Promoting From Within

Since the pandemic of 2020, the job market has been anything but steady. Large corporations have been announcing mass layoffs, and employees are resigning from their jobs in record numbers. This has a major impact on both employees and employers. Not only does this affect the company’s operations, but it can also diminish employee morale, disrupt routines, and negatively impact the company culture.

As a company, Fleet Response places a strong emphasis on employee retention, employee satisfaction and employee advancement. We routinely survey our employees to explore new ways to make our workplace a better experience for all. Additionally, one of the main focuses at Fleet Response is investing in the professional growth and development of our employees to prepare them for career advancement and internal promotion opportunities.

Growth by the Numbers

Over the last few years, Fleet Response has been experiencing significant growth. As of April 2023, Fleet Response has 341 employees (57% female, 43% male), with an average employee tenure of five years and three months.

Kurt Berry accepting his 2015 Employee of the Year Award

We have several employees who have been with the company for 15 or more years. One of which is Analytics Engineer, Kurt Berry. Berry joined the team in 2005 as a call center representative before a handful of promotions and role changes landed him in the IT department. He has seen the continual growth of Fleet Response firsthand. “We had about 50 total employees and an IT team of four when I joined in 2005. Today we have well over 300 employees and 25 in the IT department, which is incredible growth,” said Berry.

When asked why he stays at Fleet Response, He said “Because I’m happy. Plain and simple. I stay at Fleet Response because our leadership cares about people, we do great work, and because I’m happy. I know a ton of people who get a pit in their stomach on Sunday nights, or on the drive to work because they don’t like what they do. I don’t have that here.”

Roger Cervenka joined the team in 2016 as the Vice President of Client Services. He oversees the operations of the company which includes the call center, claims, subrogation, and salvage teams. “In 2016, the operations groups totaled 85 people, and right now we have about 250 employees throughout the operations teams. This is a significant amount of growth for a seven-year time period,” Cervenka explained. With the unique needs of our clients and the diversification of our service offerings, growth was essential to keep up with the demand. “We’ve expanded our offerings and grew in different areas of the market including third-party claims, general liability, property subrogation, medical subrogation, and arbitration,” said Cervenka.

A Culture that Breeds Success

Aside from external hiring efforts, Fleet Response and the executive leadership team work hard to create and maintain a strong culture that puts employees in a position to succeed and advance within the company. From January of 2022 – March of 2023, Fleet Response had 63 total positional promotions, which includes department transfers such as call center to claims, as well as promotions to a Senior Representative or Team Lead position. In addition, 15 leadership promotions were carried out, which include supervisory and managerial roles.

A key factor to positioning employees for success is maintaining a strong culture. A healthy corporate culture allows employees to feel empowered to make a difference and feel that their voices are being heard. “Our culture is very family oriented, and it shows,” said Call Center Supervisor, Colleen Dietrich. “No matter who you are, and what walk of life you’re from, Fleet Response will embrace it. I enjoy the different outlooks from everybody. No matter who you are, you have a voice, and it matters,” she went on to say. Dietrich, who has been with the company since 2019, has played a vital role in the success and development of our call center department. She has received numerous awards in her short time with the company including two employee of the month awards and winning the employee of the year award in 2022. 

A strong culture not only ensures employees that their voices are heard, but also that their work and ideas are appreciated. Fleet Response places a strong emphasis on employee recognition and rewarding employees for their contributions. “It makes me happy to work at a company where people matter. Our leadership shows their appreciation and I think that stands out and makes us want to work harder because we care about our job, the work we do, and our clients,” said Dietrich.

Building a “Yes” Company

Fleet Response Senior Director of Client Services, Kari Hagan, has been with the company for just over 10 years and oversees the business analyst team, client engagement, safety team, and special projects. She describes Fleet Response as a ‘Yes’ company. “When I first started, I would ask ‘Have we ever thought about doing this?’ or ‘Can we do this?’ and the answer was always ‘sure, how do we want to do that?’ As long as you’re willing to put in the work to make it happen, it was always a yes. That is so empowering if you want to make a change and want to bring new ideas. It really creates opportunities to where you can go with your role.”

Three of the teams Hagan oversees did not exist when she joined the company in 2013. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we had a whole new department in 5 years that we aren’t even talking about right now.”

When it comes to promotions and internal advancement, Fleet Response is open and accommodating to employees seeking new opportunities or challenges. A prime example of this is Claims Manager, Jessica Jeko. Jeko is approaching her 10-year anniversary with the company and has held a variety of positions including Call Center Representative, Claims Representative, Senior Claims Representative, Subrogation Specialist, Claims Supervisor, and her current role as Claims Manager. “Fleet Response was always so open and willing to prepare you for that next role. Every time I’ve said, ‘I want something more, I want more responsibility,’ they’ve always found a way to make that happen,” said Jeko.

