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Advice / Employer Resources

Employer Spotlight: Brandon Linn on the Importance of Accolade's Cultural Values

Brandon Linn
Brandon Linn/Accolade

Here at The Muse, we know that there's no better way to understand how to ace your own employer brand than by seeing some best practices in action.

Well, you're in luck—because that's exactly what our Employer Spotlight Series does. We feature all sorts of helpful advice and insights from companies that are totally crushing their employer brands, so that you can learn from their success.

This month, we chatted with Brandon Linn, Program Manager, Talent & Development at Accolade, to get the lowdown on how the company has fostered an employer brand that attracts talent while always staying true to their cultural values.

How did you find your current role? Does it align with your background (college or previous work experience)?

Like many people, I wasn’t proactively searching (but is there such a thing as a passive candidate anymore with the right marketing?). Rather, I was contacted by one of our recruiters. The story of our company and unique mission was too compelling not to explore.

Interestingly, I studied Writing and Communications in college and actually took an internship in Hollywood, CA, to focus on screenwriting. Who would have thought this focus on storytelling and audience would translate so well into employer branding? Two beautiful worlds coming together.

Accolade is on a mission to reinvent healthcare and make the whole experience more human with personalized advocacy. How do you tell that story with your employer brand?

First and foremost, we’re at a major advantage in having built a super genuine and unique set of value statements (what we call our Cultural Cornerstones). This drives everything from hiring to recognition through to performance management. We use this as a jumping off point for our assets and campaigns (videos, photos, blogs, thought leadership pieces, etc.) to ensure that everything ties back to these pillars by way of themes and word choices.

My advice to anyone reading this is to ensure you do the co-authoring of your true cultural values (who you are and what you want to be, as well as who you are not and who you don’t want to be) to let that drive your talent and employer brand—not the other way around.

How do you partner with marketing to make sure Accolade’s corporate brand and talent brand are aligned?

Marketing gives us the trust to experiment with designs and campaigns. They listen to our needs, and then ensure that there’s a buttoned-up and holistic voice and style, which ties all things Accolade together into one consistent story.

Our groups also share the thought that candidates and customers use the same “buying/applying” philosophy. Therefore, we upcycle and reuse shared assets and ideas collaboratively. It’s definitely become a “one-team” feeling.

What part does The Muse play in your current employer branding and recruitment marketing efforts?

The Muse takes beautiful pictures and videos—that’s about it! Kidding, of course.

If Accolade was a movie, The Muse would be our narrator. The flexibility to use all of the Muse’s offerings and/or syndicate parts and pieces of content throughout all of our fluid needs (our career website, social posts, etc.) has been tremendously helpful—as if I, a team of one employment brand lead, had an entire creative group wrapped around me.

Accolade has offices in Seattle, Scottsdale, Philadelphia, and Prague. How does having multiple office locations impact how you build a consistent employer value proposition strategy?

It actually helps my employer brand work. If you think about all of the colors we get to paint with being a mixture of people, places, and things, then the broadening of that pallet makes it so much more fun to weave in diversity of thought and a wider lens of experiences.

What are the most rewarding parts of your job?

The big rewards are when we’ve put a lot of effort into ensuring that we continue to be a “dream employer” and win awards such as a “best places to work” honor.

The small rewards that mean just as much to me are when recruiters come to me and say that their candidates found our assets not only inspiring, but also extremely helpful in terms of clearly understanding who we are and what we do—which seems to be rather refreshing in a world cluttered by overblown “everything here is perfect” or hyperbolic “#1 in town” messaging without any unique substance.

What's something you're currently reading or listening to that you love?

I’m actually a music producer by hobby so I’d love to get into what I’m listening to, but I’d definitely run out of room!

On the flipside, I’m reading Questlove’s new book about creativity. It talks about cognitive disinhibition, which is the idea that creatives masterfully navigate imagination and ideation by way of rarely saying no to an idea and constantly building—while touching on the fact that sometimes this happens when you get less than ideal sleep. That’s a bit inspiring for those long nights/early mornings—you actually stop overthinking automatically!