How IDOC used Certification in its recruitment marketing and put its employer brand on the map.
It’s hard to recruit new talent — especially when your employer brand is not well-known.
That was the challenge health care company IDOC faced as they set out to grow their small team of 30 employees.
Connecticut-based IDOC is an alliance of independent optometrists providing specialized services and consulting, personal account management, member-exclusive vendor discounts and rebates, continuing education and peer-to-peer networking to its 3,000+ members.
Back in 2019, IDOC knew it needed to grow its staff. So, it started developing a talent acquisition strategy, led by a two-person HR team of Jill Johnson, vice-president of people strategy & operations, and Nella Gonzalez, people operations manager.
But then COVID-19 hit and put any growth plans on hold.
During the pandemic, the company remained committed to its people and core values. Despite the financial hardship cause by various shutdowns, IDOC was able to retain all of its people and avoid layoffs.
Adversity and hardship brought out the best in IDOC and its people. In fact, during the spring of 2020, at the height of the pandemic crisis, IDOC’s employee pulse survey revealed some of the highest employee engagement scores.
But the pandemic wasn’t the only factor changing the 2020 workplace. During the civil unrest in response to the murder of George Floyd, IDOC’s team realized they needed to do more to address diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.
In the fall of 2020, CEO Dave Brown signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ pledge. Shortly thereafter, the company diversified its board of directors by bringing on three new members, effectively adding two persons of color and two women to the board.
These quick responses reflected IDOC’s core values of “people first, always” and “better together” — values that are very much appealing to job seekers who are demanding more from their employers.
Recruiting problem: “Not many people know the IDOC brand”
And yet, despite IDOC’s values-led culture and 20-year history, attracting new talent was a challenge, especially in today’s competitive labor market. The organization’s small size and humble attitude was making it practically invisible to the growing talent market.
“IDOC is a small organization,” explains Nella. “Not many people knew who we were.”
Jill and Nella knew that the same candidates they wanted were being lured in by bigger name companies that were also recruiting post-pandemic. With the recruiting field turned into a clear employees’ market, they wondered, how could IDOC stand out from the crowd?
The solution: “The Certified badge put us on the map”
In 2021, IDOC decided to pursue Great Place To Work Certification™, piggybacking on the strong work they had done for their staff in response to COVID-19 and in their DEI efforts.
Once Certified™, and with a goal of hiring 21 new employees in 2021, the marketing team got to work on promoting the news. In addition to adding the badge to their website and other branded materials, they also created a video interview with Jill and Dave about what Certification means to them, which was then posted on IDOC’s careers page.
“Almost every single candidate said they saw the badge, and they knew what that meant.”
They also promoted their Certification achievement at their annual 500+ member event, and in their quarterly publication, which goes out to their 3,000+ network of doctors.
Soon, applicants who had previously worked for much larger organizations were rolling in.
“Having that badge put us on the map,” says Nella. “Because we are recruiting the candidates that are looking at big companies. We have attracted them to IDOC from 5,000+ employee organizations.”“Almost every single candidate said they went to the career site, they saw the badge, and they knew what that meant,” says Jill. “They watched the video and that’s what really gave them the impetus to apply. Because in this market, employees have choice. Candidates have choice.”
The result: “I didn’t know what I was missing”
IDOC has now nearly doubled its employee base, growing from around 30 employees to 57 today. But more importantly, they’ve established themselves as an employer of choice.
Many of IDOC’s candidates said they were leaving their former roles because of bad company culture, or because their employer had failed to address employee needs due to the shift in how we work post-COVID.
"90% of our new hires said that Great Place To Work Certification™ was the key deciding factor in selecting IDOC.”
That catalyst set them off on a job hunt, and IDOC’s Certification badge and video drew them in.
“Every single new hire that we brought on has said to me, ‘I have never worked for a company that has the culture that IDOC has,” says Nella. “[They say] ‘I didn’t know what I was missing.’”
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