7 Benefits of Being Recognized as a Top Employer

Creating a strong employer brand is the #1 most important initiative for any growing workplace today.

According to a new study, 71% of employees are searching for a new job! People are feeling under appreciated and over stressed at work. Additionally, people are more mobile than ever before, so top people, especially those with in-demand skills in technology, sales and healthcare, are inundated with calls and emails from headhunters. Skilled recruiters paint rosy pictures of new opportunities. Even people who thought they were happy in their jobs are flattered and seduced by recruiters’ pretty pitches. So what do you do to attract and retain top talent?

Whether you’re adding staff or just trying to keep the ones you have, your employer brand can set you apart – or not. What makes your company unique and your culture desirable? Having a “meh” image as an employer is almost as bad as having a poor reputation. One way to add sparkle to your employer brand is to be recognized as one of the Top Companies in Arizona. A whopping 95% of employers who gain workplace recognition see benefits like this:

  1. Reduced turnover. Employee morale receives a boost and employee retention is increased. Top workplaces are in demand among top talent – and award-winning companies have up to 65% less turnover.
  2. Talent magnetism. Top workplaces are in demand among top talent. Companies like Charles Schwab and USAA who have won numerous local and national workplace awards have a distinct advantage in attracting great people. If your company is smaller, award-winning status can help you compete for great talent.
  3. Polished reputation. Customers, prospective employees, and the community hold top workplaces in high esteem.
  4. Media exposure. Recognition on azcentral.com and BestCompaniesAZ.com will keep your award alive all year long, reaching over 82% of Arizona.
  5. Better financial performance. Yes, really! Public companies recognized as best workplaces in Arizona have performed two to three times better than the market. Smaller companies perform better too; 80% of small award-winning workplaces grew in revenue share, and 88% added headcount even during the recession.
  6. Greater insight. Survey feedback reports provide you with valuable, specific information about increasing your employee engagement. You can benefit in this way even if you don’t make the list this year.
  7. Customers love it. Numerous studies demonstrate that top companies also measure stronger than average customer ratings.

What business wouldn’t want to experience benefits like this? Your first step in gaining workplace recognition is to register your company for the 2018 azcentral.com Top Companies to Work for in Arizona – the deadline is January 12, 2018. This could be the most important action you take before the end of the year!

Top Companies to Work For in ArizonaAbout the Author
Lee Vikre – Hiring Jedi
A workplace culture maven, writer, and speaker, Lee Vikre has helped numerous companies develop “best company” cultures, gaining recognition at the local and national level. Lee has been called the Jedi Master of hiring because of her exceptional recruiting abilities and friendships with people who love Star Wars. Her favorite activities involve matching people with their dream jobs at award-winning best companies. Lee coaches CEOs but still hasn’t been able to train her three dogs not to bark during conference calls.

How To Get Promoted: Top Success Tips

If you’re working hard and putting your best foot forward, you might be feeling like you’re deserving of and ready for a promotion. Keep working to your full potential, and continue reading to learn about the best ideas we have on how to get promoted.

How To Get Promoted: Tips For Success

Note Superiors’ Interests

Being perceptive and taking careful notes of what your boss or superiors like will behoove you in the long run. You should always be positive, supportive and engaged toward your superiors and their interests — both inside and outside of work. Make sure you’re maintaining good rapport with your boss and superiors and completing their requests in a timely, competent fashion. You’re much more likely to land that promotion if you promote a healthy rapport between you and your boss. Additionally, look into the mentorship roles between you and your boss. If you have a mentoring relationship with someone higher in the company, they can help spread the good word about you, and it also shows them you are always willing to work hard and learn.


It may seem a bit trivial, but confidence and practicing self-promotion encompass important facets of improving both your performance and general image at work. While you don’t want to appear boastful, if you have reaped major accomplishments or received important awards and distinctions, you want to ensure people know about them — especially the people doing the promoting. Practice the art of selling yourself and marketing your work as a reason why you deserve a promotion.

Focus on High Profile Projects

Want to make maximum impact in hopes of receiving a promotion? If so, then you should specifically request and focus on projects that demand a good deal of effort, creativity and time. You don’t want to jump on everything, as you’ll likely begin to spread yourself too thin. But you do want to continue putting in your best effort and ensuring your boss knows how capable and competent you are. Seek out the opportunities that are most profitable — and visible — for your company, and hop on those. If you feel overwhelmed, create an open dialogue about what you should prioritize. Then, you can allocate your time and resources accordingly.

