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How Your Company’s Brand Boosts Employee Retention | S2:E14

  • Episode 14
  • 'Inside Executive Search' Podcast

    Attracting, selecting, and retaining top talent is a challenge for many businesses. Join long-time executive search professional Scott Peterson, alongside Steve Yakesh, President of Direct Hire & Executive Leadership Search at one of the leading executive search firms, to discuss insights and techniques to assist companies to achieve their best results. If you’re an executive leader looking for advice on hiring the best talent for your company, you’ll want to hear this advice from these industry experts.

    Steve Yakesh | President, Direct Hire & Executive Leadership Search

    As President of Direct Hire & Executive Search, Steve Yakesh leads Versique’s award-winning permanent placement division with more than 20 years of experience. Additionally, he guides strategy for Versique’s twelve practice areas, including IT, HR, Finance & Accounting, Engineering & Operations, Sales, CPG, Digital Marketing, Executive Retained Search, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Family Owned and Demand Generation.

    Scott Peterson | Vice President, Executive Leadership Search

    Scott Peterson leads the Retained Executive Search division at Versique as the Senior Practice Director. In his role, Scott fills critically-important senior level positions such as CEO, CFO, CIO, COO. Scott has over 20 years of experience in executive recruiting. Additionally, Scott has also served on the Board of Directors the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation, Medina Golf and Country Club, as well as several youth sports organizations.