Benefits of Promoting From Within

In order to prepare employees for internal advancement opportunities, Fleet Response developed the Leadership Education and Development (LEaD) program in 2018. The goal of the LEaD program is to provide employees with the opportunity to not only learn, but also get hands-on leadership experience to help them compete for future promotions and grow professionally. It also allows employees to sit down with Fleet Response leaders and hear about their stories, experiences, challenges that they’ve overcome, and what has made them so successful. Many of the past participants have gone on for promotions, both leadership positions and other advancements within the company.

Promoting from within proves beneficial to both the employee and the company, explains Roger Cervenka. He breaks it down into three key parts – knowledge, culture, and motivation. “When promoting someone internally, they already know the business model, the culture, and our customers. Culture wise, they understand our mission, values, and what makes us unique. Finally, we have many supervisors and managers that started in the call center, claims and subrogation departments.”

Companies that promote internally often have strong employee retention, as it shows employees that they are valued. In addition, employees may be more motivated and loyal to the company. If you walk around the Fleet Response headquarters, you will notice our loyalty wall, showcasing employees that have been with the company for at least 5, 10, and 15 or more years. Currently, Fleet Response has:

  • 103 employees with 5+ years of tenure
  • 49 employees with 10+ years of tenure
  • 35 employees with 15+ years of tenure

Hagan agrees the benefits of internal promotions are evident. “The benefit of hiring from within is that you have the Fleet Response knowledge of who we are, who our clients are, and allows an employee to get up to speed much quicker and continue the relationships with our clients, which is so important. If we can build on those relationships, it makes us a more powerful company and a more valuable company to our clients. Any time we have the opportunity to promote from within, I know they are going to bring a wealth of knowledge that may take an external hire years to develop.”

Benefits of Department Transfers

In addition to internal promotions, Fleet Response supports and even encourages employees who wish to join another department within the company. Whether it be from the Call Center to Claims, Claims to Subrogation, or Claims to Business Development, having experience in multiple departments can be extremely advantageous for the employee and the company.

“Being in multiple departments has been priceless for my career,” says Berry. “For example, I do a lot of work with our phone systems. Having that experience in the Call Center and knowing what it’s like to be on the other end of that phone is extremely beneficial.”

Claims Manager, Jessica Jeko, has been with Fleet Response for 10 years and has experience in three different departments within the company. “If I hadn’t started in the Call Center, I would not be where I am today. I learned about all of our clients, and that set me up to understand different types of claims and different situations. Being in the Subrogation department gave me an understanding of how everything ties together and ultimately made me a better claims representative. It allowed me to be able to explain our subrogation services to a client without needing to ask a subrogation contact,” said Jeko.

Recently, Fleet Response has started offering internal internship opportunities for employees who are interested in getting experience in another department. Specifically, positions in the IT and client development departments. “Department transfers are very beneficial to the employee learning a new skillset and a different side of the business, but also equally beneficial to the department that now has knowledge from someone on the other side of the business,” explains Hagan. “The more you can see the big picture of the company and understand how everything contributes to our success, the more impactful you will be and the better you will be at your job. It’s a win-win across the board.”

A Look into the Future

We asked some of our leaders where they see Fleet Response in five years from now. As our teams, service offerings, and clients continue to grow, its evident that we have no signs of slowing down in the coming years.

“Three areas that we will continue to invest in are people, services, and technology,” said Cervenka. “We’ve seen incredible growth in the past five years and expect to double in size over the next five years. We will continue to expand our offerings and maintain our spot as the number one specialized TPA in the industry. We are also heavily investing in technology, and creating efficiencies for our processes, our people, and our clients.”

Berry agrees and is excited about the future of Fleet Response’s technology capabilities. “I don’t know exactly where we will be, but I do know we will leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning.” Berry also assured that this will not eliminate jobs but will make them more efficient.

Along with continued growth, our operations teams are looking forward to implementing new systems to improve our processes, efficiencies, and streamline reporting capabilities.

Our 2023 summer internship class is our biggest yet, with 20 college students joining our team until early August. The students will be working in claims, subrogation, marketing, IT, business development, as well as working on various group projects and assisting with events.

The future of Fleet Response is bright. We cannot wait to see what will come in the next five years and we will continue to invest in our people, our offerings, and our tools in order to provide industry leading service to our clients nationwide.


Be a part of our growth! View our open positions to see if Fleet Response is right for you. Your career starts HERE.