Anne Nimke

EP6: Anne Nimke: Ways to Leverage your Culture to Attract the Best Talent

Who is Anne Nimke and what are the key takeaways in this episode?

With 35 years of experience in staffing and recruiting, our guest is definitely someone who can speak a lot about company culture and its impact in attracting talent.

Today’s guest is Anne Nimke, CEO and co-founder of Good Jobs Inc. Some of the topics we’ve covered in this 49 minute interview include:

  • The story behind Good Jobs and how it all started
  • Her view on the missing piece in the recruitment process
  • Her recommendations for someone who is a member/leader of an organization
  • Why she believes that every job seeker has a choice
  • Why she thinks we are facing skills gap
  • How they quantify culture
  • Plus a whole lot more…

The Questions

[4:21] When you started The Good Jobs, tell us your story behind that. What drove you to that?
Answer: I saw a gap in the market. After working with all different sizes of companies all over the world I saw that information is lacking. And yet, there are great stories and great information that’s available at super companies that just needs to be shared.

[7:55] What was the most monumental event that happened to you, your tipping point when you were first starting your company?
Answer: I was at a time of passage actually. My mom had passed. I had some relationship issues with my youngest son, who was going through teenage years, which are always a challenge. And my two older children had graduated from college. I was a single mom, so a lot of things changed and I started to kind of look at, “What am I going to do with the second half of my life?” 

[16:06] Anne, what do you think? All the experts talk about the millennials, the workforce, and how when our contemporaries begin to retire there’s going to be this huge vacuum.
Answer: There is a skills gap and workforce shortage and it’s regional now and it’s by certain job skills. Most companies are experiencing that, in some cases, the job openings that they have they’re getting overwhelmed with applicants. But for other positions, and maybe even some key positions, they can’t find the right talent. They’re not getting any applicants. So we’re beginning to see that. 

Culture According to Anne:

Culture is defined by the experience the individuals have working in a company as they’re all working towards the same goal. So whether you say culture or employment branding or Employee Value Proposition (EVP), which is an HR term, it is all about the experience of the individuals who are working there. And it can’t be defined externally; it is defined by the consensus of the organization. It is often defined by the employee when the company’s not listening.

Go To Quote for Inspiration

Book Recommendations:

  • “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Tales of the Female Nomad

What Anne Wants TheGoodJobs Inc. to BE:

  • Be authentic
  • Be kind
  • Believe

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Interview:

Where to Find Anne:

Connect with John on


John: Good morning and welcome to the Be Culture radio show. Today, it’s about how to leverage your culture to attract the best talent, so we have an outstanding guest. Our guest, Anne Nimke, is a respected leader in the recruiting and HR community, and has helped both small and Fortune 50 companies build strategic talent acquisitions and management programs for 35 years.

Anne, welcome.

Anne: Hi, happy to be here. Thank you very much.

John: So excited to have you. I’ve done a lot of reading about you. You’re a very cool person and I think our listeners are going to just really enjoy today as we get to know you a little bit better. But before we start in, perhaps you could share with us a little bit about your journey, so we can get to know you a little bit better.

Anne: Absolutely. My background is that I’ve got about 35 years in staffing and recruiting. And what that means is that as a very young person, I realized that employment and helping people find the right jobs and helping companies find the right people was a passion that was going to carry through my whole career. I didn’t know it when I was just out of college, but I started as an intern at [0:02:30] Brewing Company and then was hired after graduation at [0:02:34]. And ended up being run ragged through the management track, through benefits and employee relations, employee programs.

When I hit employment, it was like, “This is it.” So I dedicated my life to that profession and 35 years later, I’m still finding it very intriguing, interesting and a worthwhile career.

This is my third start-up; The Good Jobs is my third startup. And I co-founded two other businesses that are recruitment process outsourcing companies: HR First, which is now KellyOCG, part of the global brand of Kelly services. And then a company called Cielo which started out as Pinstripe, again another global RPO firm. So staffing and recruiting, and working with job-seekers and recruiters and company leaders about talent is what I do.

