The Importance of Employer Branding – What it is, What it Does, and How it Can Help You – Webinar Recap

Last month, we had an incredible webinar featuring BestCompaniesUSA’s Founder and CEO, Denise Gredler, and Lindsay M. Smith, BestCompaniesUSA’s VP of Brand Evangelism

The two experts discussed the importance of employer branding, diving deep into the definition of employer branding and how companies can see return on investment from implementing a branding strategy.

During the webinar, Denise and Lindsay also shared their insights on which department within an organization should own the branding strategy.

The Importance of Employer Branding

Employer Branding has been a buzzword for a while now and has proven to be a beneficial strategy that drives notable positive results both inside and outside of your company.

Did you know that organizations with strong employer brands have had nearly double the stock market performance of organizations that haven’t created a strong employer brand in recent years?

That’s right. Employer branding does more than just help you attract great job candidates. It helps your bottom line too!

Why It Matters – Insights From Denise and Lindsay

In the webinar, Denise shared her “Top 10 List” of employer branding tactics and gave in-depth recommendations for how to win regional and national awards to build your brand.

Throughout her career, Denise has helped many companies win local, regional and national awards, establishing the firms as great places to work. She explained the importance of garnering leadership buy-in, analyzing data associated with other award winners, and creating a process for promoting your organization’s results.

Denise then shared what types of special events, culture tours, round tables, and executive dinners solidify your company’s culture in the minds of job applicants.

The webinar was loaded with insights and knowledge to help businesses think about their employer brand intentionally.

Lindsay and Denise provided numerous examples and data from the Top Companies to Work for in Arizona and the Most Admired Companies awards. As an example, Lindsay asked attendees what percentage of employees at Top Companies to Work for in Arizona award winners were engaged (meaning happy at work). The answer is 92%.

This number is significantly higher than the average percentage of employees who’re engaged at work nationally, which sits around 30%, according to Gallup’s 2017 State of The American Workplace Report.

From that statistic alone, truly implementing an employer branding strategy can have far reaching impact! If you want to simplify recruitment, increase retention and improve your human resources function’s return on investment, this webinar is full of best practices!

You can listen to the podcast version of the webinar here or listen to the episode below!

The Best Companies Experience podcast is now available on iTunes! Then, check out our iTunes profile to stay up to date on all of the latest episodes and take a look at all of our upcoming webinars here!


6 Creative Coworking Spaces in Phoenix

If you work remotely, are self employed or consider yourself a freelancer by trade, you probably know how it feels to get bored with working from your home office. Working from a coworking space is a great way to break up the the monotony of your daily routine, and add some variety to your day to day scenery.

Coworking spaces bring independent individuals together into a shared workspace. Remote workers, startup companies, students, freelancers and professionals gravitate  to these spaces in order to feed off of one another’s creative energy and productivity.

Working from a coworking space allows people to collaborate, share ideas and motivate themselves, diminishing the feeling of isolation some freelancers experience when working by themselves.

Whether you’re looking for a stylish and modern workspace or a cozy, eclectic environment, you’re sure to find your personal go-to from this list of five creative coworking spaces in Phoenix! Take a look.

The Department: Downtown Phoenix

Named after their building’s past-life, The Department is a coworking space located in a refurbished department store in downtown Phoenix. Modern meets functional at this coworking space that offers a wide range of seating and table space, fully-equipped conference rooms, phone and printing equipment, designated mailboxes, and high-speed wireless internet. Not to mention free coffee from the local hotspot, Cartel Coffee Lab! The Department’s central location in the city makes it an excellent, groovy coworking space.

Mod: Midtown Phoenix

Mod is a coworking office and event venue in Midtown Phoenix where independent workers can enjoy an open floor plan and a variety of seating options. Meeting spaces, private suites, dedicated desks and conference rooms are offered to members at a monthly or yearly rate. Mod is designed to maximize productivity and encourage innovation! The space has everything you could possibly need, including phone and laptop chargers and complimentary shipping. Grab a beer or coffee from their full-service beverage bar and get working!

Deskhub: Phoenix & Scottsdale

Deskhub is a coworking environment with a “boutique look and feel.” Deskhub has locations in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and San Diego. Along with conference spaces, meeting rooms, free internet, mail service and 24/7 access. Deskhub offers weekly networking events, keynote speakers and member outings. Unlike many coworking spaces, Deskhub allows members to change their membership commitments as needed. Members will feel right at home in this cozy, inviting workspace.