Develop New Knowledge & Skills

Continuing education is a vital part of any job. When seeking a promotion, expanding your knowledge and skillsets in areas that are critical to your company is a surefire way to get noticed and appreciated. In order to stay competitive and marketable, especially as technology advances, you must innovate and maintain an ever-increasing skillset. Put in the work and time to enhance any current skills you may have. Also, take on projects or trainings to learn new ones. In doing so, you show your superiors how much you value your job and the company; thus, you’re worthy of more responsibility and pay.

Have you already tried these tips about how to get promoted, but to no avail? Or, have you found no real opportunities for a promotion at your current employer? If so, then it may be time to look elsewhere. Many award-winning employers have great career advancement opportunities. Take a look at some of the best companies in Arizona!

Six Powerful Career Secrets of a Successful Military Spouse

Brian Bowen, Branch Manager for the Biltmore branch of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., exudes enthusiasm and positivity. The kind of brand ambassador companies covet, Brian has immense pride in his company, a passion for lifelong learning, and the values associated with being a military veteran. Except that Brian has never himself been in the military.

As a military spouse, Brian is a rarity. Only seven percent of all military spouses are male, and fewer yet are able to maintain a progressive, successful private sector career. With his own drive and the help of Schwab, a top military-friendly company, Brian has prospered. Here is his extraordinary story.

As a young college grad, Brian was dedicated to the idea of doing something to change the world, and was met with skepticism from friends and college peers; “Bri, you’re never going to be able to support a family”. Charles Schwab’s mission and values-driven approach to financial services impressed Brian. With ethics and accessibility at the core of the company, Brian was happy to start at an entry level, answering phones.

Charles Schwab believed in Brian, too, helping him further his education at ASU. When Brian married Captain Lora Bowen, USAF, he fully expected her military career to disrupt his work experience.

This is a sacrifice many military couples make. “Being a military spouse has its own set of stresses”, explains Brian. “There was always a dark cloud that I wanted to bring my own set of successes to the relationship, and had concerns that I wouldn’t be able to do that.”

That concern was alleviated by the extraordinary level of support Brian received from Charles Schwab. When Lora received orders to Boston, he planned to resign from Charles Schwab to go with her. Instead, Brian was allowed to transfer, and used that opportunity to gain new experience. When she was deployed to Iraq, Brian’s former boss at Charles Schwab invited him to return to Arizona. Lora’s career took her to San Diego, where Brian was able to join her – still as part of the Charles Schwab team. During this time Brian was expanding his skill set, and was promoted. Brian and Lora eventually settled back in Arizona, in Brian’s childhood neighborhood – with Brian’s career at Charles Schwab well established.

Brian’s story contains powerful lessons for veteran and military spouse job seekers. Here are six of Brian’s secrets:

Create a stellar personal brand for yourself. Brian’s personal pride drove him to be the best. He ensured that others could count on him, and that he was an “idea person” who could be counted on to contribute.

Find adaptable employers. “Every few years I knew there would be a great change in our lives,” he says. “I didn’t expect it to be so easy, but I worked with a company that is so adaptable.” While Brian didn’t plan for his employer to accommodate his many moves, in this case Charles Schwab was able to do so. As a military spouse, seek out companies with a wide national presence, geographic flexibility, and a military-friendly culture.

Focus on your value as much as your path. Brian couldn’t have the specific career path conversations most employees count on, since he didn’t know where Lora’s commitments would take him. As a go-getter, Brian didn’t let the uncertainty slow his own development. “I found that if I kept working hard, opportunities arose and I was able to take them.”

Sharpen your skills. Study up on the latest and greatest in your field, and you’ll have more to offer. Brian advises, “Education, public speaking skills, understanding the latest trends – companies want to be on the cutting edge.”

Leverage your resources. Take advantage of every type of assistance that’s available to you as a military spouse or veteran, and remember that people want to support former and current military and their families.

Make no apologies. Brian is an exception; many military spouses will experience some career disruption, and their resumes will reflect that. “As a spouse, if your career path took a hiccup, don’t be shy about that. It’s not an excuse, it’s a valid reason”, says Brian.

At times military spouses may be overlooked. Brian notes, “I had to worry about my wife every second when she was in Iraq. People often thank veterans for serving, but I also thank the spouses for their support of service.”