John: You have probably one of the coolest websites I’ve ever seen and all my listeners, I just want you to know, if you get a chance, go on her website. Not only is it informative, it’s fun. You can earn your badge; I got a badge the other day, which no one in my company believed. I’m like, “Hey, come on guys. I did it.” And they were like, “Yeah, great, John.” But it’s a lot of fun.

And you know what I find interesting is that you’ve had a lot of experience. You’ve seen a lot of different cultures. When you went to Marquette, it had a culture there. You’ve talked about working in a large brewing company and it probably had its very own culture there. I’ve just got to ask, how was it after work? How wee the fringe benefits? Any good?

Anne: Absolutely. Always.

John: So when you started The Good Jobs, tell us your story behind that. What drove you to that?

Anne:  Personally, I realized… First off, I like to work. I enjoy it. It’s part of who I am; I’m achievement-motivated. I like talking to people. And when I looked back at my career as I was going through some changes, I realized that I never quit a job; I always quit a company. I like the work. If I love the company, I would do any job that they offered me and I certainly have worn a lot of hats in each of the positions and companies that I’ve worked for.

But if something happened with the company and the strategy changed, the leadership changed, priorities, or if I felt decisions were being made that didn’t align with what I thought was important, I would leave the company. But again, if it was with a company that I loved, I’d do anything for it. And I realized that job-seekers and employees, when they are looking for a job, they really have to access what the company stands for and how it’s going to align with their lifestyle and their work style.

So I saw a gap in the market. After working with all different sizes of companies all over the world I saw that information is lacking. And yet, there are great stories and great information that’s available at super companies that just needs to be shared. So that’s how when I thought about it. I originally said, “Maybe we need a company board, not a job board, but a company board that lets individuals look at what the true story behind the company is.” And that’s where The Good Jobs came from and we’re the first ever Company Culture Directory. And we quantify culture in a very quantifiable way which can be hard, but we based it on what companies do to invest in their employees and what employees do to participate in that investment.

John: So, we’re not supposed to just buy into the interview process and believe everything we’re told?

Anne: Honestly, if we were told everything that we needed to know, I think you could believe it. The problem is today it has been more one-sided. It’s been more of a knock-out process than an attract-in the process. And what I think is missing from recruiting is that we haven’t added talent attraction to talent acquisition.

John:  Now Anne, you were the former President of the Human Resources Management Association. How did that foundation that you had in doing that help you?

Anne: I’ve never joined an association or a charity or a board if I wasn’t going to be really active in it. So when I joined SHRM, the Society for Human Resources Management, and the local chapter here in Milwaukee that had a thousand members, I’m going to start working with the organization. If I’m going to pay dues, I’m going to invest as well, my time and my talent, because I want to bring my interest as well as learn from them.

So I started out on the membership committee and ended up being a board member and then became president and I recommend that for anyone who is interested in having the Professional Association Membership to take it to the point where you become active and/or become a leader in your organization.

John:  Now Anne, what was the most monumental event that happened to you, your tipping point when you were first starting your company?

Anne: Honestly, I’m going to share; I just turned 58 last week, so I’m on the mature side of…

John: No, no, no, no, you’re halfway through life.

Anne: That’s my goal. But I was at a time of passage actually. My mom had passed. I had some relationship issues with my youngest son, who was going through teenage years, which are always a challenge. And my two older children had graduated from college.

I was a single mom, so a lot of things changed and I started to kind of look at, “What am I going to do with the second half of my life?” (as you put it). And I thought I was very much motivated by security for my family. And you know what? I did a really good job. They were secure. They have launched, they’re very close to being 100% on their own. And I thought I have a chance now to look at what I’ve done in the past and what my next chapter is going to be. And again, I love the staffing, recruiting, employment side of my profession and wanted to continue down that path and really look to say, “What’s missing? What’s missing?”

And you know what? We spend so much time working so we shouldn’t be in a job that we’re not happy. So how could I take that and help job seekers and help companies work together better so that companies can be more successful and job seekers and employees can be happier.

John: You resonate so much with myself and my partner, better known as my wife for the last 30 years, because for us – we met, as I said 30 years ago in the contract furniture business. We worked for major manufacturers. And as she said to me after about 15 years, she said, “Okay you don’t fit over there. You’re really successful and you’re really unhappy. And so it doesn’t align for you.” So what we did is we started our own company 12 years ago and said, “We can build a better mouse trap, so to speak.”

