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Guest

185

Your employer brand is really just a megaphone for your culture. You could have an amazing culture, but if you don't tell anybody about it, how are they going to know? You need to have mechanisms in place to get to have employees to talk about it.

In this episode

In today’s competitive landscape, where the battle for talent is fiercer than ever, understanding how to leverage your employer brand is crucial.

This approach doesn’t just create an environment that attracts and retains top talent; it’s fundamental in positioning yourself as an exceptional leader. Jennifer sheds light on navigating these complexities to create a workplace culture that resonates with both current and prospective employees. 

Jennifer Paxton is the Senior Director of People and Talent at Roofr and a prominent leader in the tech industry. She has extensive experience establishing HR frameworks at high-growth startups like Privy, LevelUp, and Smile.io. Prior to joining Roofr, Jennifer co-founded Jamyr, a platform revolutionizing how recruiting teams utilize employee-generated video content.

In episode #185, Jennifer unpacks the nuances of building high-performing teams by creating clear career paths and leadership training customized to individual employees. Her insights also offer actionable strategies to elevate your employer brand and amplify your company culture.

Tune in to hear Jennifer’s expert advice on cultivating an authentic employer brand and positioning your organization as a leader!


Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the podcast with your colleagues.


05:45

When to trust your gut (and when to not)

12:26

Developing career ladders in startups

18:47

Tailoring manager training for leaders

25:55

Investing in employer branding

29:17

Tactics and tools for amplifying company culture


Resources mentioned in this episode:


Transcript

Jennifer, welcome to the show.

Jennifer Paxton  02:55

Thank you so much for having me. Very excited to chat.

Aydin Mirzaee  02:58

Yeah, super excited to do this. You know, before we hit record, you mentioned to me that you were excited to talk about mistakes, as you know, like, that’s the first question we asked about on the podcast. Normally, people are not excited, but you were excited. So we’d love to dig in. And you know, one variation that we’ve actually been putting on this question is we always used to start with the, what was the mistake that you used to make a long, long time ago. And you’re recently we have a new flavor on it as well, which is, you know, what’s a recent mistake that you’ve made? So I’ll let you choose which one you want to start with or which one you want to talk about. But both would be super interesting.

Jennifer Paxton  03:34

Yeah, I’ll do the recent one first, that’s fine. Because I’m happy to like, own these things. And it’s actually been, the mistake has been resolved, which makes it a little bit easier to even talk about. It’s not as raw anymore, I guess I’ll say. So we just moved. I just started a new a new job. And very excited Roofr is an amazing company. It’s a roofing platform for roofers by roofers, basically. And so we just moved to a new HRIS. And with this, they have a Chrome extension. And it seems like a very easy process, like oh, hey, pop this Chrome extension on if you want to use the features, everyone can turn them on or turn them off. That was not the case. And I learned that after I turned on the feature, multiple employees started mentioning in Slack, Hey, I can’t turn this off. Why can I turn this off? Can you help me with this? And it was basically a four-week process of us going back and forth with our HRIS’s support team. And we working with the VP of Engineering and the CTO to try and figure out how was this happening to employees? Why was this happening? On the face of it like when I turned this on, this was not something that I even like had considered or thought of. So it was a mistake on my end because again, new company and this is like one of the first experiences employees get us like this new HR lady basically came in and now we have this very inconvenient pop-up that’s happened on our Chrome, our Google Chrome. So that was a really tough one for me to be like, Okay, next time before I implement anything, let’s just talk about all the implications and like how this could go wrong. And then and then come back to it. And it’s definitely like a mistake that I’ve made previously. But it’s been a while, you know, I thought I learned from my mistake on the spot, you can make it again, apparently isn’t I learned?

Aydin Mirzaee  05:21

Yeah, you know, it is interesting. And I feel like we’ve all been there and done things like that. And, you know, mistakes like this are very interesting, because it could have gone right, you know, like, there was a very high probability, as you probably assumed that it would have gotten right. And so how do you make sure that things like this don’t make you too cautious? You know, and then, like, slow you down at the same time?