Workuity: Central Phoenix

For those freelancers and independent workers looking for a more structured workspace, Workuity is the place for you! Modern design meets function at this Central Phoenix coworking space. Take your pick of a private office, dedicated workspace or a flex desk, and enjoy all-inclusive perks such as free internet access, free printing, an on-site gym and unlimited coffee. Workuity provides an office space without the office feel.

The Office Bowl: North Phoenix

If an eclectic space where work and play combine sounds like the perfect fit for you, The Office Bowl will be your go-to. With two Phoenix area locations, The Office Bowl is like nothing you have seen before. Enjoy high speed internet, unlimited office supplies, rental computers, printing, copying, front desk service, mail handling and so much more, while taking advantage of the popcorn bar and a variety of beverages. Murals and unique artwork line the walls of this hip and vibrant coworking space. The Office Bowl is a low-cost coworking space that will inspire creativity and boost your productivity.

Galvanize Phoenix: Warehouse District in Phoenix

Galvanize Phoenix is a multipurpose workspace for startups and established technology companies. The space, which is located in the heart of Phoenix’s trendy warehouse district, has conference rooms, private phone booths, bike storage areas, free printing and free locally-sourced coffee! While Galvanize serves as a hub for technology companies, the space has learning opportunities and resources for entrepreneurs as well, including workshops and educational programs to learn new tech skills. If you love everything tech, check out Galvanize Phoenix.

For more information about Phoenix “bests” visit our website!

Tech Companies Hiring in Phoenix 2018

Interested in working in tech? With word of the tech industry’s incredible perks and meaningful work spreading, more and more people are interested in jumping into one of the world’s fastest-growing industries. With a variety of sectors and specialties, the technology industry caters to the passions and interests of many.

Over the past couple of decades, the Phoenix area has grown into a hub for tech companies, creating thousands of great jobs for Phoenicians. If you’re looking for tech companies hiring in Phoenix in 2018, these incredible companies are the best of the best.


With offices in Scottsdale and Tempe, GoDaddy is a large and growing technology company with more than 17 million customers worldwide. An exciting, innovative environment drives daily work at this fun-fueled company. Originally founded as a domain registrar company, GoDaddy has expanded into further tech ventures outside of web domains.

GoDaddy is looking for skilled software developers, technical support experts, data engineers, accountants and communications professionals. Skilled applicants who are excited by innovation and productivity should consider a career with GoDaddy. Take a look at GoDaddy’s open positions here!


Asset management and technology collide at this Scottsdale-based company. Vixxo aids in leveraging data to help businesses succeed, streamlining maintenance and achieving sustained cost savings for a variety of Fortune 500 companies.

Fostering diversity and employee growth is the foundation of this company, where continuous innovation lends a competitive edge in the market. Talented marketing specialists, content developers, web developers and data analysts are encouraged to apply and begin a career with Vixxo.


Software company, Zocdoc, helps doctor up the healthcare experience for patients everywhere. Zocdoc’s user-friendly software helps solve patient problems, allowing them to book appointments online instantly, choose doctors and stay on top of checkups.

The company has more than 500 employees across it’s offices in Phoenix, New York, and Pune, India, and is looking to grow its team! Zocdoc is hiring team members for its client operations and health system sales departments in Phoenix. Click here to learn more about Zocdoc’s open positions.


Insight is a Fortune 500 information technology company that provides hardware, software and cloud and service solutions to businesses. The company prides itself on bringing a smart approach to technology solutions. The Insight team is comprised of more than 6,400 team members all over the world. You could be one of them!

Insight has more than 50 openings at it’s Tempe locations. If you’re looking for employment as an engineer, project manager, business development manager, Human Resources manager, marketing content coordinator or anything in between, take a look at Insight’s open positions here.


The founders of Infusionsoft love small businesses. They put this and passion love into action and BOOM, Infusionsoft was born. The company offers software solutions for small businesses, including a sales and marketing automation platform, and an ecosystem of resources for small businesses!

Infusionsoft is looking for a brand advocacy marketing manager, data analyst, and senior product manager. Think you’d be a great fit? Check out more career opportunities at Infusionsoft here.

Browse through more opportunities at Arizona’s best companies on our website!



Best Coffee Shops For Remote Workers In Phoenix

Whether you work entirely remote, or you spend a few days of the week working from home, getting out of the office can provide a much-needed break from a busy work week.  