Anne:  That’s it.

John: We can build a better culture. We can make an environment where each and every person mattered. And levels are eliminated. Everybody contributes. Everybody’s here. Her background’s Organizational Management and mine was Sales and Marketing. So it’s a great yin and yang for us. But what we brought to the table was culture and people said it was, “Oh really, you sell furniture be serious.” I was like, “No, we don’t sell furniture. We help people create a culture and we use furniture and design to do that.”

And then I had all the Corp – you can appreciate that – and I refer to them as all the Corporate Suites, who showed up and said, “Where are the metrics for that? It doesn’t work.” And so for us, we both came from very humble beginnings and everybody told us, we couldn’t do it. She grew up in New York City, I grew up in North Carolina. She’s an African-American, and I’m white, so none of this was ever going to work.

And we have just got to laugh and say, “Okay, we believe in God, we believe in each other, we have a deep fiber for the world that we can make it a better place. That’s where our fiber is about us, helping others. And the metrics follow.” Or as my father used to say, “Stand in the middle of the road there’s a hundred percent chance you’ll get run over.”

So having grown up in an environment, I think I shared with you earlier, I have six sisters and they’re all older than me. And I’ve watched them go through their professional careers and before there were women executives, my older sisters were women executives.

Anne: Sure.

John:  So I watched people put limitations versus really living your self-beliefs. And what I hear from you is you live your self-beliefs. It’s a culture you’ve created and that’s why you resonated and I was so happy when Nick, our PR guy, said to me, “You’re not going to believe, but Anne’s coming on the show.” I’m like, “Okay I can mark that one off on my bucket list. I got to talk to her.”

Because I just find your story so amazing, because you’re so grounded. And there’s a fiber of reality to what you’re talking about. It’s is not just, “Oh, maybe you should do this.” But you live it.

Anne: Thank you. I have to say most of my career was very much workaholic, driven; I have to say I loved it. I worked really hard. I was very motivated. But no one would have ever said I was grounded in my earlier life.

I was successful. I was burning the candle at both ends and having a good time. I was well respected, managed people well, but it was a size and speed kind of drive. You know, we’re growing; we have to grow.

I just had to chuckle when you said you’re grounded because that would not have been a word that was used in most of my career. But I think with age and with experience and as you move to your next chapter, like you did 12 years ago when starting this business, and I moved to The Good Jobs I think we all evolved hopefully towards wisdom and towards kindness.

John: Because I really get what you’re saying because when I started when I was the prototypical golden boy going through corporations and driving business units and the metrics. What I took away from that, and I think what I hear you saying is, you know what, I was a workaholic. I didn’t see the birthdays. I didn’t see the first steps. And then one day you wake up. And doesn’t that give you the ability at this point of your life and say, “I can be a better person. I can create a better world. I can leave an imprint. And I don’t have to be that person.”

Because for me I woke up one morning and looked in the mirror and I’m like, “Who in God’s name is this guy? My parents didn’t teach me this.” But the good news is I don’t think people would say early in my career: “He was worried about culture,” either.

Anne: And you know, it’s chapters. And there are young people who are starting their career who have the same kind of drive and the motivation to build their family, to build their career and it’s chapters.

I don’t have any regrets about what I did; I wouldn’t change it at all. It’s just that at this point in time there are different things that I’m focusing of my attention on. And it’s my choice. Honestly, with The Good Jobs we’re saying, “Every job seeker has a choice”.

And an individual who is looking for that drive and that upward mobility and that compensation that’s going to rise because they are contributing every minute of every day to that career. If that’s what they want, they can find that. But if it’s not what they want, if they want a flexible schedule, if they want to work in a place that allows them to have a family as part of the fluid aspect of their work and their life, or offers career development and companies invest in improving individual professional and personal careers, they can find that.

And The Good Jobs is all about helping job seekers and employees make discerning decisions that are right for them. And ultimately there is an ROI that happens for the company because an engaged workforce will be more productive, more loyal, there’ll be less absenteeism and better customer service. So there is return on investment for building a culture of a workforce so the workforce is aligned with what the company’s mission is.