Jennifer Paxton  05:45

Yeah, I think for me, I need to learn to have like one person to gut check with that is more technical than I am. And so at least for anything that is software-related, I think of myself as a pretty technically savvy person. But then when I think about, oh, how could this have downstream implications to somebody that’s not on a Mac, for instance, which is, it’s actually what happened like the bug was because it happened for anyone who did not have a Mac, if they had a PC, or if they had like yoga or something like that. It happened to them. And all the Mac people were perfectly fine. So I think I could have probably negated that mistake by just looping in the VP of engineering, we don’t have an IT department. So my amazing direct report, lathe, and I kind of in our VP of engineering kind of tag team it so I could have probably looped him into that conversation, even just a quick Slack message of like, hey, thinking about doing this gut check in this with you like anything, like any pitfalls you see, basically, because I’ve also asked members of different teams to do that with my team, so that they can like gut check some of their communications or their processes they’re doing, just to see if there’s going to be anything that might go awry on the people side, too.

Aydin Mirzaee  06:56

Yeah, I love this idea of just gut checking with people that have more in-depth knowledge in an area, there’s this, you know, phrase of trust your gut that everybody says, and one of the things that I’ve always said is No, you shouldn’t trust your gut on everything. Your gut is trustable in certain areas, but not all areas. You might have gut instincts about many things, but does not mean that you should go with your own gut instinct in all cases, and so yeah, I love the gut check idea. And you have to kind of like develop that. When do I know that I know enough? And when do I need to? You know, just double-check, like chances are things are good. But some people have more developed intuition about certain areas.

Jennifer Paxton  07:34

Well and there’s also there’s this part of leadership where you want to have like your gut be one of like, the best guts, right? Like, you’re all of your gut checks are like, Oh, that makes sense. But then there’s also that level of humility and vulnerability of like, my gut isn’t the best got here. Like, let me, like, rely on their gut check.

Aydin Mirzaee  07:53

Yeah, and I actually think that’s a very, you know, if you’re truly self-aware, like you could be in a meeting and you know, even be the senior person in the room and say, No, I don’t think we should listen to my gut on this, we should go with this person. Like, they’re much closer to the problem. They understand it better. Ignore my opinions, let’s do what this person says. And yeah, it takes a lot of self-awareness. But that’s what leadership is all about to understand in what situation you should use which person’s info. So, you know, so you’re starting at Roofr, you’ve obviously worked at, you know, a bunch of different companies, leading people in HR, you’ve seen a lot. And now you’re starting in this new role. So you know, from scratch, I’m sure there was a mandate with which you came into the company. But now that you’re in, you know, from all the things that you’ve learned, what are some like high-impact things that you think you’re going to develop? And what are some things that you’ve learned that you’re excited to put into place at Roofr? 

Jennifer Paxton  08:49

This gets me so excited and talking about it, that’s I’m like, great. I love coming into startups because of the level of chaos and, like, being able to just kind of figure out things and then start to prioritize. And so coming into Roofr, there’s lots of things that the team wanted. And we talked about our interview process as well. But then my very first week, we had a company retreat. And so my introduction to Roofr was meeting 100 People in like the very first day and then the second day, we had an AMA and the AMA was a lot of questions, actually, for me about what is my philosophy on this? Or kind of, do you think that we’re going to be able to get, you know, stable career ladders for every person on the team? That actually came up a lot. So like career, kind of career pathing advancement and development is a huge thing that the team wants and also honestly needs in my first month and change. I’ve been doing listening tours. And so I’ve been having a lot of one-on-one conversations with managers, a few of the individual contributors at the company as well, just to kind of sauce out, you know, what are the things that they’re focusing on? What did they think that their team needs to improve? What do they just want to make We suggest broadly that Roofr improve on, and that kind of feedback culture, getting kind of that career ladder and the levels established knowing where kind of they are within the ladder and kind of what do they need to do to get to that next step. It’s just something that the team really hasn’t gotten a lot of time to invest in, and honestly hasn’t had a person that’s going to quarterback, and so it is my jam. So I’m excited about it for sure. 