While the comfort of your home can lend some peace to your normally hectic week, it’s easy to feel restless and distracted. You need a go-to environment that clears away the mind fog and kicks your motivation into gear. Here’s a look at some of the best coffee shops for remote workers in Phoenix, Arizona. They’re bound to brighten up your work day.

Cartel Coffee Lab: Tempe, Scottsdale, Downtown Phoenix

With three equally inspiring locations, Cartel Coffee Lab is a hip and vibrant coffee shop. Cartel prides itself on its specialty coffee and the growers who supply their coffee beans. Each location offers a variety of indoor and outdoor seating options, and free wifi as powerful as their strongest cup of joe! The schedule of a remote worker can be in constant flux. Luckily, Cartel’s hours vary from location to location, giving you options and ensuring you’ll find one that’s open when you need it to be.

Sip Coffee and Beer Garage: Arcadia

Grab a cup of hot coffee or a cool cocktail at this modern, lively shop on the corner of N. 36th Street and Indian School Road. Sip Coffee and Beer Garage is an open-concept coffee and beer shop that boasts an inviting environment created for the purpose of bringing people together.

Locally sourced products line the shelves along with 24 rotating craft beers on draft. Many indoor seating options are available to those who prefer to listen to the live music and coffee shop chatter, while outdoor seating is offered for those who would like to work on the covered porch. Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or an advocate for great beer, this coffee shop is great for remote workers looking for an open and lively work-space.

Piexoto Coffee Roasters: Chandler

If you’re on the hunt for a cozy, eclectic environment, Piexoto Coffee Roasters could be your go-to coffee shop. The shop’s crop-to-cup business model ensures that each coffee bean that goes into your cup comes straight from the farmers themselves.

The environment is just as inviting as the coffee! Pixeto offers a variety of cozy seating options and plenty of natural light. Remote workers will love this Chandler gem for its quiet, cozy atmosphere and incredible coffee. And of course, we can’t forget the free wifi.

Volstead Public House: Mesa

Nothing beats a lunch break in the middle of a long day of hard work. Volstead Public House, located in the heart of downtown Mesa, boasts an unmatched coffee selection and a full-service vegan and vegetarian menu. The backdrop of historical brick walls and classic chandeliers makes for a unique, cozy environment.

If your work calls for a large workspace, Volstead’s option of large tables and open seating will meet all of your needs. Remote workers are sure to leave Volstead Public House with a renewed sense of motivation and a full stomach!

Desoto Central Market: Central Phoenix

Desoto Central Market is a food-lover’s dream. This open-concept, indoor market offers many eating options, an open bar and a specialty coffee shop. Get to work on the city-facing covered porch, or stake your claim a seat in one of the four indoor seating areas.

Remote workers will feel energized and inspired by the variety of food and seating options. If you love the feel of an industrial, modern environment, Desoto Central Market is the workspace for you.

Honorable Mentions

Phoenix is overflowing with coffee-shop goodness. It’s only fair to include some of our honorable mentions!

Lux: Uptown Phoenix

Lux is a bustling, 24-hour coffee shop with a full kitchen service. Grab a specialty coffee and find inspiration in one of the three themed rooms.

Gold Bar Espresso: Tempe

This small, mom and pop coffee shop fosters a peaceful work environment. Don’t forget to grab a sweet treat from their locally-praised pastry menu!

The Coffee Shop: Gilbert

Gilbert’s best kept secret, The Coffee Shop, is a restaurant and coffee shop in Gilbert’s Agritopa neighborhood. Remote workers will love this open-concept workspace for its yummy food options and vibrant environment.

For more information about some of the best people, places and companies to know in Phoenix, browse through our website!


How To Start a Career in Cyber Security

Wondering how to start a career in cyber security? You’re not the only one.

Cyber security careers are one of the fastest growing, and most lucrative career opportunities in IT today. The median salary is set at around $92,500 per year nationwide. Industry trends are creating more job opportunities at large employers, which helps create job security. It’s no wonder why many IT professionals – including you – may be considering making cyber security a destination on your career path.

Here’s how to start a career in cyber security.

Decide if a career in cyber security is really right for you.

Dreaming about a cyber security career is one thing, but actually pursuing a career in this field is another.

Before you commit to this challenging career path, take a minute to determine if it’s really right for you.

