Recruiting During the Great Resignation
May 02, 2022
High-performing talent is tough to recruit in 2022. Scratch that. All talent is tough to recruit in 2022. And recruiting recruiters themselves might be the toughest job of all. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021 over 47 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs. Widely referred to as the Great Resignation, this period we are living through is not just short-term turbulence provoked by a pandemic. Rather, what we are seeing is the continuation of a long-term trend. As Harvard Business Review noted, the average monthly quit rate nationally has increased by 0.10 percentage points each year for the past decade. This trend prompts the ultimate question:
How should companies recruit when more and more people are quitting each year?
We would be lying if we said we have the answer, but we do have a pretty good strategy. Axon is in the midst of a global hiring surge, and we have been for the last two years. By June 2022, we’re looking to add more than 750 colleagues to our global team.
“Scaling hiring during high business growth starts with strong recruiting teams built on engagement, inclusivity, collaboration and understanding of how our recruitment goals map into our shared company goals. Effective recruiting teams share best practices, source with and for one another’s positions and achieve successes together. We win as a team, not as individuals,” says Gabrielle Mellon, Sr. Director of Global Talent, Axon.
Mellon leads Axon’s recruiting team to success with three straightforward approaches — values, awareness and responsibility.
The Axon Talent-for-Talent Strategy:
- Values. Double down on company values and value system. Consider what your culture means to you and to your stakeholders — now go tell that story, in your own words, to everyone you know and to those on social media.
- Awareness. Treat potential candidates the way a marketing team would. Run a digital campaign to tell your story to even more people. Find insights, target well, attract genuinely. Then funnel candidates through a conversion journey that envelopes them in your culture.
- Responsibility. Here’s the tough one. Employees vet companies based on their work as an employer but also as a member of the broader community. This community element counts more today than ever before—highlight your company’s meaningful wellness benefits, Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) commitments, and approach to growth, support and time off.
“I encourage everyone, from our recruiters to our coordinators, to be the team that supports the hustle and the quiet equally,” says Mellon. “We must be prepared to surge when our business grows, but also to reinforce and represent our brand and our values throughout the year. In marketing and in recruiting, consistency matters.”
The Values We Anchor On
From a recruiting perspective, our values mirror our strategy to attract quality talent. Axon has an ambitious mission to Protect Life, and we have six very distinct values that influence our day-to-day work and culture: Be Obsessed, Aim Far, Win Right, Own It, Join Forces and Expect Candor.
Our mission, and our focus, is so much bigger than our SaaS offerings, cameras or TASER energy weapons. Axon innovates to obsolete the bullet and to bridge the gap between law enforcement and their communities. We support first responders in providing transparency, truth and justice. To us, supporting our fellow employees, our communities and the communities in which our customers serve is just as important as our bottom line.
Talk to anyone at Axon, regardless of position or department, and it’s quickly apparent that we’re all obsessed with creating solutions that solve very real, very critical problems. To help us best serve the over 28,000 public safety agencies across our 52 current customer countries, we’re seeking more than 1,300 new team members in 2022 alone. A passion for our mission is a must during the interview process. When speaking to candidates, Axon recruiters are keen to hear candidate examples of going beyond day-to-day tasks to truly understand and embrace unmet customer needs. That level of customer obsession is key to ensuring Axon teams stay aligned to our mission as we scale.
Axon doesn’t intend to ever stop innovating. We want to make the world a safer place and we need to consistently shoot for the moon to do so. We regularly take risks, challenging the status quo to identify new business opportunities that will support our partners. Take our VR team, for example. Last year, they announced Axon VR Simulator Training, a product meant to prepare officers for a variety of complex real-world situations in a way that encourages critical thinking, empathy and de-escalation.
While this team worked to create world-class VR training options, they also supported Axon’s acquisition of industry-leading VR studio Foundry 45 to accelerate Axon’s delivery of innovative skills- and scenario-based training to public safety.
We set out to find new employees who will challenge our technology to do more. We also recognize that in order to develop the world’s most trusted public safety solutions, our team must reflect the communities we serve.