Aydin Mirzaee  10:24

Yeah, so you started with a listening tour, you got a bunch of the problems and low-hanging fruit things in place? Like, are you thinking about this in a want to get a bunch of quick wins in the first 90 days? And then, you know, do longer? And like deliver a plan? Or like, how are you thinking about your, the beginning of your tour?

Jennifer Paxton  10:43

Yeah, so there is definitely a hey, I want to make sure I start to get quick wins. For me, the quick wins are actually building up trust in that kind of foundation with managers. So they feel like they can come to me with problems. And one of the kind of quick wins I saw was a manager had a challenging conversation that they were going to have to give with an employee of theirs. And we had met like a week beforehand, and for them to Slack me and say, Hey, I know you mentioned that I could reach out to you and ask you advice, like this is the situation to have, like 15 minutes. And you should have seen the smile on my face, like I was just like, yeah, 15 minutes, like what you need, like, let me let me go. And so I thought that was really great for like a quick, like, that’s how I view the quick wins. And then the other side of it is, I want to make sure that we are building these ladders and these levels in a way that’s going to continue to scale with the team, it’s not one of those things that like, I’m just going to throw it against a wall, it’s going to stay, and we’re never going to change it again. But I also don’t want to start the team off on the wrong foot on that one, too. So we’re working very closely, I’m working very closely with the direct hiring minute or the direct managers for that one, and then also their leaders too, so that we can really define it together. So that’s probably going to be a longer-term project. I’m hoping by like end of q2, that we’ll have almost all the teams’ career ladders and levels set up. And then hopefully, to bank all of that. And then to run a pilot for a performance review kind of 360s style for the engineering team on it as well. So that’s going to be hopefully the other kind of proving moment, I guess in that case, too, is if it goes well, then we can continue to build on it and let the rest of the team in on it too.

Aydin Mirzaee  12:26

On the, you know, career laddering stuff. You know, we’ve talked about this on the podcast before my sense is I don’t know if you can verify or disprove what I’m saying, which is it feels like for engineering, these things are like for certain roles, I would say for engineering maybe. And for sales, it’s easier to put some of these things together. And there are some out-of-the-box, thank you, open source type solutions. But for the other functions, it starts to get a little bit more difficult because so many different types of roles. Like when I think about something like marketing, it’s just so many different things. And they do try and from a company perspective, do you get everyone holistic? Or is it really like department per department?

Jennifer Paxton  13:09

Yeah, right now, they had some department one setup. They also actually, I wasn’t coming in from scratch, either for some of the different departments. And they also had set up Roofr competencies as well ahead of time and so that like defined, you know, how a person communicates, you know, how they think about autonomy and decision making. There’s two or three other ones that they’ve added in, and it has it designated as like, what does a level 1234, so on and so forth? How does that like get defined? So a lot of departments that didn’t have career ladders, we’re just using those definitions. And I do want to start layering in more specializations. But you’re right, I’ve experienced it on the like the people operation side, too. It’s like, well, if I hire learning and development person, those might be different skills. And so then I think about okay, what are the competencies that kind of tie us all together in our department? Can I, can I focus on that to start with, because you’re totally right, like the engineering side, it has been a little bit easier to build it out and scale it because I don’t know if this is going to be a good thing or a bad thing. But like no matter if like you’re a front-end or a back-end engineer, or potentially even on like like the QA team, there’s a lot of the same skills that you’re going to be judged upon or rated upon, too. So it’s yeah, it’s a little, a little easier on that side.