One great way to do this is to conduct an informational interview with another cyber security professional who already has the job that you want. Identify cyber security professionals in Phoenix who are on LinkedIn and start reaching out with a connection request.

Inquire about meeting up for a coffee or conducting an interview via email. Ask the tough questions. What’s it really like working a 9-5 in cyber security? What are the pros and cons? What advice would you give to yourself if you were to start your career over again?

Ask the tough questions, and you’ll get real answers that will help guide you in your career journey.

Determine what education requirements you need.

The education requirements for cyber security professionals are demanding. Some cyber security jobs require a Master’s Degree in Cyber Security, Computer Science, or another IT related field. Those degrees are not easy to obtain, and they are certainly not cheap.

Analyze a few job descriptions and review the education requirements. How do the requirements align with your current education credentials?

Weigh the costs of education, and consider the benefit of a degree. What doors will education open for you that are currently closed?

Make your list of companies with cyber security career opportunities.

This is the fun part. Make a list of the best companies in Arizona that you want to work for. See if those companies have cyber security opportunities.

Here are a few local Phoenix based companies with cyber security job opportunities: Charles Schwab, GoDaddy, Vixxo, and more technology companies in Arizona.

Apply for cyber security job positions.

Now’s your chance to apply for a new job opportunity with cyber security.

Here’s a list of the best technology jobs in Arizona to give your job search a head start!

If you haven’t searched and applied for a job in awhile, be sure to brush up with these helpful resources:

BestCompaniesAZ is the pioneer in recognizing best companies in Arizona. As a founding partner of several workplace awards programs including the first program in Phoenix in 2003, we have been a leader in identifying, developing, and promoting great workplaces. We know how to build strong employer brands. For us, this is more than a business, it’s a mission. We invite you to build and promote your best company with us.

Denise Gredler Talks Benefits, Perks and Entrepreneurship On The Benifit Podcast

You probably already know that BestCompaniesAZ’s founder and president, Denise Gredler, is a rockstar! She’s grown BestCompaniesAZ into an amazing great places to work program in Arizona.

But, did you know that before stepping out on her own, Denise worked to create a path for her employer to get on the Fortune 100 Best Companies To Work For list? Have you heard about where her passion for companies who create great places to work for their employees comes from?

Denise talks about all of these things and more in her featured podcast interview on The Benifit. The Benifit is a local Phoenix podcast hosted by Kate King, the CEO and Founder of, an innovative and culture-focused employee benefits broker.

The podcast, featuring interviews with influential leaders in human resources, focuses on the idea that when humans thrive, companies prosper. Her interviews with these HR leaders include conversations about what they do to enable their employees to thrive in the workplace, and much more. 

During her interview with Kate, Denise talks about the purpose of BestCompaniesAZ and how she got started. Denise also gets real about why she made the jump from the corporate world to entrepreneurship, and shares some of the benefits and perks that are trending among Arizona’s best companies.

Additionally, Denise sheds light on the value and role of Employee Resource Groups in the workplace. She breaks down the building blocks of a great company culture, and explains why people leave jobs. The episode is jam packed with inspiration and wisdom. You won’t want to miss it. You can listen to the episode here -let us know what you think! Be sure to leave comments, share it and give it a thumbs up!

Habitat’s Blueprints & Blue Jeans Gala and Habitat at the Ranch Volunteer Build Event Set for March 2-3, DC Ranch in Scottsdale

Phoenix, AZ – Feb. 17, 2018 – Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona (Habitat) is hosting its annual gala fundraiser, “Blueprints & Blue Jeans” this year at beautiful DC Ranch in Scottsdale, on Saturday, March 3, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The special guest speaker is Mark Victor Hansen, best-known as co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, and a nationally renowned motivational speaker. Tickets are on sale now. Proceeds from the celebratory event will be used throughout the year to fund numerous community projects within Central Arizona.

As part of DC Ranch’s 20th anniversary celebration, the picturesque community at the base of the McDowell Mountain foothills, is hosting a 2-day build event, “Habitat at the Ranch.” No prior building experience necessary and volunteers over the age of 8 are welcome. Volunteers may participate on Friday, March 2 or on Saturday, March 3, to help erect the frame of a house, build shelves, benches, birdhouses, and other construction in the parking lot of DC Ranch’s Homestead Community Center. Details are available online at

Saturday afternoon, March 3, Habitat at the Ranch will sponsor a wall raising, where participants will raise and position frames they have constructed and sign them. The personal signatures of the volunteers who helped built them traditionally contain prayers and well wishes to the new homeowners. From there, the frames will be transported and warehoused until they are placed in a new Habitat home.

