Maria Dunn
Maria Dunn/Managed by Q

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 Maria Dunn, VP of People at Managed by Q to find out how they lead with curiosity to drive company-wide learning and growth.


Tell us a little bit about your career journey. How did you discover your current role? Does it align with your background (education or previous work experience)?

After earning a degree in Marketing & Management, I didn’t have a clear first step for starting my career. A family friend mentioned that their company was hiring, so my first job was selling copiers! The skills I learned during that sales training have become invaluable throughout my career—the ability to effectively influence is a skill that applies to almost every role I’ve held.

A couple years after college I fell into recruiting, which directly led me to human resources. I haven’t looked back since!


What is one tool or piece of advice you wish you'd known about when you first started working at Managed by Q?

The advice I would have given myself on day one is to leverage one of our core principles: Seek Understanding. When you come to a new organization with a good amount of similar experience, it’s easy to quickly draw incorrect conclusions or assumptions. Thankfully, Managed by Q believes that feedback is a gift and my team highlighted this error in my approach early on. I really had to step back and ask more questions. By approaching problems with curiosity, I was able to understand the business more, which helped surface the right solutions faster.


At Managed by Q, you have something called Q Academy, which was created to help associates continually learn and grow with your company. Can you tell us a bit more about this program and how it impacts overall employee satisfaction?

We’re fostering a culture of continuous learning and we believe that whether you’re two or twenty years into your career, there’s always something new to learn. The Q Academy allows for any team member to present on a topic that they’re an expert in. For example, creating presentations, time management, and sending effective emails are just a few of the topics that have been covered before. Our team is always looking for ways to learn and grow, and this program allows for exactly that.

At Managed by Q, we’re fostering a culture of continuous learning and we believe that whether you’re two or twenty years into your career, there’s always something new to learn.


What are some other initiatives you’ve put into place to improve employee relations and drive employee happiness?

We believe that great ideas come from everywhere at Managed by Q—and although the People & Culture team is directly responsible for driving employee relations and employee happiness, we realized that there was a gap in our diversity and inclusion initiatives.

In early 2018, we decided to develop an Employee Resource Group with the mission of instilling a cohesive sense of confidence, belonging, and pride for all Q employees. We opened it up to our entire team and now we have 20 members across all departments and cities.


How does The Muse contribute to your engagement efforts?

Our partnership with The Muse has been helpful in many ways. When we initially filmed the videos for our company profile, our employees bonded over the experience—the vibe in the office was definitely excited over those two days. Being able to share our collection of footage with the entire team allowed us to reinforce and remind everyone what type of organization we are.

For our future employees, The Muse allows us to share our stories and promote the type of workplace we are looking to add to and build on.

Being able to share our collection of footage with the entire team allowed us to reinforce and remind everyone what type of organization we are.


What are the most rewarding parts of your job?

One of the main goals of the People & Culture team is to cultivate and promote a workspace that clears the way for our employees to do their best work. For me, there is nothing more rewarding than being able to solve a problem for an employee that is blocking them from doing their best work.


What's something you do outside of work that makes you a better employee?

I talk to my friends and family about the work challenges they face. This allows me to gain even more perspective from the view of the employee—in many different organizations. I learn about what is and isn’t working at their companies, as well as what they are looking for.