Aydin Mirzaee  14:30

Yeah, you know, I think that makes a lot of sense. And then the work is necessary because like you said, once the work happens when it does come time to leveling and you want to get to a place ideally where the director level in one team is kind of comparable to the director level of another team, and there’s a like massive mismatch and those things are organizational debt that will need to be paid later on. 

Jennifer Paxton  14:55

Yeah, that is actually still a struggle, you know, coming into a company and having not kind of universal levels on that end of what defines a team lead because a lot of teams have, you know, that team lead title. And then they also have a manager title. And then a director, a senior director, a VP and an executive. So like a sea level, and the definition, like, the different departments still have level deficiencies there that I think it’s going to take a little bit more negotiation skills and persuasion skills on my end to make sure that like, the CEO and I are aligned on that, because right now, the way the leadership team is, the “Head of” doesn’t have exactly the same title within every department to like, when you’re in a room, and it’s like trying to negotiate a different process, or like who wins basically, it can be a challenge sometimes.

Aydin Mirzaee  15:44

Yeah, but you know, this is, as he said, like coming into the conversation, the chaos of startup life, which is, it comes with all of these sorts of challenges. One thing that we also wanted to talk about is this idea of manager training. So is this something that you’ve implemented before your previous companies? Is it something you want to do at Roofr? Maybe let’s talk about manager training in general.

Jennifer Paxton  16:09

E – all of the above on that one, I have implemented manager training myself. And I took kind of baby steps on that side of it because I was a mighty team of two at that point. And so manager training was just a very small sliver of my day-to-day job. And so for that one, in particular, I got kind of all the managers together, we had a particular topic that we’ve talked about every month, and I’d share an article or a book excerpt so that they could have something to read. And then we could talk through it and give opinions. And then we had, after the first few, I noticed that some folks were not speaking up as much. So I was like, Oh, we’re gonna do breakout rooms set and had like pair breakouts, which really were helpful. And then the next company I went to, I actually got to invest in an external third party that ran manager training. And it was phenomenal because it was over basically a three-month span of time. And they got to meet with this kind of this managerial coach every other week. So it was still cohort-based, and people got to talk through the curriculum, but they were leading the conversation, and I got to participate, which was like an aha moment for me if, oh, if I’m facilitating, I’m not participating. And I’d still like to learn some of these things or even flex that muscle a little bit more and be in the conversation. And so then I came into Roofr. And they’d already started manager training here. And they have actually two different cohorts, they have a leadership cohort, and then a first time manager cohort. And I think that’s really important as well as being designate, you know, the curriculum that someone who’s maybe been a manager a few times over is getting, versus the curriculum that a manager is getting when they like, just inherited a team, or like it’s their first, you know, it’s our first time really managing people. So I would say I love having a third party to facilitate it. But if you’re a small team and have no budget, the hacky way to do it, if like an article or something like a blog post, or even a podcast, that just starts the conversation, that would be great, too. You just don’t want to let it go. You need to show managers love basically, on that end, no matter, like, how big your budget is.

Aydin Mirzaee  18:27

Yeah, you know, a great way to start maybe on a low budget is, you know, find common, it could be a book, an article, definitely all the Supermanagers episodes, but something, bring people together, discuss it. And then you had that trick of like breaking people out into smaller groups, maybe as small as two, so that they can continue the conversation. One of the questions I have is, so I love this idea of having separate tracks for more senior leadership and merge junior ones. What are the sorts of things that happen in the more senior leadership camp? 

