It is a testament to the growth of the high tech sector across Northeast Ohio that Akron-based Knotice
, a digital marketing agency created in 2003 that works with customers in retail, consumer products and other areas, has little trouble recruiting talent.
Because of the tech companies that have sprouted here within the past decade or so, Knotice can often find the right employee right in its backyard. The firm also recruits boomerangs and non-natives to move here. These recruits have become more comfortable relocating to Northeast Ohio in recent years, in part because the area’s tech growth means that they may not have to move to find their next opportunity.
Knotice also places a strong emphasis on keeping its talented employees happy. The company's work culture merges openness, accountability, creativity and fun, elements that CFO Jon Grimm argues are key to the success of the firm's 95-person crew.
"We hire smart, well-rounded people who are hungry to learn, and who truly care about our customers. We look for people who are team players and who make the mission of the company a priority," Grimm says.
Knotice specializes in unified direct digital marketing. The firm develops and manages sophisticated digital marketing efforts across a wide variety of platforms, including web, emails, display and text. Among the many familiar brands Knotice has worked with are Bayer, Cannon, Crocs, Ghirardelli and TiVo.
Knotice employs developers, marketing professionals and data managers, among others. The majority of its employees are from Northeast Ohio, with an average age of 30. The company recently opened a satellite office in Seattle to attract talent out West, especially hard-to-find software engineers.
Not every type of position is easy to fill locally, Grimm admits. "We opened the Seattle office in part to attract talent that's not as readily available around here," he says. "Software engineers can work remotely, so there's no need to relocate."
Adaptability defines the company and helps to attract and keep talent, Grimm says. The company recently added employees to its Actionable Analytics team who have worked at Amazon.com, Express, and Progressive Insurance.
"We have a very flexible culture where people are able to come in and leave when they need to," Grimm says. "If you have a doctor's appointment, you go take care of it, as long as you get your work done. We have a very casual work environment – you're allowed to wear shorts. I wear jeans everyday."
In addition, the company keeps its offices well-stocked with food and drinks, in case workers want to spend more time in the office without leaving to get a bite.
Large brands consistently turn to Knotice to provide quality marketing concepts that reach people wherever they are across the varied digital landscape. Clients also tend to seek out Knotice for its analytics and data harnessing prowess.
It takes top talent to compete in this arena, which is why Knotice focuses on creating a company culture that makes it fun and fulfilling to work there.
"We're not heavy-handed, we don't watch over our employees. They have work to do and we expect them to get it done. If that doesn't happen, then something may change," Grimm explains, noting that so far, the company culture has worked.
On top of offering traditional benefits such as health insurance and vacation, the firm organizes activities like picnics, happy hours and outings to Indians games.
"I think tech workers look for a company that is progressive and has an open, fun culture. Work-life balance is very important to our employees," says Grimm. "To be successful, you need to have both, and they need to complement each other."