Building a supportive and inclusive workplace culture
In our latest series, we delve into the profound impact a thriving company culture has on overall business success and, how a culture of continuous learning and innovation creates a dynamic atmosphere that empowers individuals to contribute meaningfully, with digital recruitment agency, Empiric.
Feature with HYER
Empiric is a digital recruitment agency specialising in niche technology and business transformation spaces, with a focus on building relationships and communities to match leading talent with premier companies globally.
"We were founded in 2005 and have expertise in the latest technologies, offering contract, permanent and project-based recruitment services for different roles and levels. We operate in over 40 countries around the world and have five offices across EMEA and the US.
We distinguish ourselves from the competition by “living” in the niche communities we serve, embedding ourselves to find exciting vacancies and hard-to-find talent that other recruiters can't, and providing world-beating candidates to clients of all sizes in both the public and private sectors. Exceptional to us also means being a trailblazer in diversity and inclusion, leading the way in our industry with numerous awards and partnerships with organisations such as Next Tech Girls (which we set up in 2016), Trans*Formation, and Stonewall.
Our vision is to be the number one recruitment agency across revolutionary technology areas while having a positive impact beyond the bottom line, and our mission is to inspire and guide talent in the communities in which we operate to shape these communities for the better.
What makes empiric a special place to work?
We believe that our presence in the niche communities that we hire in, commitment to diversity and inclusion (e.g., our social enterprise Next Tech Girls), investment in employee culture (our Values Ambassador programme, women’s community EmpowerHer – more on that in Q3 below), training and development, makes us special and differentiates us from other recruiters.
Through regular employee engagement which feeds straight into board level planning, we are constantly improving what we do and we pride ourselves on open forums (with a mixture of leaders and junior staff members present) where we discuss how to better our environment, work and culture. Everyone’s opinion is listened to and acted on, where possible. We’re proud to invest in initiatives that provide leadership, internal mobility (a number of the team have moved continents in the past year), mentorship, training and networking for the global team.
We want each team member to be part of a community that is passionate about diversity and that makes a positive difference in the world through our work. We want them to be proud of their expertise in their niche market, and of their ability to deliver outstanding service to our clients and candidates who rely on us for supplying us with leading tech talent. We want them to feel empowered to grow and develop their skills and careers by working with their colleagues and clients across over 40 countries while being supported by our learning and development team, and we want them to be excited and fulfilled by working on cutting-edge projects in revolutionary technology areas.
How do you see a vibrant company culture influencing the companies overall success?
Scaling our business and retaining our talented team are our core objectives. We are proud of our organisational retention rate of 75% in 2022 and strive to create a culture of value, respect, and support for all our employees, from new recruits to senior hires.
We are also a sales-driven business that values productivity and performance and strive to for a culture that inspires our team to work hard individually and collectively to reach their goals and drive success. This means everyone being happy, engaged, and aligned with the vision.
We do all we can to maintain our brand reputation and image, in the most genuine way that we can. We know that our clients, candidates and other stakeholders trust and support us more when we showcase our culture, company mission and vision. Our internal talent acquisition benefits from this as well – we have many examples of potential team members who were attracted by our culture-related posts on marketing channels – it really works!
Is there a concept you are working on that could create meaningful change in your culture?
We are currently working on a concept, “The Empiric Mindset Series” a dynamic series of in-house, interactive events that ignite innovation, guide thinking, and achieve collaboration and genuine long-term consistency. The series serves as an interactive guide/coaching toolkit that enhances self-development, attitude and mindset.
The series consists of four types of events:
The Performance Podcast: Micro talks with influential Empiricans, lifting the lid on the attitudes and behaviours that drive positive outcomes, both in and out of work.
Lunch Bites: 30-minute masterclasses with a focus on BD, featuring leading lights in the Empirican Team.
Top Billers Q + A: Monthly conversations, sharing top tips, key learnings, do and don’ts from those who are leading the way in Sales.
The Culture Quarter: A quarterly round-up that maps a pathway through the collaborative highlights of the past quarter, spotlighting CSR activity, personal triumphs and culminating in the Values Champions’ Award and a social.
The aims of the series are to cultivate growth mindset, resilience and adaptability through in-person learning events, whilst strengthening company bounds and cultivating a collaborative, connected company culture as habit.
The rationale behind the series is that Empiric’s strength is its team spirit. Bringing people together through meaningful, relevant and positive ways acknowledges and celebrates the soft skills already in abundance, and helps to reframe, then redefine how to overcome different challenges. Learning from one another helps to remove barriers to success and open new pathways to innovation and best practice. Unifying the team dynamic helps people to feel a part of something bigger than themselves, which is essential in challenging times.
The key stakeholders of the series are Jonno, who is the main host and producer of the series, with support from Marketing and senior leaders. Sam and Snr. Leaders are also responsible for company-wide buy-in and support.
The timeframe of the series is until the end of the year, then January review for reflection and decisions on continuation, based on success of program. The Performance Podcast is released every two weeks, Lunch Bites and Top Billers Q + A are once a month, and The Culture Quarter is once a quarter.
How would you describe the culture you're aspiring to build?
We collaborate and influence positively, from leadership to every employee, to create a supportive, inclusive, and empowering culture. We share our knowledge and insights with each other and our clients, and we support women’s career development and gender balance in leadership roles. We also inspire the next generation of tech talent and help to create a more diverse and innovative tech industry, while empowering our employees to make a difference and achieve their full potential.
We have programs that demonstrate our commitment to this culture, such as:
Values Ambassadors: They encourage collaboration and positive influence among employees, and provide opportunities for leadership development and growth.
EmpowerHer: A women’s committee that offers mentorship, training, and networking opportunities to support women’s career development.
Next Tech Girls: A social enterprise that partners with tech companies and educational institutions to provide work experience opportunities for teenage girls from underrepresented backgrounds.
We look for people who have a passion for success and resilience to overcome the natural challenges of the job. People who are open to feedback and learning, as well as collaborating with their colleagues and supporting our vision and living our values.
People who respect equality, diversity and inclusion and appreciate different perspectives and backgrounds. People who are flexible and responsive to changing situations and customer needs and who can communicate confidently and effectively with various stakeholders.
We believe that people with these qualities will enjoy a rewarding career at Empiric, where we will support them to develop their talent with our industry leading learning and development programmes and enable them to achieve their own goals – whether it is money, leadership, or making a difference in the industry.
How do you embrace employee feedback?
We believe that employee feedback is essential for building and developing our company culture and policies.
Our culture strategies are driven by transparent feedback loops that focus on two aspects: sales performance, rewards, and incentivisation; and the cultural piece, which is about driving purpose and meaning. We align our work with McKinsey’s framework of caring managers, meaningful work, and progression. We are not just a recruitment company; we are defined by our CSR and we recognise its importance.
We use a long established regular and secure feedback system that enables employees to share and receive opinions, ideas, and concerns – anonymously where needed. This can be ad hoc or through our regular Monthly Business Reviews and Personal Development Plan meetings which aim to balance hard and soft skill performance both personally and professionally. Our systems are adaptable and flexible with room for updates and improvements as things evolve in house and as we’ve expanded our leadership team, we’ve taken on board helpful additions that newcomers have brought in.
We follow up on any feedback by acknowledging, thanking, asking, clarifying, or updating and do our best to balance positive and negative feedback, and formal and informal feedback, to motivate, recognise, and improve conditions across all our offices. We do our utmost to tailor our approach around the different cultures that are present across the different regions we have offices in.