Jennifer Paxton  19:00

Yeah, I think there is a higher focus on situational leadership, at least the ones that I’ve gone to recently. And this is something that I think that as you get additional direct reports, and you’re now managing managers, but maybe you’re also managing ICs, that is an extreme muscle that you really have to build it out. Because if I can weave in my mistake that I did as a first-time manager, I was managing a team. And there was a person on the team that had been doing the role for about a year before I inherited this team. And then I had a very junior person, and I treated them the same, and there was a lot of like, oh, just tell me a little bit about like, what’s going on today and how are you doing this? Or what are your thought processes on this? And I was asking a lot of questions. And it came off. It didn’t not exactly like micromanaging but came off like, does she not think that I can do my job like I am autonomous I can do this? And I was just honestly managing the only way I had kind of known how At that point and not managing the person I was meant, like I was just being a manager. And so that was a huge mistake that I had to learn where the person that has more experience and can do more autonomy, maybe they’re like level two or three, you manage them a very different way than an entry-level person who’s just started their very first job. And they need a lot of education, more hand-holding. And so at that executive cohort that we’re doing, there is kind of a differentiation of like, how do you manage, you know, this kind of persona versus this versus that? And then also, how do you even manage your management and leadership style? Have a broader team? Like, how are you actually being able to go back from thinking strategically and then also thinking very tactically because a lot of us are still player-coaches in our roles too.

Aydin Mirzaee  20:49

Yeah, that makes sense. So a lot of situational coaching, more advanced topics, how much of this stuff is do you think specific to a company versus just generic?

Jennifer Paxton  20:59

I feel like everybody can learn this, like benefit from learning kind of what we’ve been learning with our Roofr cohort, I think that there could be specific kind of cultural nuances that come into play. And one thing that I’m really cognizant of, when I’m either changing something, or I’m asking you a question, or even coaching, one of the managers, I asked like, oh, like, what have we historically done here, tell me a little bit about an example of something that happened in the past. Because that feeds into the company’s culture, how we have treated people before. And that actually may sway kind of my advice, or maybe I give it in a different way from a communication perspective, too. So I think that like the topics on there, on the face of it, everyone can do like how to give and receive critical feedback, you know, how do you remember to praise your people? Those are things that every manager could do. But then that cultural nuance that gets weaved in? I think you can have those in those sessions, too, and interjected in those sessions. 

Aydin Mirzaee  22:02

Yeah, it feels like there is different levels. Right. So now it sounds like this is an external company that is helping facilitate this. Yeah. And it feels like, over the course of time, you maybe develop ways of doing things where this is how we, you know, manage Roofr. This is how we manage it, Amazon, here’s how we do things and, and then becomes more specialized, but there’s like, obviously, a very common set of things. And then over the course of time, it gets more specialized. And maybe you develop stuff in-house, because it’s not just management. It’s like management with our philosophies and like the way that we do things, and bringing in those stories of how things have happened in the past, like the stories that go around, and like talking about those again, indoctrinating people into the way of doing things. And it seems like even the manager training has this, I guess lifecycle to it.

Jennifer Paxton  22:53

Yeah, definitely has elements of that for sure. And the other thing I will say is, with the third party, bringing them in, they most likely are not going to understand kind of your culture or the historical side of it. So there’s usually like prep meetings, so not for Roofr in particular, because they had already started the cohort by the time I got here, and I’m just going to join in as a participant, but the other one that I ran at Smile, there were multiple meetings ahead of time, where we were talking to the team about, you know, historical things that had happened, I had a few one on one sessions with the facilitator before, like before the modules that we went through as well, just to give them a little bit more color in context, because there are also things that can be slightly triggering, as well, from a cultural perspective, you know, there is that kind of cultural baggage and having to really build up that trust. So there are things that almost a facilitator needs to know like, where am I no go areas to?

