Attracting Awesome Talent Workshop at Goodwill Industries Summer Conference

August 10, 2015by Mike LepisEmployee EngagementEmployer BrandingLeadership and StrategyRecruiting and Retention


Today I was honored to participate as a guest speaker at the Goodwill Industries Summer Conference. I love speaking and was lucky I got to address this group in my hometown of Portland. My family and I have been fans of Goodwill for a long time and donations on a regular basis. We are (almost) on a first name basis with the local store staff. They recognize us and notice let us know when they haven’t seen us for a while.

bring company values to employees to attract, retain, and promote highly engaged people

The format was called a ‘Test Kitchen,’ and I co-presented with Pat Boelter, CMO of Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin. It was great to share Vignette’s point of view on bringing company values to employees to attract, retain, and promote highly engaged people. I walked the attendees through a brand alignment exercise (Download PDF). I’ve included our worksheet and cheat sheet if you’d like to try it out yourself. The idea is to compare your brand promise to the employee experience and find the strengths and gaps.

Pat’s presentation was an impressive case study in effective audience-centric employer branding. Goodwill is competing with many larger retailers but does a great job of focusing on what makes workingfor them unique. And their recruitment effort is targeted at both hourly associates and managers. I’d be worried if I were a retailer and they were approaching my talent.

If you don’t know much about Goodwill Industries their mission statement will tell you a lot:

“Goodwill works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.”

And they are being recognized more and more as a great place to work. In 2014, they were listed at #19 on Forbes list of America’s Most Inspiring Companies. This year, they are ranked #11.

Again, it is always flattering to be invited to address colleagues who are passionate about employee communications and experience. And it is especially great to connect to an organization that is dedicated to great employee experiences and community development. Good luck to my new friends at Goodwill and I hope you enjoy your time in Portland. One last word of advice, skip Voodoo Donuts, and go straight to Blue Star.

Mike Lepis

As a Chief Strategy Officer, Mike leads our team to develop strategy, insights and creative solutions to drive employee engagement. He believes through human-centered design and strategic communications—employees will get behind a brand and its mission.