Long before COVID-19 made employee wellness and working from home new priorities for workplaces around the globe, VMware was experimenting with fine-tuning its employee experience. This unsung hero of the B2B technology space was powering some of the busiest and most visible brands of the early months of the pandemic, all while supporting a globally distributed workforce.
Keeping a watchful eye on these experiments was Global Employment Brand Manager Price Peacock, whose team is responsible for showcasing that employee experience to the public. Peacock and her team pinpointed a few choices that were helping VMware’s culture and employer brand thrive: remote work, “gut checks,” and centering employee stories.
Embracing the distributed team model benefits businesses in several ways. chiefly: It allows hiring managers to recruit from a larger pool, and it makes you a more attractive employer to the staggering number of workers who now prefer telecommuting. (There’s also evidence it lowers turnover.)
VMware caught wise to these benefits and launched its Future of Work initiative to implement a new distributed team strategy. Employees can now choose to be remote, fixed (fully in-person), or flexible (a mix of remote and fixed) based on their role.
The move to a distributed team helped VMware address its top talent challenge: standing out in the competitive local tech talent market in Palo Alto, California, where VMware’s headquarters sit. “From a talent perspective, we’re enabling our recruiters, sourcers, and hiring managers to look for people in areas not near VMware offices. That’s allowing us to remove some of those challenges that we historically faced and hire more diverse talent,” Peacock says.
Though the Future of Work initiative launched pre-pandemic and was intended to involve a multi-year roll-out effort, the sudden global shift toward working from home brought on by COVID-19 proved to VMware how successful their model could be, even under unideal circumstances. According to Peacock, “It was the proof point that said, ‘We really can do this.’”
Every year, Peacock’s employer brand team sits down for a “gut check.” They reevaluate their priorities and check their efforts against their larger relevance to the company. “It’s allowed us to be nimble, learn, and evolve our employer brand strategy,” Peacock says.
Recent “gut checks” have reinforced the importance of investing in employees’ individual futures. In Peacock’s words, “VMware is a place where you are valued for who you are, where you can achieve progress (both personally and professionally).”
VMware’s internal EVP reflects this commitment to employees’ development: Own your future. Its employer brand team also maintains a close relationship with the corporate brand team to ensure the message they promote internally stays aligned with the values VMware professes externally.
One of the most direct, meaningful ways to keep your employer brand messaging aligned with employee perspectives is to center those perspectives in your content. “Employee referrals today are our number one source of hire. Knowing that, we recognize the importance of our people’s perspectives and voices,” Peacock says. “We actively partner with the 33,000+ employees that work at VMware to create, share, and participate in the content and experiences we’re creating for prospective employees.”
Peacock’s team makes this kind of creation as easy as possible with tools like its mobile video app for creating employee-generated videos. Prospective candidates will find these personal videos on the VMware Careers social media channels (which include a few platforms lesser-used in employer branding, like YouTube and WeChat).
In foregrounding employee storytelling, Peacock is allowing VMware’s culture to speak for itself. “VMware’s brand is the sum of the emotions and attitudes that people have with us, whether it be our employees, our customers, or the broader community,” she says.
As much as the past year has challenged and disrupted workplaces like VMware, it’s also made the positive impact of Peacock’s work more tangible. Its value is more felt than ever, she says—“Our work is meaningful.”
Our newsletter is exclusively curated by our CEO, Jörgen Sundberg, for leaders who make decisions about talent. Subscribe for updates on The Employer Branding Podcast, new articles, eBooks, research and events we’re working on.