Aydin Mirzaee  23:47

Hey, everyone, just a quick pause on today’s episode to tell you about a new feature that I am so excited about, we’ve been working on this one for quite a while, and excited to announce it to the world. We’re calling it Meeting Guidelines. So there’s all these things that people already know they should do when they organize a meeting. So for example, you should make sure that you shouldn’t invite too many people or if you’re booking a recurring meeting, you probably want to put an end date on that meeting. Or if you’re going to invite someone to meeting, you should probably you know, if they have more than 20 hours of meetings that week, maybe be a little bit more considerate and ask Should I really invite that person to the meeting. So there’s a bunch of these sorts of things that you might even know about, but what happens somehow in larger organizations is that people forget all of these things. And so that’s why we built this feature called Meeting Guidelines. It’s super easy to use. It’s a Google Chrome extension. So if you install it, what will happen is it will integrate with your Google Calendar. And that way whenever anyone within your company is about to book a meeting, these meeting guidelines will show up and make sure that people know and take a second look at that meeting that they’re about to book and make sure that it adheres to these guidelines. So if you want to book or within your company have a no meeting day, or if you want to make sure that every meeting has an agenda in advance before it’s booked. So all the different sorts of guidelines that you may want. And they’re all obviously highly configurable, because every company is going to be slightly different. But this is the first time that there is a way that you can get an entire organization to change their meeting behavior. It’s something that we’ve been working on for a very long time, super proud to announce it to the world. It’s called Meeting Guidelines. If you’re interested in checking it out, we’d love for you to do that and give us feedback, you can get to it by going to Fellow.app/Guidelines. Again, that’s Fellow.app/Guidelines, check it out. And let me know what you think.

This makes a lot of sense. And so there’s no company size too small, maybe not when you’re two people. But you know, certainly, once you get to a certain size, and you start to have several managers, this is something to put into place. The other thing topic I wanted to also jump into is also employer brand. So how does this employer brand develop? And you know, how do you think companies should invest in that employer brand?

Jennifer Paxton  26:20

Yeah, I think that sometimes employer brand can almost come natural to companies if they’re already investing in their culture, and really thinking about kind of the processes and the communication and how they’re just how they’re treating people and how transparent they are. But then, you know, the hardest thing is, with your employer brand strategy, like your employer brand is really just a megaphone for your culture. It’s like saying, Hey, this is an amazing place to work because of this, and this, and this, and this is what makes us different. Whereas you could have an amazing culture, but if you don’t tell anybody about it, how are they going to know basically? No, and it’s also encouraging your employees to talk about it. But again, goes back to you need to have kind of mechanisms in place to get to have employees to talk about it, too.

Aydin Mirzaee  27:03

Yeah, I mean, I’d love to talk about that, like, what are some mechanisms so that you can help amplify culture, and get your employees to talk about the things they love? ,

Jennifer Paxton  27:13

Yeah, I mean, the first thing is just understanding kind of what employees love. And so there is kind of those like surveys or intake meetings to understand, like, Hey, why did you join the company? It’s actually in some of my listening tour that I’ve been doing. I’ve been collecting a little bit of that data as well because some people have been at the company for you know, since it started, basically. So I thought, like, five years or so somebody three, like there’s some pretty tenured, tenured folks. And I’m like, what keeps you at the company? Tell me more about that. And so it’s kind of uncovering like going on a little bit of a culture, scavenger hunt, if you will, to uncover kind of those unique things. And then the next part of it is building up that trust with that employee, like, thanks for sharing this with me, I would love to be able to, you know, talk with candidates about this, or I’d love to be able to potentially put this on our built-in Boston, or built-in page, you know, Would you be okay with that? And then hopefully, they’re saying yes, because you built up that trust with them. And so there’s some different branding platforms out that you can use, I would say, you know, video is amazing. I co-founded Jamyr, which is a video content platform for employer branding. And that was great because companies could have employees record their videos saying something great about the company or what makes this company special. And then that really gave employers carte blanche to, hey, we can put it on LinkedIn, we could put it on any of our other social media, we could put it on our career site, we could, you know, put it in our email communications. And so I think that is really helpful, too is there’s multiple marketing functions to get kind of your brand out there in that way.

