In today's competitive job market, attracting and retaining elite talent is crucial for organizations seeking to thrive and grow. To gain insights into this topic, we turn to Lily Mittman, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition at the Morning Brew. Morning Brew was founded in 2015 by Austin and Alex, two business students who identified a gap in the market for digestible and engaging news content for young professionals. Since then, Morning Brew has grown into a media company with millions of subscribers, multiple publications, podcasts, video content, and a strong social media presence.
Building a Strong Employer Brand
One of the key factors in attracting elite talent is having a strong employer brand. Lily emphasizes the importance of brand loyalty and recognition in attracting top talent. She shares how Morning Brew has seen a significant increase in brand awareness and excitement among potential candidates. By creating engaging and digestible content, Morning Brew has built a loyal readership of over 4 million subscribers.
Lily highlights the significance of being intentional about inclusivity and equity in the job search process. Morning Brew actively partners with diverse communities and networks to cast a wide net and ensure a diverse pool of talent. By posting jobs on specialized platforms and engaging with diverse communities, Morning Brew aims to create a sense of representation and belonging for all candidates.
"We try to immerse ourselves in some of these communities...we have partnerships with...diversity networks where we are utilizing their platform by posting our jobs, creating content, getting involved in any sort of like virtual events or hiring events or job fairs."
Minimizing Bias in the Interview Process
To minimize bias in the interview process, Morning Brew has implemented interview standardization. Lily explains that every candidate is evaluated based on the same criteria, ensuring a fair and consistent evaluation process. The focus is on assessing candidates' alignment with the company's core values rather than personal preferences or biases.
Morning Brew also emphasizes the importance of diverse interview panels. By ensuring diversity within the interview panel, candidates get a glimpse of the company's commitment to inclusivity and diversity. This approach helps create a sense of belonging and representation, making candidates more likely to choose Morning Brew as their employer.
Retaining Elite Talent through a Fun and Inclusive Culture
Morning Brew places a strong emphasis on creating a fun and inclusive company culture to retain elite talent. Lily explains that the company's culture is catered towards young professionals, and it is important to provide an environment that is both engaging and enjoyable. Morning Brew achieves this through various initiatives, such as Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), the Culture Club, and virtual events.
The ERGs at Morning Brew provide a space for employees to connect with others who share similar backgrounds or interests. These groups are optional, allowing employees to choose their level of involvement. The Culture Club organizes lunch and learn sessions where employees can hear from their colleagues about their experiences, fostering a sense of community and understanding.
Morning Brew also organizes fun virtual events like Drag Bingo, which allows employees to socialize and have a good time together. These initiatives aim to create a sense of inclusivity and belonging, making employees feel valued and engaged.
Career Growth and Internal Transfers
Morning Brew recognizes the importance of providing clear career growth opportunities to retain top talent. The company is in the process of defining career ladders and growth trajectories for each position. By working closely with senior leaders, Morning Brew aims to provide employees with a clear understanding of their career paths and the associated compensation.
In addition to defining career paths, Morning Brew actively encourages internal transfers. Employees are given the opportunity to explore different roles within the company, fostering a sense of growth and development. This approach not only helps retain talented individuals but also allows employees to gain diverse experiences and contribute to different teams.
"We want people to feel like there's a lot of growth trajectory for them and a lot of opportunity, even if it's outside of the position or the team that they're in right now."
Listening to Employees and Taking Action
Morning Brew places a strong emphasis on listening to its employees and taking action based on their feedback. The company conducts engagement surveys twice a year to gather insights and identify areas for improvement. Lily emphasizes the importance of acting on the feedback received and implementing changes that align with employees' needs and aspirations.
Morning Brew's engagement surveys have led to the implementation of various initiatives, such as mentorship programs. The company recognized the desire for mentorship opportunities among its employees and created a voluntary mentorship program. This program pairs junior employees with more senior mentors from different departments, allowing for knowledge sharing and guidance.
Conclusion and Future Outlook
Attracting and retaining elite talent requires a multifaceted approach that focuses on building a strong employer brand, minimizing bias in the interview process, fostering a fun and inclusive culture, providing clear career growth opportunities, and listening to employees' feedback. Morning Brew's success in attracting and retaining top talent can be attributed to its commitment to these principles.
As organizations continue to navigate the evolving job market, it is essential to prioritize the needs and aspirations of employees. By creating an environment that values diversity, fosters inclusivity, and provides opportunities for growth, organizations can attract and retain elite talent. Morning Brew's approach serves as a valuable example for organizations seeking to build a high-performing and engaged workforce.
"I think focusing on having a really strong employer brand is the first key to retaining elite talent, is making sure people really know who you are and what you're about."
Note: This article is based on a conversation with Lily Mittman on the HR Impact Show. All quotes are verbatim from the transcript of the conversation.