John: And to that point, Anne, do you think – all the experts talked about the millennials, the workforce and how when our contemporaries begin to retire there’s going to be this huge vacuum.

Anne: I’ll tell you, there is a skills gap and workforce gap that is coming. McKenzie in 1996 wrote a groundbreaking report called “The War for Talent” and they predicted that there was going to be a mismatch between the number of workers available with the right skills for what companies were going to need for the workforce. They predicted that it was going to happen in 2010, when we all know we had a recession that spanned years so it’s delayed it.

It’s 2015 and I have to tell you, job seekers are becoming more and more in the driver’s seat in looking for their places of employment.

There is a skills gap, there is a workforce shortage, and it’s regional now and it’s by certain job skills. Most companies are experiencing that in some cases the job openings that they have, they’re getting overwhelmed with the applicants. But for other positions, and maybe even some key positions, they can’t find the right talent. They’re not getting any applicants.

So we’re beginning to see that. And there’s lot of talk about generational differences. Everyone is looking for meaningful work, whether they’re an encore employee like me, a Baby Boomer, or the millennials. Everyone in every generation is looking for meaningful work. So the more that companies can say, “Here’s why you should bring your talent and share your talent with my company,” the better off the company is going to be, and honestly the better off the employees are going to be, too.

John:  To that point, being a parent of two millennials who are coming out of college, I picked their brains. I picked their kids’ brains. I mean, excuse me, their friends’ brains. But what I find interesting is their belief system and their value systems is far different than mine, to the point that I was talking to a young man who had just graduated from college and he says, “You know I have an Engineering degree and I have five job offers.” And I said to him, “Okay Marty, what do you think?” He said, “What do you mean what I think?” I said, “Which was most attractive?” He said, “Certainly not the one who’s going to pay me the most.”

And I found – I thought, “That’s so intriguing.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “I went to the companies, I looked at the companies. I looked at the people.” He said, “I went to the company who offered me the most. They were, like, dead.” He said, “Their furniture was nasty, the space was nasty and the people were, like, they just were miserable.” He said, “Then I went to one; it was, like, it was cool and the people were happy.”

So I started to kind of chuckle to myself because in our firm here we only have one rule – you’ve got to treat people the way you want to be treated. That’s it. No big line of rules. Treat people the way you like to be treated and your family comes first, and everything else follows in.

So if you have a play that your child’s in or you have them going from elementary school to high school. Like one of our ladies in design says, “My girl’s got to go to the high school today at one o’clock.” I said, “Hurry over and get her there.”

Because I think from a company standpoint when you look at what’s going on in change, I think in 10 years when you look back and say, “If you didn’t address it, you’re going to have a problem getting that fulfillment we were talking about a little while ago.” That’s satisfaction. Because for us it’s not about office furniture. And I’m sure for you it’s not about someone going through the hiring process. It’s about the experience they have and the fulfillment they get, isn’t it?

Anne: Correct. It’s culture. What is culture? Culture is what defines – it’s defined by the experience the individuals have working in a company as they’re all working towards the same goal. So whether you say culture or employment branding or Employee Value Proposition (EVP), which is an HR term. It is all about the experience the individuals have working there.

And it can’t be defined externally; it is defined by the consensus of the organization. And is often defined by the employee when the company’s not listening. It’s what they say to the people that they’re having hamburgers and brats on the grill with in the summer, telling them about where they work. So it is critical that culture and the experience that they have is part of what their life is and that they are able to bring their life to that workplace as well.

John:  It’s funny you say that because I just want to tell my listeners, you know, when you have a really good guest, because they ask your questions for you. Thank you, Anne. Great. It’s also interesting because it’s not what people say, it’s what they do. Because there are so many disconnects, because I’ve seen in many companies,you know, the person in the C-suite says one thing but does another. And so there’s not an alignment there and I think that’s where the breakdown of fulfillment begins. What do you think about that?

Anne: I do. I think that the reason why we set out at The Good Jobs to say we wanted to quantify the culture is because there are too many euphemisms out there that are being used to describe the best employer.

When you look at the descriptions for any great places to work, the best employers… they all read the same. We’re a great company, we have fun, we’re family friendly, we’re flexible and we are a learning organization. But what does that mean?