    Podcast Transcription

    [00:00:02] ANNOUNCER Get ready for your weekly dose of talent, strategies, and tactics from industry leaders to help you attract, select, and retain your top talent. You’re listening to Versique’s Inside Executive Search with Steve Yakesh and Scott Peterson.
    [00:00:23] SY Hello and welcome to the Inside Executive Search Podcast. My name is Steve Yakesh. This podcast is for business owners, executive, and board members seeking strategies and tactics to attract, select, and retain the very best. If you’re curious on how to do that, keep listening. This podcast will help you get there. That said, I’d like to bring in the iconic Scott Peterson.
    [00:00:47] SP Every week, you come up with a different descriptor of me.
    [00:00:51] SY Well, iconic is good.
    [00:00:52] SP Iconic is good. It’s the end of the year. We’re right before the holidays. Thanks for the intro, Steve.
    [00:00:57] SY Always. Today, we’re going to go back in the archives and resurrect. Well, what we kind of talked about is brand and employee brand at companies and how important that is to attract the right talent but also to retain the right talent. So we have a special guest today, Collette Litzinger from Jamf Software. Collette is the talent brand manager there, and we’re going to let her sort of describe and introduce us to Jamf and what she does there. So welcome to the podcast.
    [00:01:26] CL Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.
    [00:01:28] SY Absolutely. So tell us a little bit about Jamf Software for the listeners that are unfamiliar with who Jamf is.
    [00:01:35] CL Sure. Well, Jamf is basically the standard for Apple in enterprise. So our platform basically brings that experience that Apple consumers enjoy every day to businesses, schools, government organizations, etc. via a remote platform that handles IT functions such as updating, deploying, and securing the devices.
    [00:01:59] SP So if my kid, for example, is on a big school district and they’ve got Apple products, would Jamf be the one to manage all that?
    [00:02:08] CL Exactly.
    [00:02:09] SP And keep it kind of updated and the new iOS and everything else that goes with that?
    [00:02:14] CL Exactly, yeah. That’s a perfect example. So setting the permissions. Those permissions might be different for students than they are for teachers and kind of deploying and updating and keeping those devices managed just like an IT person would but from a remote-based stuff called base software.
    [00:02:31] SP That’s good for phones, iPads, IMAX. IMAX, is that a thing?
    [00:02:36] SY No.
    [00:02:36] SP MacBooks.
    [00:02:37] SY MacBooks. Yeah.
    [00:02:37] CL MacBooks. Yup.
    [00:02:39] SY All right. Well, we have recently had an opportunity to partner with Jamf on some recruiting projects, and that’s when we got introduced to what we were blown away with as Jamf talent brand and the thoughtfulness that have gotten into it and just some of the documents that you guys shared with us. I mean, they’re pretty powerful. So that led us to reach out to you, the creator of it. So tell us a little bit, Collette, why did Jamf recognize the importance of talent brand and decide to invest not only in it but to bring a marketer with your expertise in to do and create that?
    [00:03:18] CL Sure. Well, it’s a new position. Talent brand manager is a new position for Jamf. The nice thing about that is I’m kind of building it and creating it as we kind of go along. But really, I mean, the marketplace just continues to get more and more competitive for candidates, especially qualified candidates, and that’s really true in Europe as well. We have offices in Poland and Amsterdam, as well as Japan and Australia. In some of those locations, tech companies are aplenty, and they’re really strong in their brand presence and in their talent brand presence as well. If you don’t kind of stack up, not only as a thought leader in the tech industry but as an employer, you just can’t compete in those markets. That’s the same here in the US as well. So we just kind of need to manage our application as an employer and make sure that Jamf is a top of mind career choice.
    [00:04:14] SY Awesome. So Jamf brought you in to – You kind of had a blank slate I’m assuming. How did you go about figuring out how are we going to build this to what it is today?
    [00:04:27] CL Sure.
    [00:04:27] SP We have a job for you and we don’t know what it is, but you’re going to help us get there. So how do you get there?
    [00:04:32] CL Yeah. Well, I come from a background of about 20 years of experience in marketing and brand strategy. So I just – I worked up within the client side and the agency side. So I would come into organizations and kind of help them develop their brand strategy, whether that’s a master brand level or an employment brand level. So I just kind of went into Jamf, doing what I normally would do. But really, one of the primary goals for us was establishing our messaging platform. How do we really tell the Jamf story as an employer and what does that story look like?
    [00:05:07] SY That story, is it obviously online digitally, especially from a employment standpoint, so like a LinkedIn and I don’t know what the other platforms you guys utilize. But I’m assuming there’s consistency online, in person with a candidate, in print. There’s that. It had to be part of the process, right?
    [00:05:29] CL Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, first, we kind of have to develop our messaging platform and kind of figure out what our story. It’s kind of basically how do we tell that story to the world through all of the touch points that our audiences interact with our brand. So website, social media, job boards, job postings, even events in video.
    [00:05:47] SP Yeah. Was that really inconsistent before you got there and implement it? Or how were they doing it?
    [00:05:51] CL I wouldn’t say that it was inconsistent but I’m not sure that it really told the authentic experience of what it’s really like to work there. I think that we used a lot of buzz words. Certainly, it wasn’t a bad messaging strategy, but I think we just needed to elevate it and dig a little bit deeper into how do we relay, communicate, and get across, like what it’s really like to work there for candidates who are just looking at a website and don’t have the in-house or actual experience of being on the inside.