Aydin Mirzaee  28:48

Yeah, I love the idea of video, it does feel more authentic. And you’re right, like this, this idea. If you make it very easy for people to share, then, you know, obviously, more people will actually share. So what kind of questions you ask, I mean, is it just as simple as ‘what’s your favorite thing about this company? Like, who would you recommend to work at this company?’ And like, just get them to answer those questions and be a part of it? And do you gift people for doing that? Or do they get swag? You know, what kind of tactics are involved?

Jennifer Paxton  29:19

Yeah, I mean, I think one of the questions I love is what keeps you you know, what keeps you here? And then there’s usually like a secondary question that I’ll add in because sometimes what keeps people at Roofr is really hyper-focused on work-life balance. So one of the unique things that this company does is they have laundry days. So employees can basically take one Friday off a month, they just need to, you know, let their manager know, and then they take that off, doesn’t go to their unlimited PTO that we already have with a minimum, but it’s a standard thing. And most time teams are taking that Friday off together. So it becomes like, Oh, it’s just like, everything’s off. Okay, cool. We’re good. And no one bugs each other on that day. Yeah, it’s a, like sacred day for everyone. And it’s just a unique perk for the team that I hadn’t actually even heard of before I came here and was like, wow, that makes this a unique perk to have, and also leads into our, you know, employer brand and employee value proposition, you know, what employees really value here? So I think that that is very helpful, at least from a question perspective, you could also ask, you know, what is the most valuable kind of benefit or perk that you see at this company? There are some heavier-hitting ones to have, you know, just like, tell me a little bit about how you work with your manager, like, what is communication like at this company? And you know, what do you like, sometimes companies will be really bold and actually talked about, like, what do you not like, but that’s a whole whole other thing. And then I’m big on incentivizing if possible, so a gift card or custom swag. There was one company we were working with that was actually developing like a swag store. And so you basically got like, X amount of credit to purchase at that swag store. And you could get like a hat, or I think socks or something like that, or a tumbler.

Aydin Mirzaee  31:04

I also agree like, this swag is awesome, and so much more. I mean, it’s nicer, in my opinion than just a generic gift card. It also gives you that connection with the company. What about, you know, when you think about employer brand, you can’t not talk about Glassdoor as part of this because this is, you know, a way that at least the external world is exposed to part of your brand, or it’s an angle through which they understand it. How do you go about that? I feel like you also need a strategy for people to populate that, like, is there part of, you know, when people are telling you what they love? Do you also encourage them to post on Glassdoor? Have you had any good effective tactics around getting people to populate that platform too?

Jennifer Paxton  31:46

It’s funny, I was actually just talking with our Director of Talent Acquisition about this. And she actually already had established a Glassdoor campaign, where every month she had a certain amount of people that she would reach out to and say, Hey, I’m, I was wondering if you would want to do this, you know, our team is going to be hiring for you know, X, Y, and Z role. It’d be really phenomenal for us to have no really up-to-date reviews on how people are feeling at the company. Here’s the link, there’s no, we don’t do any incentivizing for people to do it. It’s more just like, hey, if you feel so like so called to do it like please do. And so there is kind of that side of it. The other side and I haven’t done this. That’s a mistake. You just pointed out I did not do this in my listening tours. And there was like two or three really good answers that I wish I’m like, I wish I would have wrote them down. I’m in like, can I add this to a testimonial on our website? Would you be okay taking video? Would you go and do a Glassdoor review? And I didn’t do it. That is a missed opportunity for me like ugh.

Aydin Mirzaee  32:44

Never too late. Never too late.

Jennifer Paxton  32:46

Never too late. I’m still in the midst, I still have probably a handful of folks that haven’t talked to yet. And, and honestly going back to kind of building up that trust. And I might be able to go back to one of them and say, Hey, I was just on an amazing podcast. And they had a great suggestion to have you do a Glassdoor review, would you be interested? So yeah.