Being a military spouse adds complexity to a life and career. People like Brian Bowen and companies like Charles Schwab provide inspiration.

Schwab has been the recipient of numerous awards for its military-friendly workplace and culture. For more information on careers at Schwab, visit their BestCompaniesAZ profile.

2018 Military Career Event

Meet hiring representatives from Schwab’s Phoenix campus at BestCompaniesAZ 4th Annual Military Career Event, Wednesday, March 7. Open to all veterans, transitioning military, spouses and significant others who are looking for a career with an employer that values the service of our military members and their families! Get more information and register here.

Vixxo Careers: Fast Facts & What It’s Like to Work There

Vixxo, a technology-enabled asset management company based in Scottsdale, Arizona, is a Best Company to Watch. With over 37 years in service, Vixxo has revolutionized the facilities industry and also become a market leader. They contribute their success to a team that is passionate about delivering integrated solutions and superior service to clients. An inclusive, ethical as well as supportive environment allows every team member to fulfill their potential and drive innovation. Keep reading to explore Vixxo careers and company info.

Vixxo Careers: Fast Facts & What It’s Like to Work There

Fast Facts

Vixxo provides facilities solutions designed to optimize clients’ portfolios by improving service delivery, reducing costs as well as providing strategic insights. They maintain over 1.1 million revenue-generating assets for many Fortune 500 clients within the retail, restaurant, convenience and also grocery industries.

  • The company was founded in 1966.
  • They have a total of about 750 employees.
  • Two industry leaders, FM Facilities Maintenance and First Service Networks, merged to create Vixxo Corporation.
  • They recently expanded their partnership with Target.

Clients working with Vixxo represent more than 100 of the world’s most recognizable brands, including Starbucks, 7-Eleven and Michaels. Vixxo maintains a network of over 150,000 Service Providers and serves more than 65,000client locations across North America.

Vixxo Careers

Vixxo’s job openings welcome candidates from a range of professional backgrounds — from recruiting to account management to dispatch services. Search their nationwide career opportunities here.

Read one employee’s story of his transition from military life to a rewarding career at Vixxo.

“I was concerned, as I considered transitioning out of the military, that I would be trading excitement and camaraderie for a boring desk job that wouldn’t hold my attention. It turned out my fears were never realized as I have found Vixxo to be an exhilarating work environment with a dynamic and skilled community of experienced associates.” – Matt W.

You can also watch the below video about the company to get a sense of Vixxo’s fun culture that encourages teamwork and shared success:


Vixxo CEO Jim Reavey had a goal to create a brand and culture from the bottom-up, with a unique approach to the marketplace.

Reavey has had great success growing Vixxo from $20 million in revenue in 2013 to over $700 million in 2016. He dedicates Vixxo’s impressive growth to a vision focused on leading the next generation of facilities management and also the drive of their diverse and talented team.

“Vixxo represents a new direction for the company, one founded on predictive and preventive maintenance and data-driven solutions.”


Vixxo’s recent accolades include:

2017 AZ Top Tech Exec – Phoenix Business Journal

Companies to Watch 2017 – AZRE Magazine

2017 Premier 100 Technology Leaders – Computerworld

2016 Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing Private Companies: Four-Year Honoree (2006-2008, 2016)

2016 Best of Business winner – Inside Self-Storage

2016 Servant Leadership Award – 7-Eleven

Visit their Awards Page for more information.

In The News

From their expanded partnership with Target, their work with veterans, to CEO Jim Reavey’s take on doing repairs for the world’s largest companies – Vixxo constantly has a presence in the news. Stay in the loop on Vixxo’s Latest News here.

Learn more about Vixxo on their Company Profile.

Personal & Professional Growth: Progrexion’s Women In Leadership & Learning

Leadership development is a strategic component of most organizations – having programs in place to equip and train team members for additional responsibilities and career advancement. Companies that offer programs to develop women in leadership are especially appealing for females looking to grow both professionally and personally. One such company is Progrexion, a leading provider of credit report repair services in the United States.

Progrexion’s Women in Leadership & Learning

As an employer, Progrexion values diversity and strives to provide a positive as well as productive learning environment for its employees. One example is their Women in Leadership and Learning (WILL) program. Empowering women to achieve a greater leadership presence will help Progrexion to leverage unique talents and perspectives for future growth.

