Amazing HR and Recruiting Brands

By Anthony SillsAnthony is a freelance writer who has contributed to publications and sites such as The New England Job Show, “The Historic Westside,” and Green City Times. He is currently working on his first book.

a•maz•ing (adj.): so extraordinary or wonderful as to be barely believable or to cause extreme surprise

Here’s a look at some companies that have created an HR brand and reputation which makes people desperately want to work for them. See what they’re doing differently, and why what they’re doing is working for them.

Google awesome workplace

According to’s 4th annual survey of employee job satisfaction, fewer than 15% of employees are “extremely” satisfied with their current job, and 65% are looking around for new work. Meanwhile, nearly 80% of responding managers don’t believe that their employees will initiate a job search in the next three months.

Confused? Apparently so are most managers. They don’t actually have their pulse on what employees really think about the company. In order to develop an amazing workplace brand, you need to listen to the people who define ‘amazing’—your employees.

Caring about employees

After spending a decade as a salesperson, Shaneia Stewart has worked with many different people and been exposed to various corporate cultures. As a Mid Market Sales Executive for Vocus, a provider of cloud-based marketing and PR software, Stewart doesn’t hesitate to describe her employer as ‘amazing’ and can readily explain exactly why she loves her job. 

“I absolutely love working for Vocus. There are a lot of companies that say they take care of their employees… Vocus has a reputation of hiring only the best.  They are extremely selective.  It’s also widely known in our area that they take great care of their employees.”

Vocus is headquartered in Beltsville, MD and has been recognized repeatedly as one of the area’s best places to work, most recently in 2008 as one of the Washington Business Journal’s Best Places to Work. Employees enjoy many perks such as a headquarters that boasts a music lounge, a fully equipped gym and full basketball court, a spa, a café, a juice bar, free candy for employees, a competitive salary and benefits package, an open-door policy, and monthly training and development.

Office Perks

Jennifer Butson, Marketing Director for Select Start Studios in Ottawa, Ontario is similarly enthusiastic about her employer. After working for herself for two years, she joined Select Start Studios and now can’t imagine working anywhere else.

Select Start is a mobile software studio that started in a coffee shop, and today employs more than 20 people from Canada to San Francisco. Butson recounted several positive things about her employer, like her assertion that “Going to work every day is fun because you get to be around awesome, intelligent people.”

Select Start Studios not only offers a comprehensive benefits package (“Our full benefits program is completely covered by the company. We get our salaries and health and dental too!”) but the headquarters has no walls or closed offices to break up communication. Employees enjoy hack days, LAN nights, company paintball outings, Xbox, Nintendo, a 27″ cinema display for the office, the choice of MacBook Air or Pro to keep after their first three months, and training in the form of workshop days and inspiring talks.

It’s not just the perks that keep Jennifer excited. Just like Shaneia Stewart, Butson genuinely feels that management trusts the employees and cares about them personally and professionally. In addition to offering employees flexibility in scheduling and workflows, both of these companies support their employees’ out-of-work activities.

white office NVIDIA helsinki

NVIDIA’s Helsinki office. Miettinen

Butson recounts something that happened in the office. “Recently one of our team members raised money for Movember, and he made a verbal deal with our COO to match donations at the end of the month. Even though donations reached an impressive $2000, our COO still matched every dollar. He definitely held up his end of the deal.” 

This corresponds with Bersin & Associates recent research study The Top Best Practices for the High-Impact HR Organization, which notes:

High-impact HR organizations tend to commit themselves to creating work environments that enable employees to thrive both as individuals and as contributors to business success. They strive to create positive employee environments, and clearly communicate these expectations in the HR philosophy and mission. The most effective philosophies focus on fostering innovation and collaboration, or creating the best place to work, while the least effective philosophies focus narrowly on efficiency or cost-cutting efforts.

What are these companies doing differently and why is it working for them? As Jessica Stillman recently observed in Inc Magazine, when attracting top talent, “It’s not about the money.”


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