Aydin Mirzaee  33:03

Yeah, a great way to pose it. So you were also the founder of Jamyr, you care a lot about video, obviously, you know, helping with recruiting? What are ways that, you know, I’ve seen various people or companies use video in different ways. And I’ve also seen things where hiring managers get on video, and you know, talk about the role. And I’m just curious, like, what are the most effective ways that you’ve seen or that you recommend people use video in order to recruit talent?

Jennifer Paxton  33:34

Yeah, I did a little bit of a cringe face, by the way.

Aydin Mirzaee  33:36

Yeah, you did, I saw that.

Jennifer Paxton  33:38

Hopefully get that on the last take. But one thing that can be a struggle is there are definitely like managers that are more comfortable on video. And then there are managers that are not comfortable on video. And I think the thing that I want to do is be a resource that help managers if if they’re not feeling comfortable, just like record a video on their phone, we do some kind of conversation where like, I can take a clip, and then we can, you know, go from there. I think the thing that can be a struggle sometimes is managers will sometimes just like list off like, oh, you get to do this, you get to do that, you get to do this, you get to do that. And you’re like, okay, like cool that I get to do some of these things. But how does that directly impact the team? Or, like, why are we getting to do those things? So being able to not only have like, hey, there’s a really cool task or do but why is it cool? What is it going to do for the company? How does it lead to us, you know, with our overall mission, and really telling that story? I’ve put together some scripts for managers to and had us like, talk through them a few times so that they feel comfortable on that end because yeah, it’s really all about the storytelling aspect of it. 

Aydin Mirzaee  34:47

But it can be done as long as the storytelling is coached. And you know, the person is coached to talk about the why and all the angles and make it compelling.

Jennifer Paxton  34:56

I think on most occasions, it can. It really does depend on the manager. And I also think like every company has subcultures and those subcultures some are like some do meetings completely video off, like they’re just not, not into it. And whereas like my team, very different, like I was like, I want to see people’s faces and I personally want to see people’s faces so I encourage Hey, video on, but that’s gonna be the same thing with managers who are doing videos sometimes it’s gonna go well sometimes it’s not before Jamyr so before, you know, Brian, my co-founder of Jamyr came to me with kind of this idea. I had actually done these like video interviews at Privy, and it was like sit down have like, I’m in an armchair and the managers in an armchair and we’re having a conversation we have like a person video-ing us. It was good, but like I had to have like marketing help because I’m not super tech-savvy on that end. And I’m not the best at video editing myself again, that was Brian, like Brian’s strength on that end. So I think that that was a different kind of, like model that we did that helps. I think it helped managers get more comfortable on video. 

Aydin Mirzaee  36:06

Yeah, so can be a strength. But you might need to, you know, as a manager comfortable, do you have the resources to make it look great. And it’s a judgment call, as is most things in building companies and managing teams. So, Jennifer, this has been an awesome conversation. We’ve talked about so many things from manager training to recruiting to mistakes. And you know, one of the questions that we always like to end on is for all the managers and leaders constantly looking to get better at their craft. Are there any final tips, tricks or words of wisdom that you would leave them with?

Jennifer Paxton  36:40

Yeah, I feel like I guess just be vulnerable with your peers and leverage them more. Being a manager doesn’t have to be done in a silo. There’s lots of learnings and even just having conversation be like, oh, like, what do you do for one-on-ones? How do you structure those and being able to learn from other managers? Yeah, no one no one’s above that my opinion.

Aydin Mirzaee  37:03

I think that’s great advice and a great place to end it. Jennifer, thanks so much for doing this.

Jennifer Paxton  37:07

Yeah, my pleasure. Thanks for having me. And that’s it for today.

Aydin Mirzaee  37:11

Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of the Supermanagers podcast. You can find the show notes and transcript at www.Fellow.app/Supermanagers. If you liked the content, be sure to rate review and subscribe so you can get notified when we post the next episode. And please tell your friends and fellow managers about it. It’d be awesome if you can help us spread the word about the show. See you next time.

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