So we asked companies, “How do you walk the walk when you say you’re family-friendly?” And we have a list of questions that say: “Is this allowed? Would you say yes to this? When you say fun, what are the things that you do? Do you have holiday celebrations? Do you recognize birthdays? Do you recognize wedding anniversaries? Do you allow dogs at work? Can children be at your workplace occasionally? Can people work from home occasionally?”

We wanted to get those euphemisms, that marketing speak that’s there, so that we can say: “What do you do to say you’re family-friendly? What do you do that illustrates that you’re a learning organization?” So I agree, it is something that has to be palpable. It has to be something that everyone in the organization needs to understand, that this is where we work, and describe it in a similar way.

John: To that point Anne, I find it hilarious when they say, “These are the best companies to work for and this business magazine ranked it one of the best places to work for.” And you start to look at their process like you’re talking about. They paid them a fee and they answered their questionnaire. And they paid them another advertising fee, and you know what happened? They were nominated and elected. Isn’t that great?

Anne: There’s a lot of pay to play in business, and it is advertising even when recruiters advertise a job. They’re advertising their opportunity, and getting it to be authentic is the key. Getting it to answer the “What’s in it for me?” questions that a job seeker might have, is critical. It’s absolutely critical and unfortunately most job postings are the internal job description and focus primarily on knocking out individuals who aren’t qualified as opposed to attracting in those individuals who will have the right culture fit.

John: You just brought up something that I think is for our listeners is a really, really critical point. You talked about being authentic, and for us to be authentic, you don’t ask “what”, you ask “why.” And I think to your point about the knockout, that’s a “what” question; that’s not a “why” question.

Anne: Absolutely.

John: And I think people are frightened of the “why” because there is an accountability attached to “why.” There’s a behavioral accountability. There is an organizational accountability. There is someone having to do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it.

Anne: Let’s look at how companies evolve. The industrial revolution: when you look at what happen over the last century, most organizations embraced the paternalistic structure, that the company was going to take care of employees. On the bad side, it was, “I’ll owe myself to the company store”, and on the good side, it was an owner of a family business or even a large corporation that really did look at the employees as a community that they were responsible for. Even as you watch “Downtown Abbey”, you see the Lord of the Manor felt very responsible for all of their communities. But we found that over time, businesses have changed and “It’s not personal, it’s business.” We’ve heard that with every little prop – downsizing.

So companies have begun to say, “We have these business goals, we have the board, we have the street we have to answer to, and we have to make these decisions in an impersonal way. We have to focus on business”. So for employees and employers, it’s kind of a lag because the employers made the change of not being paternalistic, but the employees were still hoping to be taken care of by their employers, and employers were still holding the keys to the kingdom. They were holding the employees hostage to their jobs. They couldn’t quit because of benefits or whatever.

Now, we are getting to the time where I said job seekers are in the driver’s seat; employees are in the driver’s seat. It’s just becoming more balanced where it is an employment contract that employees are going to bring their talent to an employer for a purpose. They’re bringing their talent to this employer and the employer is saying, “Because you are bringing your talent and you are going to help us achieve our goals, this is what I’m going to provide for you.”

So it’s taking time for that balance to come, but job seekers are looking at “I have to manage my own career. My employer is not going to take care of my career but we are going to be more in an equal level”, that the employers are going to take care of the fiscal responsibility and their contributions to their customers and the employees are going to help move towards that. If there is a mismatch, if a job seeker thinks they are giving more than they are getting or if an employer thinks they are giving more than they are getting, that’s when turnover happens.

It’s an evolution of the business model in my view and that’s what we are seeing. And it’s fitting that you mentioned millennials having a different value system. I’ll tell you, there is a site called and it’s about individuals who are looking at their lives at fifty and older, and how many are making huge career changes and huge values are coming up to the surface and they’re making decisions out of wisdom, and change their life.

Statures change because of economics or whatever. And I also know that Gallop says the decade of the forties, those employees are the least engaged in the workforce when you look at the decades of age. And the reason is that when you turn forty, you’ve kind of been through most of the promotions you are going to get. All your high stuff happens before. You are not going to get developed; you are not going to get a lot of training classes.