As part of our commitment to aim far, Axon is working to integrate Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) into all facets of our business, from hiring and promotion to expanding company culture efforts through Affinity Groups. As we work to create a more just world, we have a responsibility to create a more just and inclusive workplace. We are committed to progress in this area and are currently hiring a senior manager to help streamline and build out Axon’s JEDI strategy, best practices and procedures.
Winning and doing the right thing are not mutually exclusive. While hiring in the COVID era is vastly different than in the pre-pandemic world, we managed to recruit 613 new employees in 2020 and 934 new employees in 2021. We don’t recruit to simply fill a position. We meet candidates where they are and align them to our business objectives to ensure we’re the right fit for one another.
Axon has adapted a remote-first culture to widen our recruiting remit and ensure we find the best talent for each role, regardless of where they are geographically located. While we love to see our offices bustling, our workplace culture is just as strong for remote and hybrid employees.
This shift has not been an easy one. We have had to scale many of our processes, departmental support resources and employee engagement tools so as to not just work in the virtual environment, but thrive. We have been open about learning through trial and error with our employees, regularly asking for feedback to learn what we should keep iterating on or enhancing. Today, in 2022, we have found a unique groove that is working for our teams and enabling productive, engaged work, regardless of location.
Axon encourages individuals to step up and take initiative. We empower our colleagues to take charge of their own careers so they can grow in a way that makes them fulfilled. Innovating for future good is a team sport. Axon doesn’t box employees into working with just their department. In fact, we expect cross-functional communications and collaboration among all our teams and, just as importantly, with our customers. As soon as they onboard, we ask our new recruiters to have 1:1s with executives and hiring managers. We also ask them to shadow recruiting team members in on other teams. This helps build functional relations and provides broader context for organization-wide talent acquisition strategies and best practices.
In terms of recruiting, the Axon TA team has been rapidly growing to meet evolving business needs. In 2021, Axon hired 43 new Talent Acquisition team members - from leadership to recruiting coordinators — meaning that as we kicked off our 2022 objectives, approximately 68% of the TA team has had less than one year with the company. We pulled closely together to onboard and set each other up for success as rapidly as possible, and it worked! Axon hired 418 new positions company wide in Q1, delivering more hires in a single quarter than ever before in Axon history. This took commitment, dedication, and perhaps most importantly, teamwork — which brings us to our next cultural value: Join Forces.
2022 will be the largest growth year in Axon company history. Aggressive hiring goals in a job market that is complex and fast-paced requires all of our leaders, recruiters and stakeholders to join forces and engage with candidates. We encourage and truly expect our team to work together to identify, attract and engage with talent in an authentic way. As a company, Axon has been successful because it is not “your job” or “my job,” it is our collective work to engage potential employees.
Being candid gets us to the truth faster. Candor elevates critical issues and puts the truth on the table. Without candor, we waste time, and in a line of work where lives depend on our technology, we can’t waste time being indirect. There isn’t one person on our leadership team who isn’t afraid to admit when they’re wrong or make sure credit goes to the appropriate creator(s) when someone does something right. Like other Axon departments, our recruiting team relies on honesty, decency and respect. Recently, we reviewed Glassdoor reviews requesting more personalized feedback for non-selected candidates. These messages have been heard, and we are researching new ways to solicit candidate feedback throughout our hiring process so we can be better integrate their recommendations into our recruiting process. We recognize we are still iterating and growing and have a lot more to accomplish, and we can’t do that without candor.
While Axon as a whole is innovating for social justice and a safer society, Axon’s recruiting team is supporting that mission by bringing brilliant, driven people into our organization that add value to both our teams and our culture. We’re pioneering what remote, hybrid and in-person work look like. We’re enhancing our company’s integrity with more thoughtful JEDI initiatives, outside-the-box benefits and new ways of connecting with one another.
If our mission, values and societal impact appeal to you and you’re hungry to grow with an organization at the intersection of technology and social good, I invite you to apply for a position on our team.
We are on a mission to Protect Life. We’re building technology to change the world, pursuing society’s most formidable safety and justice issues with our ecosystem of devices and cloud software. If this sounds like a mission you would like to be a part of, check out our resources below:
- Follow us on LinkedIn.
- Read more about Axon Careers.
- Explore our benefits.
- Search for open positions.