How Everwise Uses Mission to Hire in the Toughest Talent Markets

March 14, 2017
Guest Post
Friend of Drafted

A company, divided… in a good way.

Everwise is a company built on two coasts. After selling their last company, Audium, to Cisco in 2006, Mike Bergelson and Colin Schiller, decided to try their hand at another big problem: career development. In 2012 they started building Everwise, the talent development company that helps customers like MasterCard, Oracle, Sony, and Salesforce develop and retain their valuable workforce. And they’ve built it from New York and San Francisco. Now at 100 employees, the business-side of Everwise resides in San Francisco, while product and development are based in Manhattan.

From the start this 2,910 mile divide meant that Everwise had to be an organization built on maturity and collaboration — traits that carry themselves into the core of their talent development product. While the team handles cross-continental collaboration through tools like Slack, Hangouts, and Asana, every team member is empowered to work independently and be the best at what they do.

Meet the talent who hires the talent.

Andrea Simon runs talent acquisition for Everwise, from San Francisco, and is in charge of building this team of career-driven collaborators. While Andrea coordinates hiring and development on the business-side, her colleague Stephen Fleming runs technical talent acquisition in New York.

The two teammates spend time connecting every day to discuss progress, challenges, and their candidate pipeline. New York and San Francisco are the two most competitive markets for hiring tech talent in America, so they need to stay in lock-step with every candidate. And while they have to work hard to source and sell top sales people, engineers and other key roles -- Andrea and Stephen use Everwise’s mission to help people build their careers to set them apart from other technology companies on both coasts.

How mission helps Everwise win top talent

Everwise routinely wins over top talent, sometimes despite massive competing offers, based on their clear mission to help people build their careers. This is an incredible tool for their talent acquisition team.

“People who are high-performing engineers, understand how their work will directly impact others’ lives with Everwise,” Stephen shared, as he discussed how he first tells Engineers about working at Everwise. Andrea agrees. She shared several stories of sales representatives that she’s hired who turned down higher offers, or positions where they could manage because they wanted to work for a team with a strong mission, while also developing their careers. She says that it works both ways, however, “While we often win on purpose, it’s also a great way to screen candidates. You might have the right fit, but if you’re not passionate about Everwise and our mission, you’re not going to work out here.” This sense of purpose both guides and wins hires.

But what does “mission” actually mean? How can employees experience tangible outcomes from working at a mission-driven organization? At Everwise, after 90 days, every team member gets paired with an outside mentor and gets access to the Everwise platform to work on their own personal set of career goals. Team members can choose from options like: Developing executive presence, influence, managing up, or expanding their network. Talk about a mission-driven perk!

And while Andrea believes that employees don’t join simply for the career development perks, they’re a great part of the overall employee benefits package, and an integral part of enabling employees to feel strongly about Everwise and their careers there.

Applying a mission-driven mentality to your own recruiting

Not every organization sells something as inspirational as personalized career development programs, but talent acquisition teams can still leverage mission-based messaging and branding to hire top talent.Consider what makes your founders and team “tick”. If you haven’t solidified your employer brand, do so with your mission (aka your “Purpose”) in mind. Ask questions like:

  • Why should employees be excited about what you make, market and sell?
  • Can they actively use or promote your product?
  • Can you give it to them for free, or offer perks in line with your mission?
  • What’s in your company DNA that you can’t find anywhere else?

Apply these messages to your recruiting talk-tracks, your jobs and team pages, and your welcome materials. With a little tweaking of your messaging and employer brand, you can start to use your passion to win top talent in a hot market, too.

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