The WILL program has four goals:

  1. Support DIVERSITY in leadership
  2. Support individual PERSONAL GROWTH
  3. Provide sustainable leadership OPPORTUNITIES
  4. Create an internal networking COMMUNITY to promote COLLABORATIVE LEARNING

Progrexion’s Phoenix office recently invited Latasha Causey, Director, Regional Operations, Regional Site Management at USAA’s Phoenix Campus, to speak at a Women in Leadership & Learning event. Sixty leaders attended the event where Causey shared her experiences as a culture leader and development advocate. Causey also discussed how she strengthens USAA’s brand in the Phoenix area through philanthropic efforts for USAA’s 4,000 Arizona employees.

A few of the key takeaways from Latasha’s talk include:

  • Networking is everything
  • Invest in yourself, then you will be able to invest in others
  • It’s important to ensure employees have career progression
  • Leadership development comes down to “just showing up and being you” – be authentic
  • Women leaders need to support one another and having advocates/mentors is critical
  • Lead by example when it comes to work-life balance – i.e., taking time off so your employees know they can as well
  • Leaders need to serve others – care about people and how they feel and what’s important to them
  • Have faith in something “bigger than yourself”

Does your employer offer opportunities for professional development as well as learning from others like Progrexion’s Women in Leadership & Learning program? If not, then it may be time to consider a career move to a place that does! Take a look at Progrexion and the opportunities they offer!

How To Talk About Diversity In An Interview: Top Tips

Are you a multicultural job seeker, military veteran, part of the LGBT+ community or have a disability? More than ever before, the answer is likely to be “yes.” Increasingly, employers pay attention to diversity and inclusion — so candidates should know how to talk about diversity in an interview setting.

Here are our top ten tips for how to talk about diversity in an interview.

How To Talk About Diversity In An Interview

Remember to make eye contact.

Employers and hiring managers interviewing you expect a direct gaze and a firm handshake. Your interviewer will remember your confidence and self-assuredness if you maintain direct (but not totally uncomfortable) eye contact. It’s a gesture that means you are listening and you care about what’s being discussed.

Bragging vs. explaining your accomplishments

In wondering how to talk about diversity in an interview, know that it’s your time to self-promote. Although it may feel distasteful to some, it’s perfectly normal to promote your abilities and diverse background through telling specific, factual stories from your experience. Be concise and confident. Whether you’re a veteran, a person of color, a woman in a male-dominated industry, have a disability or are part of the LGBT+ community, present your diversity as an asset to the role and company you’re applying for.

Express your diversity with anecdotes.

Before the interview, come up with 4-5 examples of times you’ve done a job or task well. What was the problem or issue, what did you do, and what was the outcome? Be specific. These are your own stories. Practice recounting them, because they can serve as strong answers to pretty much all the questions an employer might ask. What sets you apart? Are you part of any cultural or otherwise identity-related groups, such as an LGBT+ alliance or a women’s group? How has your background contributed to successes in past roles?

Focus on what you can do.

If you have a disability, for instance, highlight your abilities first. If possible, consider waiting to disclose your disability until you have demonstrated your abilities. For example, one hearing-impaired candidate took the time to create strong cover letters for each application. While her phone skills proved limited, prospective employers experienced her exceptional written communication immediately.

A tip for military veterans

Veterans have learned the language of the military, which can be a barrier during an interview in the civilian world. Remember to “translate” any military ranks, acronyms, job functions or jargon into terms the hiring manager will understand.

Professional, not personal

If your cultural background places high emphasis on family relationships, resist the urge to talk about your family when asked about your greatest accomplishments. Although this is a valid aspect of your diversity and uniqueness, it may not make sense to tie it in to your own accomplishments.

Don’t be long-winded.

Avoid excess elaboration in your responses to interview questions. The interviewer probably won’t take more time for the interview than what’s scheduled. You might find yourself interrupted mid-story if you ramble.

For seasoned candidates…

If you have previously held senior-level roles, be ready to discuss why you want this particular job and why you’re not “overqualified.” Express your genuine interest in this position, the company and your qualifications.

Accentuate the positive.

You might have experienced discrimination in the past. Yes — it’s an awful feeling. But keep any lingering resentment, bitterness or negativity out of the interviews. To stay upbeat, highlight your talents and strengths that stem from your uniqueness, and always avoid gripe sessions. Don’t complain about former coworkers or supervisors; just move forward and find the silver linings!

Don’t accept less than the best.

