience to lend their expertise on his team, which handled property damage claims.
“She came in and gave her consulting advice for me and the team, but she also got to learn a lot on the gig as well,” he said. “She got to see how my team works within teams and shared information and took that out of the gig. It was pretty cool.”