And your children’s expenses are hitting the highest they’ve ever been and, most likely, your parents need you. So that decade of the forties is the least engaged. So we can’t just focus on the millennials and we can’t just focus on the soon-to-retire because every generation can contribute to your organization in a very significant way. You just need to be aware that you are building a community here of people who are all walking in the same direction and hopefully it’s the direction of your business mission.

John: I think it’s such a cool point because, for us, we have a philosophy that everybody’s opinion matters whether I agree with it, or Kyra agrees with it, or not. Your opinion is valid and it matters.

And to the community point, I think that is being part of the community, which is having the freedom to express your opinion whether you are twenty, thirty, forty or fifty, and everybody’s opinion is weighted equally because you are all part of a community. So what if you have been here and you are fifty years old? So what if you just joined two years ago? Everybody matters.

Anne:   That’s the definition of inclusion and diversity. And it’s core. So I’m with you.

John:  Let me just move forward a little about culture. Help me with how you believe culture has helped accelerate you in the business.

Anne: It’s all about talent. It’s all about people and, to be honest, it has accelerated my business because I’m using my culture to attract people who align and we are very flexible. We are all kinds of tree huggers. My co-founder and I both drive Priuses, and we have employees ride bikes to work.

We want to work with people are aligned with how we want to work and what we want to work on. For us, it’s all about the people, and our customers as well.

John:  I’m glad you brought up your customers because I’d like you to share with our listeners: what cultural platforms have you seen a client of yours use to accelerate their business?

Anne: Every company–and if you go to our site at and you select culture, there is a culture directory. All of our customers are listed there and we don’t think that every company has to earn every badge if that authenticity is there. So, we have some companies for which career development and corporate responsibility is really kind of core to who they are, and they don’t invest in fun and they may not have all the best perks, but the meaning of the work that they have there is very important.

Their investment in their employees to grow professionally to grow their skills is very important. So that company believes that that will help accelerate their growth. And if they have people who want those aspects of the culture in their day to day workplace, they should hire those individuals. Then you look at a company like Zappos, which is a customer of ours, and they have all seven badges, and fun and extreme perks are the badges that get clicks on most. But you know what, they are a 1,600 person company and they have a sustainability team of seven or eight. That is a huge team for that size and yet no one perceives Zappos as a green organization. They have a lead certified building. They are investing all the time with recycling and reducing water waste and reducing electrical usage, but nobody perceives them as that.

So every company is unique and that authenticity piece is critically important. We don’t prescribe that you have to be a certain kind of company or invest in certain things to make you a good organization but you need to be able to define who you are, and quantify it. You need to be able to share it and be transparent about it, and then you need to be authentic about who you really are. So honestly, as for the companies that I’ve worked with, every one has a unique mix of their culture that will help them to share so people can make discerning decisions and they can make the right hiring decisions.

John: That being said, what’s your opinion about companies, and then matching their environment to their culture?

Anne: You know what I think it’s critical. When we go to work, we bring all of our five senses.  We bring our talent. We bring our intellect. We bring our skills, but we also bring our five senses, right? So, lighting is critical. I worked with an organization that’s a factory and one of the questions we have is: “Is light available and is fresh air available? Do the windows open and do you have sunlight that can come in?” And they said, “Why is that important?” and I said, “Because individuals come and they could looking for that.”

We talk about no noise. We talk about smells. And actually this organization is extremely well – their workers in the factory do not have to wear noise protection because it’s not noisy enough to require it.

They have sky lights and windows in every factory area. The windows can be opened as well and they have good ventilation. So think about the five senses that we have. There’s sight, there’s hearing, there’s smell, there’s taste, and there’s touch. All of those things can be enhanced in the environment by what our work spaces are, how comfortable we feel when we are sitting or standing at our desk.

I’ll tell you. Being in the recruiting world, a lot of recruiters walk around when they are recruiting and they’ve got headsets on and they are talking to people all day about their skills. They are interviewing, they are answering questions. A lot of recruiters like to stand or walk around. I think the office environment, the work environment that they’re at, and what is available during their break time, is critically important.

John: I would agree with you. What tips would you give our entrepreneurs who are starting to hire aggressively and are building their business around building great teams and a great culture? What advice would you give them and what mistake do you see, based upon your experiences, people making as they go down this path?