    [00:06:21] SP Yeah. Or know somebody there that could speak to it, whatever.
    [00:06:23] CL Exactly. Yup. Yeah.
    [00:06:25] SY So tell us a little bit about how did you create that messaging. What’s that process or what was your process to do that?
    [00:06:30] CL Sure. Well, there’s a few things that go into it. I mean, first, we did a competitor audit and kind of looked at some of the competitive organizations, as well as aspirin organizations and looked at how they are telling their story. We have to not only know what we’re up against and measure up but we have to stand out. So that was kind of the first thing. Also just looking at our reviews on our job boards, as well as any employment surveys that we currently have out there. So just kind of digging in and gathering as much insight as I could. But I think the biggest thing that really brought that messaging foundation together was I ended up doing about 20 or so focus groups around the organization to basically gain insight and talking with employees on really what is the authentic experience like working at Jamf. Those 20 groups were broken out between job categories, locations, tenure with the company, and seeing if there’s differences in sentiment, differences in the experiences, and differences in just the emotional connection that people have with the brand.
    [00:07:41] SY Very cool.
    [00:07:43] SP We have global locations. Do you tweak the messaging for some of the European locations versus Minneapolis or Eau Claire?
    [00:07:53] CL Yeah. I mean, that’s a really interesting question. I think that as I was conducting all of these focus groups that were definitely key messages that rose to the top that were consistent among all groups, and that kind of becomes like the primary messaging platform. But any differences fell into what we call audience personas, and there are some slight differences. The messaging platform itself is the same, but there might be different levers that we pull more stronger in certain locations than we would in others. So, for instance, in Poland, the Apple brand is kind of considered a fancy brand, and it doesn’t necessarily have as big of a draw in that market. But our messaging platform as it relates to helping people with technology and making a difference for the user and impacting people’s lives is going to be more of like an awareness message. In Poland, whereas in Amsterdam and the UK, Apple is a very prominent brand, and that partnership is going to be a big draw for that market. So it’s just kind of like which lever do we pull based on their – Where they’re at in their decision-making path.
    [00:09:05] SP What are you using it for to attract talent or is it more a company brand for business branding versus the talent branding, and I’m sure there’s – I’m sure you’re – Those 20 focus groups showed you a lot of really cool things, what the company is doing but also areas where, “Hey! We can improve here too.” To be able to bring that back to the talent or the messaging from human resources and the rest of the company was probably pretty impactful for you guys.
    [00:09:31] CL Yeah. I mean, I was coming – New coming into the organization. So for me to even tackle the messaging platform if I don’t meet with employees and talk to them and kind of learn about what the authentic experiences and how that’s consistent among all groups, then I’m just really making it up now. That’s not – That’s definitely not what we want to do. We want to make sure messaging is the same experience that were delivered.
    [00:09:54] SP Then your employees know like, “Hey! I was part of giving that feedback.” If you see it now, it [inaudible 00:10:00] what that looks like messaging. You’re like, “Yes. That’s what I said. That’s what we said as a group.” That really is impactful for them from a retention and, hey, they’re listening to us as employees of the company.
    [00:10:11] CL Yeah. I think that’s actually the best part about it is that messaging platform was actually created by Jamf employee. That might have like strung it together and put – Filled that in a little bit and turned it into a messaging platform. But really, I mean, it really did come through for our people, which makes it true. It makes people – You have to feel it. Our candidates have to be able to feel that.
    [00:10:33] SP Yeah. That’s very, very cool.
    [00:10:35] SY Two-part question. How are you utilizing it today and then where do you see it changing or additions to in the future for attracting talent to Jamf?
    [00:10:48] CL Sure. Well, it’s kind of never done. That’s one thing. But I think right now, we’re kind of staging the house before we put the house on the market. So we have the messaging platform but we also really need the visual language that supports that. That’s something that our competitors are doing really, really well, especially overseas. Talent brand has kind of – They’re a little bit ahead of the curve I would say than we are a little bit in the US. But they really have that visual. Photography and video that really support and shows the experience, and people are so visible, that visual that those two things really have to come together. So we actually just recently finished a photo shoot and video shoot so that we can kind of develop those assets and those communication materials that we can show that experience online through our website or through our job boards or through social media.
    [00:11:44] SP You got the words. Now, you got the pictures and the video. You marry those together, and that, like you said, some of your competitors are a little bit ahead of that. So catching up to that sounds like 2020 will be the year to do that.
    [00:11:56] CL Yeah. Exactly. We’re just kind of like developing all those go-to market strategies and executing.