One way to find an employer who appreciates your diverse perspective? Focus your job search on award-winning employers with track records of diversity initiatives or awards. Meet some of the best companies for diversity & inclusion at our 3rd Annual Diversity & Inclusion Career Event. Secure your spot today!

Diversity and Inclusion Career EventFor more career tips and opportunities, subscribe to our eNews digest!

The Best Companies For Diversity & Inclusion

“Diversity: The art of thinking independently together.” – Malcolm Forbes

Workplaces are increasingly implementing ways to embrace the diversity of their employees. From winning national awards for their inclusion of women and minorities to providing tailored resource groups, some companies hold diversity particularly near-and-dear to their mission and values. Many of the 100 Best Arizona Companies have strong diversity and inclusion initiatives! Meet BestCompaniesAZ’s pick for the best companies for diversity and inclusion: American Express, Camden Property Trust, Cox Communications, Deloitte, General Motors, Hyatt Regency Phoenix, Medtronic, Quicken Loans, Synchrony Financial and USAA. So, get to know five of them below.

The Best Companies For Diversity & Inclusion

Cox Communications

As one of the best companies for diversity and inclusion, Cox Communications was recognized by DiversityInc on their 2017 list for Cox’s “best practices” in welcoming different skillsets, backgrounds and perspectives. Pat Esser, president of Cox Communications, serves as the chair of the National Diversity Council, a position he has held for about a decade. In 2016, Cox created a new 90-minute virtual learning experience, “Embracing a Culture of Inclusion,” and incorporated it into their training program geared toward middle manager and people leaders.

Cox also launched two new employee resource groups (ERGs) to serve employees, Black and African American and Cox Pride ERGs. These two new groups join their Women’s and Young Professionals ERGs. Furthermore, with more than 18,000 global employees, Cox’s mentoring programs also encompass cross-cultural mentor-mentee partnerships matching employees from different genders, races and ethnicities.

Hyatt Regency Phoenix

For the Hyatt Regency Phoenix, diversity and inclusion seem to be as second-nature as hospitality is to their leadership. Their Diversity Business Resource Groups (DBRGs) provide a variety of resources for colleagues who share a common cultural heritage, race, gender, age or interest. Their groups include: Asian Pacific Islanders, disABILITIES, HyPride, Black, Latinos, Veterans as well as Women. Hyatt also has a Supplier Diversity Program, enabling their appreciation for inclusion to come full-circle.

As the Hyatt site explains: “Hyatt builds and sustains a culture where everyone is embraced and valued for who they are so they can be their best. This enables Hyatt to provide authentic hospitality that cares for and also engages every guest and every colleague. We believe the more globally inclusive we are, in terms of culture, race, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, abilities, perspectives and styles of thinking, the stronger, more culturally invested and valued Hyatt will be globally as we continue to care for people to be their best.”

Hyatt Regency Phoenix also received a 100% score on the 2017 Corporate Equality Index, earning them an award for the Best Places To Work For LGBT Equality. In 2015, they were also recognized as one of the Best Workplaces For Women.


From advancing the careers of women at Medtronic to integrating diversity & inclusion processes into its HR scope and business development efforts, the company continually demonstrates their commitment to propelling healthcare forward in a conscious way. Medtronic also works to incorporate valuable employee feedback. Their focus is on enabling their people to do great work by embracing their authentic selves. “At Medtronic, diversity, inclusion, and engagement aren’t just buzzwords — they’re instruments of innovation… It’s a fact — when people from different cultures, genders, walks of life, and points of view come together, the quality of work improves exponentially and companies succeed and grow.” Their practices earned them a DiversityInc Top 50 Companies For Diversity award. The company also provides numerous ERGs to support local communities and cultures, including:

  • African American Resource Group
  • Asian Employee Resource Group
  • Christian Employee Resource Group
  • Disabilities Resource Group
  • Gay, Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, (LGBT) Employees and Their Allies Resource Group
  • Latino/Hispanic Resource Group
  • Muslim Employee Resource Group
  • National Black MBA
  • National Society Of Hispanic Engineers
  • Society Of Women Engineers
  • Veterans Employee Resource Group
  • Women’s Network Resource Group
  • Young Professionals Group

Synchrony Financial

A common theme with these Best Companies For Diversity & Inclusion? Employee Resource Groups. At Synchrony Financial, their Diversity Networks include an African American Network, Asian Professional Engagement Network, Hispanic Network, LGBT Partnership Network, People With Disabilities Network, Veterans Network and Women’s Network. Synchrony Financial believes that “inclusive thinking is the difference between a good idea and the best idea. Different perspectives allow us to see a problem from all angles and come up with the best solution. Diversity of thought, point of view and experiences drive creativity, innovation and make us stronger.”