Anne:  First off, like you and like me, we both started businesses to create something as a place we want to work at. I would say to an entrepreneur who is looking at hiring, “Why did you start with this business? What is it that motivated you to take the risk and to invest time that it takes to start this business? What is it that motivated you to build this and to be able to identify that and be willing to share it?”

Again, too many individuals think an interview is one-sided, that I’m going to interview a job seeker and I’m going to get all my questions answered. It’s a two way conversation and you need to allow job seekers to be able to ask you questions and to answer them in an honest way, about your goals, about what it’s like to work there, about what the expectations are going to be in the short term or in the long term, asking questions and answering questions about how you are going to integrate into this organization.

Because a lot of times, especially in small companies when they are new, they have a small team that did a whole lot of work and then all of a sudden they leap from three people to twelve, or they leap from twenty people to fifty. Those leaps take some integration of new people, and how do you maintain the culture that you originally started with?

And then lastly, talent acquisition is missing talent attraction. So, recruiting is a marketing activity so share who you are. Why would an individual want to bring their talent to you and then answer those “what’s in it for me?” questions.

John:  Great answer. Tell us a little bit about your company, as we are coming to the end, because it’s about you and I really appreciate you taking the time to visit with us today. What are your plans in 2015 and 2016 for your organization?

Anne: We are all about finding more companies that are interested in telling their story. Our organization, our target market and who we built this company for is for companies who have a talent need. They need to hire people who are looking to add talent to their organizations. The next thing is, “Are they proud of the company that they are, how they treat their employees?”

When I hear a company say “We’ve got these great jobs and nobody knows who we are. Everybody loves working here.” And they can’t get applicants. It’s because nobody knows who they are. that’s it exactly. So they need to have a talent need. They need to be proud of their organization and they need to want to create transparency so that they can get awareness and differentiation in the talent they are trying to talk to.

So when I look at what our plans are, we want to find more of those companies so sales is certainly a critical aspect, and servicing our current customers and helping them tell their stories and find ways to recruit. Again, my background is in recruitment marketing and employment process. Helping create a better candidate experience during that hiring process, which can be grueling – there are resumes that are going to the black hole of applicant tracking systems and all of that. So ultimately we want to grow. We’ll probably do another round of fundraising so that we can continue to expand our reach and provide more services, and we want to start sharing the data that we’re learning about companies and job seekers.

So we are gathering all this data about what companies are doing for their employees, what they are doing to promote their culture to job seekers, what job seekers want from organizations, so hopefully we will be able to have data that we can then report out to companies to say: “This is what we’re learning.” We want to share all that we are learning from the companies that we are talking to.

John:   Perfect. Now, we’re going to move to the lightning round.

Anne:  Oh. Okay.

John:  We’ll just do simple questions. Have fun with them. What book changed your life?

Anne:  So you want me to answer from a personal side or from a business side?

John:  I want you to answer from your heart.

Anne: From my heart? There are two books that opened me up from the point of view of a woman making choices. Not necessarily a business woman but a woman making choices and “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert was one of them.

She went on a journey over a year’s time, of self discovery, and then another book that you might not have heard of is Tales of the Female Nomad and it’s about a woman who, at 50, was married for 35 years, and she felt her life had followed the right path and the picture was frozen in time, and she mentioned it to her husband and said, “I think maybe as individuals, we should take a two-week vacation from one another just to explore what individually we’d like to do.” They always took the family vacation. They always take the joint vacation.

His response said, “How about two months instead of two weeks?” It set her on a journey where she pretty much took a dart and threw it at a map and said, “I’m going to visit this city,” and then did that for like 13 years after she divorced her husband and went all around the world. The kind of freedom to open my mind to say, “I really can do anything I want to do. It’s all my choice and it’s my life to make decisions about.”

Those two books helped me set that stage of, “Really, I’m in charge of my own life and I need to make the decision that I’ll be proud of, for myself.”

John:  I like that a lot. What is your go-to quote for inspiration?

Anne: “When you live in integrity, empty of expectations, outcomes are irrelevant.”

John:  I like that. All right. Excluding your company, what company do you admire the most as it relates to their culture?