Jason Barlow, Habitat president & CEO, stated, “We’re deeply grateful to DC Ranch, our event sponsors, and the numerous communities and businesses throughout the Valley that have generously contributed to make this possible. It is because of your support, we are able to serve Central Arizona’s communities.”

For more information on either of these upcoming events, please call Habitat at 602-232-1072 or visit

About Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona

Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona (Habitat) is a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, the renowned humanitarian organization based in Atlanta. Each affiliate operates as a separate 501c3 nonprofit and is responsible for leading its own fundraising and operations management, while adhering to the Habitat for Humanity mission of serving communities within its area. Habitat promotes volunteer programs with corporations, groups, churches and individuals. Their services include new home construction, re-constructions, renovations, repairs (even emergency repairs) and most recently, entire neighborhood revitalization projects. Consistently ranked among the Top 10 of 1,300 affiliates nationally, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona has built more than 1,100 homes in the metro Phoenix area. To learn more, please visit, or find us on Twitter @habitatcaz.


Media Contact:
Dusty Parsons
Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona

Career Transition Tips for Veterans

The job hunt can be challenging for veterans making a career transition. BestCompaniesAZ caught up with Mark Day HR Services Representative, Performance Support Team at State Farm who has made the transition from military to civilian work. Mark hopes his story helps others who are transitioning out soon or have done so recently.

What was the job hunt like for you as a veteran?
It was taxing, to say the least. I started my hunt around 2 ½ months before I left the service. I was reaching out to friends, family, and old network connections in an effort to be able to walk directly into the right career field when I came home.  I had multiple people across many different industries review my resume and even provide interview tips to help me better understand the difference between civilian interviews versus a military style interview. When I came home to Phoenix I began applying to every opportunity I could find ranging from things I was over-qualified to do to careers that I did not have enough experience for. I spent literally every hour I had rewriting my resume for each posting, working on my interview presentation skills, attending career fairs, and applying for jobs.  That lasted for about 20 days.

What were the specific challenges you faced in looking for a civilian job?
Having a family, while a blessing, can be very stressful when dealing with the strains of making a mid-career switch. I needed to find a school for my oldest (who was in Kindergarten) at the time, and my twin boys were still in diapers, so trying to find daycare that was reasonable was difficult when I was living off my savings. While I prepared the best I could, it still was nerve racking every day that I was not working, because I was wondering “When am I going to stop burning through my savings and start bringing income in again?” Aside from the typical stresses that anyone would have with making a life change like that, I had this military mindset that I needed to go and find a job. I had it labeled like a checklist in my head: write a resume, apply to a job, interview for  job, and go to work. I struggled with the concept that I was looking for the right career fit where I would not only be interviewed, I should be asking questions to learn more about the company to determine if I would like working and growing there.

How did you find State Farm? What was the hiring process like for you?
I actually never even thought about applying to State Farm or even joining the insurance industry in general. I attended a career fair hosted by Wounded Warrior that I had heard about on the news that morning. I printed 50 resumes and drove over to the other side of town to attend. The event was only a few hours and there were so many different vendors from every industry. I made a plan to speak to every organization in attendance, but in the end I ran out of time.  I had actually walked into the last room where the Phoenix Police Department was closing up their setup. I asked a few questions and that’s when the State Farm recruiter came back to grab a few more items she needed to pack up for the day. She said hello and I replied back. I asked a few questions, because my assumption was that the only thing to do at an insurance company was work at a call center or be an insurance agent. Both are great opportunities, however, it wasn’t where I wanted to head in my transition. I realized the time was past so I apologized for going over the scheduled time and attempted to excuse myself, because when I was a recruiter in the service I knew what kind of hard work that a career fair takes, in addition to usually having to be someplace else right after the event. So I wanted to be respectful of that. What sparked my true interest in State Farm was that she didn’t flinch when I offered an out. She said not to worry and asked me more questions about my experience and time in the service. She took the time to explain in more detail all of the different opportunities at State Farm.  Her genuine enthusiasm and support of the organization was what drove me to actually apply. I was not even sure I would find a place where the employees had the kind of camaraderie and the pride that I was accustomed to in the service.