The company, which is the largest provider of private-label credit cards in the United States, earned a place on Fortune’s 2016 50 Best Workplaces For Diversity as well as scored 100% on both the 2017 LGBT Corporate Equality Index and the Disability Equality Index.


With nearly 32,000 employees nationwide, USAA continues to prove that embracing employees from all backgrounds and walks of life allows them to better meet the needs of all of their members. They have earned a spot on Fortune’s 50 Best Workplaces For Diversity list, and also won a Top Companies to Work for in Arizona award for Exemplary Diversity Initiatives, among other recognitions for promoting an inclusive culture. Their tagline? “Many Faces. One Mission.”

“We recognize that employee and company performance are at their best when inclusion is embedded into the culture. Diversity and inclusion is a two-part equation. The business value of diversity is the diverse perspectives, thoughts and ideas it generates that leads to innovation and optimal performance.”

To promote diversity and inclusion as well as maximize organizational and individual potential, the company:

  • Provides diversity and inclusion skill building as well as training
  • Celebrates cultural heritage month events recognizing our rich diversity
  • Offers multiple career development and mentoring resources and tools
  • Leverages multiple feedback channels for employee ideas
  • Maintains an innovation lab and interactive tools and resources to foster inclusion as well as innovation
  • Conducts engagement surveys of all employees
  • Utilizes Diversity Business Groups to assist in turning diversity into measurable value for the association

Congratulations to these amazing organizations blazing trails to create workplaces that are diverse and inclusive, where all employees can thrive! So, does your job embrace different perspectives and backgrounds? If you’re unfulfilled in your current career, join us for our Diversity & Inclusion Career Event on November 1!

Work-Life Benefits: Vanguard Raises The Bar

When it comes to striking a happy balance between your work life and personal life, your job can either make it or break it. One company that offers excellent work-life benefits for employees is Vanguard, one of the world’s leading investment management firms.

The workplace awards Vanguard has received — including being named one of the Best Places To Work For New Dads — speak for themselves. They also spend time helping out in the community. Below, you’ll get a closer look into one of the 100 Best Arizona Companies and how Vanguard’s amazing benefits help attract and retain crew members (what Vanguard calls employees).

Work-Life Balance Benefits at Vanguard


Vanguard’s benefit program supports its crew  at all stages of their lives and their careers. Some recent enhancements focus on important events that nearly all crew will experience: welcoming children, acting as a caregiver, and pursuing or continuing education.

With Vanguard’s belief that their crew members deserve best-in-class parental leave, their revised benefits allow new parents to now remain eligible for six weeks of fully paid time off. Furthermore, mothers giving birth will also be eligible for up to 16 weeks with an increased disability benefit. Vanguard crew who become parents via adoption and surrogacy will receive assistance with associated costs, in addition to being eligible for equal time off.  

Recognizing that flexibility is key to a successful transition to parenthood, parents can each take the time off in increments that enable them to be home when they determine it is most needed.

Spending Time With Loved Ones In Tough Circumstances

Additionally, Vanguard’s new family care leave policy will grant their crew members two weeks of fully paid leave per year to care for ill family members. Time away from the office is important especially in such time-sensitive circumstances, and the company’s new leave supports this model. Increased bereavement leave will also give crew five days of leave and the flexibility they need following the death of a family member.

Making Time To Stay In Shape

Another one of Vanguard’s work life balance benefits is their ShipShape program. For just $15 a month, this allows employees to utilize professionally staffed, state-of-the-art fitness centers that offer a full range of programs and services to help you stay fit. In their Scottsdale location, Vanguard’s ShipShape program offers:

  • A variety of top-of-the-line fitness equipment
  • A large group exercise room
  • A cycling room
  • Fitness assessments & weight-loss challenges
  • Exercise classes
  • Personal training

Easing The Financial Stress Of Earning Your Degree

Lastly, Vanguard has recognized that the high costs associated with higher education impact an individual’s overall well-being. One of their newly unveiled work-life benefits is designed for this. Vanguard crew within five years of their graduation date from an undergraduate or graduate degree can now take advantage of a new student loan repayment plan. It provides a $100-per-month payment to loan servicers for a six-year term.