Anne: Okay. I’m going to tell a story of a 170-person manufacturer and they were pioneers in the food industry. Actually, the family business started 1848, okay? So they’re still in business. They’re not huge. It’s from 1848; they’re just 170 employees. So we did a cultural workshop with them, which is her first step of building their company culture profile and, amazingly enough, the HR person brought the VP of every division and the president of the company into the workshop. The president of the company said, “I don’t think I should be here because I don’t want to dictate what the leaders of my company have to say about culture. I don’t want them to feel inhibited.”

He was blushing. It was just amazing, and all of his leaders said, “No, this is your company. You have a vote here.” He revealed, he said, “I’m just afraid we’re not going to earn any badges, any culture badges for good jobs.” It was humility. It was just humble. He said, “You know, I think we have a successful company, but no, I don’t know if we have a great culture and again, humility,” and we want to the—it was only the second company to earn all seven badges, and Zappos is the only other company that earned all seven.

We’re getting ready to publish and he said, “Can I get hard copies of our badge application?” And I thought “He’s recoiling. Something’s not good. He’s pulling back,” and I ask the HR person “Why does he want to look at all the background information we went through at the culture workshop?” And he said that he wants to go through and identify what more he’s going to do for his employees in 2015 and 2016, and he thought that there were a lot of good ideas in our culture badge application that he wanted to use as a jumping off point.

John: What a great story.

Anne:  You don’t have to be a Zappos, and this president took this very seriously. It’s the third generation in the family and he took it very seriously about how he invests, and he had humility around it. They make ice cream toppings and yet, there’s an illustration of small company that’s not brand new, it’s not an entrepreneurial start up that’s doing this crazy stuff. It’s a manufacturing company. They make ice cream toppings.

They are more than a century old, they’re a third generation family company, and may have that kind of investment and culture. I just thought that would be a good illustration of one company that I really admire.

John:  What a great story. Anne, why should people use

Anne:  I mentioned how much our lives are filled with working and it’s not worth spending that amount of time being unhappy. That’s a simple truth for me. Both employers and employees need to fit together and it helps both sides in so many different ways.

When you think about it, it’s not just about a good skills fit; it’s not just about the commute time but a great culture fit where the individuals values and lifestyle and work style align with the company’s mission is something that creates a great synergy. Why not share the information, the good stuff and even the bad stuff? But put your best foot forward. Why not share that information about your company to help make it easier so that you can create a workforce community. We’ve talked about community.

If people are in the right job and they’re engaged and they’re aligned with your vision, then the sky is the limit for the future. But every day, it makes a difference as well. In the present moment, it makes a difference, as well as in the future.

John: Now if you have to describe your culture and the culture of good, how would you do it using three words?

Anne:  Okay. I would say be authentic, be kind and believe.

John:   Excellent. Anne, I can’t thank you enough and I always like to leave our listeners with a little bit more, so how can they reach you, how can they write you and how can I reach out to you?

Anne:   Okay. Our website is the and that’s plural. My email is It’s very easy, so we’re simple. To use first names is fine,  and if you’d like to connect with me on LinkedIn, you can find me easily, Anne Grace Nimke.

I’d love to connect; reach out to me, and see if I can help you create a way to communicate your culture and quantify your culture. Every company has a culture, whether you quantify and define it or not. It exists. We just want to help you find an easy way to do it.

Our culture workshop is about a 3-5 hour commitment and by the end of it, you’ll have your company culture profile and an instant culture page for your website, and we can help you mobilize that talent attraction strategy for your creating departments. Again,; I’d love to hear from you.

John:  Guys, take the time. Visit Do yourself a favor. It’s a phenomenal site. You’ll enjoy it. Anne, I’d like to share with you before we sign off. My favorite quote is from Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” and that being said, you’ve made me feel welcome in interviewing you today and I want to thank you for that.

Anne:  Oh, it’s a great quote and thank you very much for that compliment. I enjoyed my time today with you.

John:  Hopefully you’ll come back and visit us again as we get further along with our podcast episodes and you’ll tell us how your company’s doing and we’ll check back in with you.

Anne: I would be happy to do that. Thank you so much.

John:   Thanks, Anne. Be well.

Anne:  Bye-bye.