During a difficult year of economic uncertainty and waves of industry layoffs, Crossmedia found success through its company mantra: “trust, reason and the pursuit of happiness.” The media agency grew its headcount by 35% during 2022, attributable in part to “having a profound respect for [employees] and their thoughts and continually asking,” said Jennifer Dela Rosa, Crossmedia’s head of communications, environment and design.
Crossmedia rented summer vacation houses for employees to work from
The agency has formalized many of its pandemic policies, such as the ability to work remotely and personalize flexible schedules. Dela Rosa explained the past three years established a mentality of protecting and supporting its ranks during hard times—a reason that Crossmedia has avoided laying off employees.
“Frankly, the idea of turning someone out in those times, given what the world was going through—it just was cruel,” said Dela Rosa. “So what we decided was, we were going to do everything in our power to make sure our people were OK,” including senior leadership taking smaller salaries and pausing 401(k) contributions (which have since been restored) to maintain jobs.
Crossmedia’s mutual trust with employees has also yielded rewards. The agency’s revenue grew 18% in 2021 and 28% in 2022. Employees enjoyed new benefits such as “XM Summer Haus,” in which staff could work from houses the agency rented in California, Connecticut and along the Jersey Shore.
“What we know we’ve all lost a little bit of during COVID is the organic sense of community, sitting side-by-side with people day in and day out and having conversation and collaboration in person,” said Kristen Metzger, Crossmedia’s chief people officer.
As Crossmedia continues to grow, it intends to uphold its commitments to culture and community—what Metzger called “scale with soul.”
“Being an independent agency and founder-led, [CEO] Kamran Asghar feels strongly about maintaining the connection with every single one of our employees, despite the fact that we've grown so significantly and so quickly,” said Metzger. “We feel really proud that the sentiments that made people stay when we were 12 people are the same things we hear when we’re 300 people.”
What will set apart Crossmedia as a Best Place to Work amid the challenges of 2023?
CEO Kamran Asghar: “Ironically, I think what will set Crossmedia apart in 2023 is exactly what got us here—namely, our values and the belief in doing media the right way. Being single-minded in purpose combined with the power of independence gives us the ability to call our own shots and has enabled us to thrive during tough times.”