It’s one thing to carry out important work serving individual investors, institutions, employer-sponsored retirement plans and financial professionals. It’s another thing to integrate your aspirations and your life outside the office with your career. And Vanguard’s perks embrace all of the above.

To browse jobs and more work-life benefits at Vanguard, visit their Careers Page.

Developing Great Bosses: Direct Energy’s Four Components of Success

Everyone in business is aware of the importance of good leadership in a CEO. Less attention is given to the leadership capabilities of front line management, but supervisors play a critical role in the success of the company and the careers of those who call them “boss”. Direct Energy, rated as one of the Top Companies to Work for in Arizona and Arizona’s Most Admired Companies for 2017, demonstrates how a company’s investment in strong supervisory skills and developing great bosses pays off.

We’ve all heard the cliché that “people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their bosses.” Conversely, research proves that not only do good supervisors retain their staff, they make them better at their jobs. When employees in one professional services company were asked in a survey who they viewed as the company’s “leadership”, they most often replied, “my supervisor”. The CEO was named second. It’s possible that the relationship employees have with their immediate bosses are the most important relationships in the company.

Direct Energy has built a reputation for developing strong supervisory capabilities, and it shows in their exceptionally high employee survey results, which indicate 93% of employees have a great relationship with their supervisors. (*From the 2017 Top Companies to Work for in Arizona employee survey.)

Direct Energy develops great bosses largely by emphasizing four areas:

  1. Developing strong mentorships
  2. Volunteering
  3. Career development and coaching
  4. Developing trust

Developing strong mentorships

Teaching people skills and developing trust are generally the most important and complex elements of a supervisor’s role. Direct Energy’s Dave Ammons, Senior Manager, Vendor Relations, at Direct Energy, is one example of a leader who is committed to sharing his life and work experiences with others through mentoring. His highly interactive approach is focused on overcoming obstacles, building bonds of trust, and remaining vulnerable about his own experiences. Dave notes, “I’m confident the people I have had the privilege of mentoring find value in our mutual ability to reflect back to each other how we overcome obstacles and share ways in which we have moved forward in positive directions in our work and our personal lives.”


Volunteer leadership is not only an opportunity to bring more meaning to work, it can be remarkably good training for executive leadership. Why? Because the skills required are similar: persuasion, promoting work-life balance, and rallying employees around a common vision. Timoteo Araiza, Supervisor, at Direct Energy, explains; “We volunteer with Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Feed My Starving Children, the Salvation Army and St. Mary’s Food Bank, encouraging each employee to volunteer for every opportunity. Our volunteer program helps you become a better leader because you learn through volunteer work that every person is valuable, giving to others first will yield success and that we are better together.”

Career Development and Coaching

When Lisa Schroeder, now a Supervisor at Direct Energy, was at an earlier stage in her career, she reached out to her boss to inform him of her goal to get into management. He began coaching Lisa and helping her improve her skills. He offered opportunities for Lisa to lead meetings and projects, and was given the responsibility of sharing data with other supervisors. Raves Lisa, “I’ve had so much help from other leaders here at Direct Energy that have encouraged and nurtured my growth within the company. I have never worked for a company with such support for career advancement. Direct Energy is truly a one of a kind place to work!”


Direct Energy Leadership DevelopmentThe essence of good leadership includes trust, and trust is more powerful than power itself. Leaders who have built trust are often called “authentic”. Not only are they passionate about their work, they are compassionate with people, without biases based on race, gender, generation or stereotypes. They are the supervisors who will help you get where you want to go.

Kevin Jones, Supervisor, at Direct Energy, considers it a privilege to create trust in his role. “Trust is never easy to build but requires a consistent demonstration of a few characteristics. My employees appreciate my earnest commitment in knowing them individually and building a relationship without conditions. Furthermore, honesty, follow-up and dependability all have value toward building trust with any team assembled for purpose.”

Jones continues, “Emphasizing what we all have in common (both obstacles and goals) helps employees believe their obstacles are not overwhelming and goals are obtainable. Seek to foster an environment where barriers do not exist. Allow synergy to work for the common good, then everyone wins!”

A supervisor’s role is incredibly complex. Direct Energy has a track record of pouring into their supervisors, teaching people skills, developing trust and it is paying off for the company with high employee engagement, and winning workplace awards!