Did you experience anything different during the hiring process at State Farm, as compared to other companies? If so, what and/or how?
I had interviewed at multiple companies before interviewing at State Farm, ranging from start-ups to mid-level companies and other fortune 50 organizations. What I found that set State Farm apart was their interest in my actual application of my skill sets. Most organizations seemed to have the check mark mentality when reviewing your resume and even during the interview. There was a large amount of experience-based questions to understand application of my accomplishments. I was able to provide more context on a lot of my military experience that may not have been easily translated had it been left to just a resume. It was great not just explaining what I did in those scenarios but why I did certain actions.

What has it been like for you working at State Farm?
Joining State Farm has been nothing short of one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I, like many veterans before me, struggled initially with transitioning from the service to the corporate environment. I reached out to my manager with my concerns and how things are different in a corporate atmosphere. What was really helpful was that he set me up with a mentor. My mentor was a fellow veteran who understood the challenges I had facing me ahead. He had been with the company for about 10 years, so he essentially was able to help keep me grounded while also being able to help me work on what some would call “rough edges” in my communication style. The most impactful thing he was able to do was help me feel more relaxed in the environment.

How have your military skills and experience transferred to a civilian career?
I worked on explosives and was a recruiter for a few years while I was in the service. I worked my way up to being a senior leader in my division. While I don’t work on explosives anymore, I found that it was my leadership experience and time on recruiting duty that employers found most appealing and transferable.  Things like performance evaluations for employees and leaders alike, coaching to gain positive results, and holding the standards of policies and regulations to yourself and those around you are all skills I use on a daily basis.

How have you felt supported by your employer?
State Farm truly pushes work/life balance for all of their employees.  Our mentorship program allows for the continued development of our employees by connecting newer/junior employees with more tenured/senior employees and managers across the enterprise. We have development time that can be used to job shadow other areas if you are interested in pursuing other facets at State Farm and we also have Employee Resource Groups. When I explained to my manager that I wanted to be involved with the Military Affinity Group, which is an Employee Resource Group at State Farm, he was very supportive of it. Now I am in a position where I am also the Area Leader here in Phoenix of that group where we are helping veterans connect with veterans internally at State Farm along with working with our community.

What advice would you give to those who are about to separate from the military?
To help create a more seamless career transition, start at least six months before separation. Save as much cash in hand to support you and your family while you are finding the right career, which can help mitigate that stress over not working right away. Take time to reflect on a career choice and don’t just go get a job. As a service member, the mindset is to get the mission done, so we go out and get a job. To do that, many of us downplay our accomplishments on our resumes and become underemployed by accepting the first offer we receive. Also, when you are on the job hunt, it is a hunt. Go to every career fair you hear of, reach out to people to review and provide feedback to your resume, and practice interviewing with other people.

What advice would you give employers about hiring veterans?
Veterans bring many talents and skills to the table that employers are willing to pay for. With that talent comes a stigma. Most employers may assume it is some kind of disability such as PTSD, and what will that condition do to the current environment? Yes, some veterans are working through that, but veterans as a whole are going through a very stressful, dynamic, and quick turnaround when adapting to the corporate environment/transition out of the service. The adaptation also includes things as simple as no longer using military jargon or even proper dress standards – they are all a learning curve. Remember these men and women have been wearing a uniform in their last role and putting their life on the line on a regular basis. While there is no need to shy away from that stress, the simple acknowledgement of it helps. Something as simple as setting them up with a mentor enables an employer to have a very highly trained, and skilled employee who is loyal to fault.

Are you in a career transition as a veteran, or will soon be retiring or separating from the military? Then don’t miss BestCompaniesAZ’s 4th Annual Military Career Event on March 7! Meet hiring representatives from State Farm and many more veteran committed employers.  Register today!

Story provided by
Mark Day
HR Services Representative, Performance Support Team
State Farm

Military Career Transition: Thriving In Your Next Job

With a concerted emphasis by many employers to hire veterans, the unemployment rate for veterans has dropped to its lowest rate in over a decade. But many still find the military career transition to a fulfilling private sector career to be a challenge. We recently caught up with Sean Lau, U.S. Navy, Retired and now Veteran Recruiter at GoDaddy to learn how he managed his own military career transition, as well as his career progression at GoDaddy and the support he receives and provides to Veterans at GoDaddy.

BCAZ: Was it challenging for you to find a job after retiring from the Navy?

