Career Mobility: Advancing Your Career in a Large Organization

November 2020

Career Mobility: Advancing Your Career in a Large Organization

Finding the just-right career opportunity is like coming home.

At Key, we support our teammates with work-life balance, an inclusive environment, exceptional benefits, plus comprehensive career development resources and guidance—all designed to keep you moving forward.

“As a Fortune 500 company, KeyCorp is a place you can thrive,” according to Christina Cashin, Head of Enterprise Talent Management. “We think about career development here as a continuous, multifaceted and personalized process.”

Leverage all the people and support mechanisms you can, she advised, but remember too, that a successful career is largely self-driven.

Key’s Development Framework provides a structure to help Key team members accelerate their careers through Coaching & Feedback, Exposure, Education and Experience.

“This framework is based on the popular 70:20:10 model of performance-oriented workplace learning,” Cashin said, “recognizing that most development (as much as 70%) happens on the job... with different types of experiences that challenge you to stretch outside your comfort zone.”

Approximately 20% of professional growth is thought to be attributable to relationships, and only about 10% of learning happens through formal training and education.

“The best way to develop is through broad exposure and a full range of experiences, training and assessment,” acknowledged Carole Torres, Chief Learning Officer and Head of Enterprise Training. “Each type of learning builds on the other. You’ll do well to view career advancement as a journey.”

Coaching & Feedback

“The first way to get ahead is to do your current job and do it well,” Torres asserted. “Having regular conversations with your manager is one of the best and simplest gauges in understanding how you are performing and what opportunities exist for further advancement. You can’t underestimate the role of your manager in helping you advance your career.”

“The opportunity for development exists in each and every role,” added Cashin. “You can learn every day in everything you do. The point is to seek advice and insight.”

This can be accomplished, she said, through a variety of channels, including direct supervisor feedback, peer feedback, 360 feedback, mentoring and one-on-one coaching.

Two innovative technologies that aid Key team members in this endeavor are:

  • Key’s Career Development Portal – an interactive tool for development planning and assessments with learning paths and career-related tips to help teammates achieve their career goals; and
  • MentorMe at Key – a platform that helps all interested team members to find and/or become a mentor.

“We have more than 500 matches and 74% of those are from cross-lines of business,” Torres noted of the mentor program. “This tool allows you to really expand your network.”

She also pointed out that more than half of the matches differ in gender and ethnic background. “The diversity the tool enables is an unexpected—but very much appreciated—benefit.”


Financial services is a relationship business, so it follows that making connections and building long-term, positive associations are part of every job description at Key.

“Equally important is exposure to the many facets of our business,” suggested Cashin. “Keep in mind that career moves can be up, down or lateral.” A variety of experience is what will get you noticed, she said. “Exposure to other teammates and lines of business is a very smart career growth strategy.”

To broaden your perspective and network, our experts said, you might consider job shadowing or observation, informational interviewing, attending networking events, participating in one of many interest groups at Key, joining professional associations, and volunteering or otherwise becoming involved in the community.

“Our leaders and managers always are happy to share insights and talk about their roles with people inside and outside our organization,” Torres pointed out. “And once you’re a Key teammate, you’ll have access to a robust intranet where every line of business is described in detail, along with key contact information.”


To gain practical knowledge, skills and abilities, ask for a stretch assignment, suggested Torres. “Often at Key, we are able to expand our responsibilities or even take on a special assignment from another area within the corporation.”

“There is no rule that says we have to color within the lines… stay in one department. Get out of your comfort zone,” Cashin challenged. “And don’t hold out for the high-profile assignment.” Key offers myriad opportunities to participate in cross-functional and enterprise-level projects, she noted.

“Those experiences are what give an individual incredible depth and well-roundedness—and, frankly, a leg up. It’s generally these people we see move into leadership roles more quickly. We try to instill in people to not think of their career as a vertical ladder, but rather to be willing to accept a lateral move to fill a gap. For some of us, career growth is a lattice or curvy path.”

“Raise your hand,” urged Cashin. “Let people know you’re interested in getting more experience. In addition to the learning that takes place when you volunteer for extra projects, you gain confidence and get noticed.”


“Of course, many formal learning opportunities are available to our team members as well,” Torres emphasized. These range from internal workshops, skill-building classes and self-study opportunities to continuing education, industry and professional certifications, and conferences. Key offers an array of training resources and programs you can use to gain expertise and experience.

“An important thing to keep in mind with all these strategies and tools,” Cashin advised, “is to start early and use them often.”

Make a plan, our experts counseled, and take action now. Don’t wait until a new opportunity presents itself to build your network, find a mentor, learn new skills and seek actionable feedback.