Learn more about Direct Energy’s Tempe office and their great career opportunities!

Why Companies Should Offer Employee Resource Groups

Imagine an innovative, efficient, inclusive, and productive workplace, where communication thrives across functions and up and down the hierarchy. This is the picture our clients’ employees paint when they describe their Employee Resource Groups or Business Resource Groups. Who doesn’t want that?

Look at some of the ways Employee Resource Groups benefit employers:

  • Grow high-potential leaders
  • Develop community partnerships
  • Assist in attracting diverse talent
  • Boost innovation
  • Encourage professional development
  • Cultivate mentoring
  • Provide cross-functional teamwork

ERGs provide solid opportunities for the next generation. Think of the potential career benefits: greater exposure in expanded networks, access to senior leadership, new skills learned from working on ERG initiatives, and the opportunity to increase cultural awareness throughout the company.

Charles Schawb Employee Resource GroupCharles Schwab’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) serve Asian/Pacific Islanders, Blacks, Veterans, LGBT, the environmentally focused, Latinos, parents, and women. Deloria Nelson, Schwab’s Managing Director of Diversity and Inclusion, supports all of those groups. She says, “It’s a great way to connect with colleagues, learn about the company, help recruit great talent, help spread the word about what a good company we are and gain professional development.”

One of the strongest ERG benefits for workers is the chance to develop leadership skills. Nelson explains, “Participation in an Employee Resource Group provides an opportunity to network with leaders, partner with Talent Acquisition and gain exposure to executives across various locations.”

Lashonda Royal, the national chair of Black Professionals at Charles Schwab (BPACS), describes her experience: “I’ve grown professionally, and my leadership skills have been enhanced. For example, I’ve been a project manager, a liaison, and a guest speaker on behalf of my group, and I am now its national chair. All of these opportunities were new to me and help me exercise my influence with not only my peers but leadership as well.”

Daniel Chaparro, who is an Area Wellness Manager for Hyatt and is a member of HyPrideAZ chapter, agrees. “Each day I can enter work and be my true self allowing me to focus on my daily tasks and make connections with colleagues, new hires and community partners. As part of the HyPrideAZ chapter we get to bring our purpose to life “We care for others so that they can be their best” by bringing awareness to not only our colleagues on LGBT issues and also be part of the LGBT community within Phoenix.”

Employee Resource Groups empower diverse groups, develop leaders, and develop new business opportunities. As the scope and function of ERGs has grown, the opportunities for career development have grown along with it. Savvy, diverse candidates often seek out companies with ERGs.

Hyatt also has a Women@hyatt ERG that focuses on the development of women leaders. AZWomen@hyatt is a program where colleagues of all levels are able to come together to mentor, flourish and guide the local members in their careers. Women@hyatt also hosts wellness, networking, life balance and community involvement events.  Lori Schacher has been a member of local chapter since 2014 and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the AZ chapter which includes all Hyatt properties in Phoenix and Tucson. “Women@hyatt is such a great resource for newer colleagues to meet and get to know other professional women within the company at all levels and across all our Hyatt brands. It offers opportunities for growth and development along with networking and fun” says Schacher.

Employees appreciate the enhanced opportunities and are enthusiastic in recommending their workplace to others. “Schwab gets the importance of diversity and inclusion,” explains Nelson. “Supporting ERGs is one way Schwab demonstrates that commitment. We recognize that diversity and inclusion make us a better company. Innovation and excellence are what we strive for, and including people with various backgrounds, gender and gender expressions, ethnicities, ages, disabilities, family status, veteran status and religions contribute to us being the awesome, industry-leading company we are.”

Employee Resource Groups are often a significant indicator of a company having a commitment to diversity and inclusion. BestCompaniesAZ is shining a spotlight on companies like this at our 3nd Annual Diversity & Inclusion Career Event, Wednesday, November 1, 2017. Meet hiring representatives from Charles Schwab, Hyatt and many more award-winning employers. Register today!


About the Author
Lee Vikre – Hiring Jedi
A workplace culture maven, writer, and speaker, Lee Vikre has helped numerous companies develop “best company” cultures, gaining recognition at the local and national level. Lee has been called the Jedi Master of hiring because of her exceptional recruiting abilities and friendships with people who love Star Wars. Her favorite activities involve matching people with their dream jobs at award-winning best companies. Lee coaches CEOs but still hasn’t been able to train her three dogs not to bark during conference calls.