SL: In April 2014 I retired after more than 22 years active duty in the Navy.  As I was looking to start my career transition from the military, I was fortunate enough to have my pension from the Navy so I didn’t have to chase a specific salary, I knew that I wanted to be part of an organization that I could be proud of and grow with.  It was a bit of a challenge at first finding a job, but I utilized the resources available to me and did a lot of research online to make myself more marketable.

BCAZ: What attracted you to GoDaddy?

SL: I had quite a few options that I was looking at and I did my due diligence and did a lot of research and spoke to employees at the different companies that were making me offers.  The two most important factors that I was looking at was the company culture and the room for career growth.  After a few months, I chose GoDaddy and it was the best decision that I ever made.  The company culture is second to none, and my career growth just in the past 3+ years has been tremendous.  I am truly happy here and get a ton of job satisfaction in what I do daily.

BCAZ: How did your initial role at GoDaddy prepare you to move on to another position?

SL: Once I made the decision that GoDaddy was the place for me, I accepted an entry level role as a Customer Consultation & Care Representative (Inbound). I had career goals for myself but most importantly, I wanted to work for GoDaddy in any capacity.  After working in our Inbound department, I moved to GoDaddy Talent Acquisition as a Recruiting Coordinator and then eventually as the Veteran Recruiter.  I found that working as a CCCR was invaluable because it helped me build a base for my understanding of the business as well as giving me the insight to the role that I hire most of my candidates to.  GoDaddy loves to promote within.  Our company culture is very important to us and if we can promote from within our ranks with people who are already a part of our exciting culture, we will definitely do that before hiring externally.

One of the programs we have in place to promote internal career growth is our shadowing program.  Every employee gets 4 hours every two-week period to allow for shadowing of any other department or specific role.  If an employee hears great things about a certain department and they want to see what they are all about, then we allow the employee to see what it’s like in the shoes of someone in that department.  They are able to speak to people already in that role as well as the leadership for that role and see if that is where they would like their career to progress.  We encourage this cross training so each and every employee can see all that we have to offer at the company.

BCAZ: What kinds of skills did you develop during your time in the military that you have used in your roles at GoDaddy?

SL: I feel that all branches of the military ingrain attention to detail, good work ethic, and drive, which are all very important to be successful here at GoDaddy.  I also believe that most Veterans are mission or goal oriented which fits very nicely into our job profile.  GoDaddy is very metric driven and in general, our Veterans perform about 10% to 15% above our non-Veteran coworkers in our Customer Care Center.  It is the reason why we love to hire Veterans to the company and put the resources we do at attracting them to come work with us.

BCAZ: How does the GDVets Employee Resource Group support you and veterans, spouses, etc. at GoDaddy?

SL: Started in October of 2014, GoDaddy Veterans has quickly become one of our great successes for our Veterans and Veteran supporters here at the company.  We currently have around 550 Veterans at the company but along with our Veteran Supporters, our GoDaddy Veterans organization has about 1200 members.  I was one of the founding members of the group and I currently am holding the position of Vice President of the organization.  When we started this group, our goal was to be recognized as the most sought after “Veteran Friendly” company to work for both internally and externally.  Internally we wanted to see true inclusion and opportunity as a benefit of the GoDaddy family.  Externally, we are proud to be named one of the Fortune’s 100 Best Places to Work in the U.S., but also be recognized by the military community in the same regard.

Each year we have 3 main showcase events which are the Memorial Day Picnic, our Halloween Truck or Treat (which is led by GDVets, but all ERGs are involved), and the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade.  We also hold other events like periodic Ice Cream Socials, our annual Letter Writing Campaign (writing letters to deployed Veterans overseas during the holiday season) and also family movie nights on our campus with the outdoor inflatable screen and projector.

BCAZ: Describe how you feel GoDaddy supports veterans in all areas of the organization.

SL: As a whole, GoDaddy does an OUTSTANDING job supporting our Veterans in all areas of the organization and making their military career transition successful.  On top of our already generous PTO program, our active reservists get an additional 10 days of paid time off for attending military training or deployments. I don’t know of any other company that does this.  Also, back in October of 2017, we (HR) reached out to all our Veterans and asked the question “If there was something that GoDaddy could do to make your employment here even better, what benefit, perk or policy would you like to see?”  We of course got some replies like “increase all Veteran’s pay!”, but one constructive suggestion was based on increasing child care benefits for our single parent Reservists during their deployments, which is currently being looked at.  So in summary, even given a “blank check” for suggestions, our Veterans are very happy and well supported here at GoDaddy!