    [00:12:04] SY Well, I think too, if I put myself in a candidate’s seat and I see the Jamf online, whether it’s via the words or videos. But then I show up for my first live experience and I see it, what I’ve captured online. Then I hear it consistently, whether it’s interviewing what might be my hiring manager, whether it’s talking to somebody in talent acquisition or maybe a pure mine if I do join the company. I can only assume that helps the consistency of the messaging, both through conversation and in online.
    [00:12:45] CL Exactly. Yeah. I mean, that experience in all those touch points, whether those are personal through an interview or just kind of doing research on your own through a website or social media, that has to be consistent. It has to be compelling and it has to feel authentic. So that has to be true, because again we can’t communicate one thing and deliver a different experience. This is kind of brand 101.
    [00:13:11] SP We’ve talked through other podcasts about how do you attract talent, and you have to have a compelling story. You have to have a compelling reason for me to want to take the phone call from Jamf or reply or respond to that ad. I think building a compelling story has been a theme of ours throughout our podcast, and it’s great to hear that that’s resonating down to a talent brand strategy. I guess it confirms what we’re talking about on our podcast, which is great.
    [00:13:37] SY I think in a roundabout way, it probably helps from a retention standpoint, because as the candidates are going through the process and they’re saying yes to the offer, they know exactly what they’re getting into and they know what their experience is because they’ve seen a consistent message. So they’re not surprised when they show up day one, and it’s different than what they anticipated it being. How you guys are messaging and pulling and surveying your staff, I can only assume you’re going to see a lot of dividends long-term from a retention standpoint as well.
    [00:14:13] CL Yeah. I mean, luckily, our employee retention rate is already very high, which is great. But you’re exactly right. I mean, I think that there’s definitely a retention component, because people know coming in what the expectations are not only of a company but of those around them. Really, recruiting is just establishing fit for the company and making sure that that person’s going to succeed there and also helps us know what we’re hiring for. What are we looking for in candidates and making sure that we bring people in who are a fit so that retention works on both sides?
    [00:14:45] SY Yeah. We preach too probably too often, but it resonates is there – You get alignment from a company fit, a job fit, and a career fit. You get high performance, high retention. I think the exercise that you guys have been doing specifically is going to ensure that that alignment is there. Very cool. I know you’re getting – Going in this. But have you seen any results of this as really as it is in your exercise?
    [00:15:15] CL Yeah. I mean, there’s a few things. Like I said, we’re still kind of putting the house on the market, so to speak, because we haven’t – We don’t have those new photo assets back yet. We don’t have the new video, all those videos out yet. But we are putting the messaging platform out there when we can and where we can. There’s certainly anecdotal feedback that we’ve gotten from it so far. You guys for one. But just from candidates as well kind of repeating some of those messages back to us and kind of some of the things that initially attracted them or thought was interesting. We’ve also seen some of increases in our job board traffic, as well as our kind of reviews and rankings have gone up on Glassdoor and Indeed, which is definitely like more of a metric. That’s actually gone up quite a bit and that’s really great to see.
    [00:16:08] SY One of the cool thing is it’s just the beginning. I can only imagine –
    [00:16:11] CL It is.
    [00:16:11] SY What the metrics are going to look like at the end of 2020.
    [00:16:16] SP I would imagine some companies are going to copy what you’re doing, because we haven’t seen a lot of it at a lot of companies. This is very new, intentional way of going about creating that buzz within your company but to attract and retain your best people. We’re going to hopefully see more companies spend more time doing that, because it’s really an area that I believe has been kind of underserved for quite a while.
    [00:16:41] CL Yeah. I mean, I think employment brand or talent brand, kind of whatever you decide to call it is definitely a growing field. I think it is kind of a newer focus in the industry of brand management, so to speak. I definitely think that a lot of companies will be investing in their employment brand, kind of stepping that up, because again there’s more candidates than jobs. Or, sorry, more jobs than candidates.
    [00:17:07] SP Hopefully, that’s not a fortunate way to [inaudible 00:17:10].
    [00:17:10] CL Right. Exactly. But I think they certainly will be able to copy the experience.
    [00:17:18] SY Well, Collette, thanks for coming in. Appreciate your insight and walking us through the Jamf story and how you’ve helped them create the beginnings of what is their talent brand moving forward. So appreciate you coming in.
    [00:17:31] CL Thank you. Thanks for having me.
    [00:17:32] SP Yeah. Thank you so much and you’re our last podcast of the year and so–
    [00:17:36] SY Ending with a bang.
    [00:17:36] SP Ending with right before the holiday season, so we won’t see or you won’t hear us until the New Year and to more surprises and new guests coming here. So stay tuned for those podcasts coming up.
    [00:17:47] SY Yup. Absolutely. If you want to get ahold of Scott, you can always look him up on LinkedIn or at If you want to get ahold of Collette, you can probably do the same thing. I know you’re out there on LinkedIn. Give her a call at Jamf Software. You can probably call the front desk and track her down if need be. If you like what you hear and as always, feel free to subscribe to the podcast on all the major podcast channels. We will talk to everybody in the New Year.
    [00:18:15] SP Sounds great. We’ll talk then.

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