Meet Sean and others from GoDaddy at our 4th Annual Military Career Event, Wednesday, March 7. Get all the details and register here.


A Veteran Job Search Made Easier by USAA

The job hunt is different for veterans. BestCompaniesAZ caught up with Patrick Fitzhugh from USAA who has made the transition from military to civilian work. Patrick hopes his story helps others who are transitioning out soon or have done so recently.

What was the job hunt like for you as a veteran?

In short, very difficult. The easiest thing was to fall into a government contracting job. But after deciding to get out of contracting work, I spent months without a job and was turned down time and time again. More frustrating, no one would give me any specific feedback as to why. With my skills and prior level of responsibilities, it just didn’t make sense.

What were the specific challenges you faced in looking for a civilian job?

Creating a resume that made sense to non-military, learning how to limit military speak, checking my ego, finding a good culture fit, and effectively translating my skills into what was desired in the civilian marketplace.

How did you find USAA? What was the hiring process like for you?

I grew up knowing about USAA and was a member well before I could even drive, thanks to my dad who is also a veteran. I knew when moving to a city that had a USAA office that this was the only company that I wanted to work for. From day one, the process was unbelievably smooth and easier than any administrative process the military ever put me through. USAA’s hiring process made me feel appreciated right away when interviewers took a genuine interest in my military background and thanked me for my service. It was very impressive with how much they incorporate the military into every phase of training.

Did you experience anything different during the hiring process at USAA, as compared to other companies? If so, what and/or how?

At other companies, military service is just a checkmark on a hiring form. All the way through training and to this day, I have people reaching out to me for my perspective as a veteran.

What has it been like for you working at USAA?

The transition from military and government to a corporate culture like USAA is never going to be easy, but I think this was the healthiest place it could have happened for me. USAA has not tried to replace my leadership background and experiences, but instead has built on them.

How have your military skills and experience transferred to a civilian career?

I worked as an instructor in a very specialized, small, and high stress environment, so public speaking, adapting to change quickly, and high stress situations have never slowed me down. It turns out that these are highly desired skills that don’t come naturally to most people in the civilian workforce. As a veteran, you can also bring a culturally diverse perspective to most situations, and finding an environment that embraces this perspective has been key to my success.  

How have you felt supported by your employer?

USAA has an amazing veterans’ organization that I am actively involved in. It creates a platform and network for the veterans and family of military members to come together. USAA keep us true to our mission, and focused on the reality of what our veterans go through. Outside of this, the communications, events, and recognition of military birthdays and events create one of the most supporting military cultures that I’ve found outside of the military itself.

What advice would you give to those who are about to separate from the military?

Be proactive, and don’t expect someone to instantly want to hire you because of your veteran status, or extensive resume. Hire a professional to put your resume together, and do your research on how to translate your military experience into terms the company will understand. Finally, look at the culture of the organization above the position or title. Your first job or career out of the military will be short lived if it’s not a good cultural fit for you, regardless of pay and title.

What advice would you give employers about hiring veterans?

Learn that veterans bring an infinitely diverse range of experiences, perspectives, skills, and strengths to the marketplace. They won’t always know how to translate this into your language, so learn what to ask and how to speak some of their language. Otherwise you run the risk of passing up on some of the best talent out there. With a focus on diversity in the workplace, veterans offer a distinctly unique set of values and perspective than you will find anywhere else outside the military community, and your company will only be stronger for tapping into it.

Meet hiring representatives from USAA’s Phoenix campus at the 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.

Patrick Fitzhugh is an insurance manager in Member Solutions Department supporting after hour employees and that particular book of business. Patrick joined USAA in March of 2011 as a frontline servicing agent and has worked in several areas within insurance area to include Insurance Servicing, Deposit Servicing, and New Member Solutions. He currently supports a USAA Diversity Business Group called Elevate as a core team member, a Veterans Network Employee Resource Group called VETNet, and has been heavily involved with Learn 2 Lead (supporting frontline employees to advancement to leadership). He is a graduate of the 1st cohort of the Drive 2 Director program.

Patrick is third generation military, and entered the United States Air Force as a Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) Specialist. As a veteran, Patrick worked for the Department of Defense and Department of the Army working in support of the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency as a SME in personnel recovery and rescue.