The most in-demand marketing and advertising jobs of 2023

The most in-demand marketing and advertising jobs of 2023

Despite high-profile layoffs and hiring delays, today’s job market is actually stronger than it was before the pandemic. Unemployment is historically low, and candidates today are confident about their ability to find a new job.

But the marketing and advertising industry is constantly evolving in reaction to changes in the economy and technological advancements. As a result, certain roles and skills are in higher demand than others. 

If you happen to specialize in one of these high-demand areas, this presents an opportunity to advance your career or move into a role that better suits your current needs. Employers are eager to fill these roles and are more open than ever to flexible arrangements like hybrid and remote work – especially since that means they can recruit top candidates from beyond their immediate geographic area.

And if you’re looking to diversify your skill set in hopes of standing out in a sea of applicants, you may also want to take some notes! Adding a certification or two in one of these areas could be just the edge you need to get the attention of your dream job’s hiring manager.

Here are the most in-demand skills and jobs for 2023, based on data from our own client orders:

Media planners and directors

As people consume more media than ever, advertising is an important revenue driver for most businesses, and many industries completely depend on it. A media director plans and executes advertising campaigns, either internally at a corporation or at an advertising agency. To be competitive in a digital world, organizations need savvy media engagement — and that means having skilled professionals with strong leadership skills, strategic thinking, and the tactical know-how to drive more in revenue than is spent on advertising. As companies compete to fill this role, the field is ripe with opportunity for quality candidates.

Data analysts and marketing analytics

Data powers everything successful marketers do. Data analysts develop models and generate reports to optimize a company’s or client’s marketing matrix. Their analyses can also provide insight into consumer behaviors and identify opportunities to maximize optimal campaign outcomes. We’ve specifically seen a rise in demand for experts in Python and Tableau.

Digital marketers

Digital communication and the data associated with it are what’s driving marketing into the future. From digital strategists and digital transformation experts to digital media managers and analysts, digital roles comprise one in every four job requests we get from clients! Developing your expertise in the digital space is a must for achieving faster career growth and long-term success.

Email marketing managers

Email marketers help companies deliver on their goals. They strategize, develop, and manage email campaigns that nurture leads, keep customers in the loop, and drive sales. These multi-skilled professionals manage and segment contact lists using marketing automation software, such as Marketo, Act-On, and Salesforce Marketing Cloud, craft email copy, develop effective designs, handle customer feedback, analyze results, and test to continuously improve performance. Specializing in email requires sharp copywriting skills, proficiency in CSS and HTML, and experience using web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics and Adwords. 

Social media managers

The job of a social media manager today is more multifaceted and challenging – and more respected – than ever. Solid career opportunities can be had with sought-after skill sets including deep knowledge and understanding of social media platforms and how they can be leveraged in different scenarios, along with tactical know-how in customer engagement, online monitoring, and measuring.

Project managers

Project managers keep marketing moving forward. These professionals oversee the production of all creative deliverables and see to it that campaigns and initiatives stay on track within set budgets and timelines. They serve as a liaison between clients and creative, and account management staff, confidently juggling multiple priorities. A good project manager has strong interpersonal, problem-solving, and multitasking skills, and the ability to provide technical input and recommendations for reducing costs and improving quality and workflow processes. 

Content strategists and web copywriters

Content strategists plan, create, and manage content that is relevant, engaging, easy to find, actionable, and shareable across digital platforms. They deliver assets to satisfy the goals of a company or client and the needs of a customer or end user, provide guidance on channels for delivery, and measure the effectiveness through customer engagement.

Art directors and graphic designers

Art directors craft a brand’s digital style and form its image in the mind of consumers. They deliver on a variety of tasks, from designing logos, printed pieces, and publication graphics to social media templates, advertisements, and much more. These skills  — from junior to senior levels and specialized in areas such as graphic design, motion, or video design, or another area — are in demand.

User interface (UI) designers

UI designers decide how a product or website will be laid out and presented visually, and create wireframes. They work closely with UX and other designers to ensure that every touchpoint users encounter in their interaction with a product conforms to the overall vision created by UX designers. Prototyping, CSS handoff, Freehand, Craft, Sketch, InVision, Adobe XD, and Figma are key functions and tools to master.

User experience (UX) designers

UX designers identify the architecture and wireframes that help users navigate through a digital product or website. They zero in on users’ underlying emotional and functional needs and apply that knowledge to create an enjoyable experience that also supports business objectives. UX designers are responsible for the full design process, from research, ideation, and concept development to prototyping and evaluation. They’re typically also responsible for user-acceptance testing of prototypes or finished products. They must be able to collaborate with business, customer service, design, and technology teams, and have an expert understanding of design principles and wireframing tools, such as Adobe XD, Maze, Axure RP, Balsamiq, InVision, and Sketch.

Ready to make your next move? 

No matter your current marketing and advertising skill set, Freeman+Leonard can help position you for long-term success.

Even if you’re not actively looking for a new role, get in touch with our recruiters on LinkedIn. We know the market well, and we know marketing and advertising; many of us worked in that world before joining this independent, woman-owned talent agency.

We understand your role and talents more than you might expect – and we know what your talent is worth. And there’s never any charge to work with us. Let us be your career advisor – in today’s market, and the next.

Submit your résumé or portfolio to today.

3 ways to find new clients as a freelance marketer or creative

3 ways to find new clients as a freelance marketer or creative

Forget filing self-employment taxes or chasing overdue invoice payments. Finding new clients is one of the biggest challenges freelancers face. 

And it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it. Whether you took the leap into freelancing 10 days or 10 years ago, you know that the grind never ends! It’s important to always have a strong pipeline of new client leads, especially if the services you provide are often one-off projects, or otherwise not well suited for a retainer.

And unlike with a traditional job search, clients looking for a freelancer or consultant are unlikely to write up a job description and post their opening on a job board. Most of the time, these conversations are behind closed doors, and — particularly with smaller clients — there is no formal RFP process. That means exploring many avenues at once to find new clients before you need them.

Here are the most effective ways to find new clients:

1. Build relationships with other freelancers and agencies who offer complementary services. 

You know that saying, “your network is your net worth”? That applies to no group more than freelancers. Tapping your existing connections is one of the most effective ways to find new clients.

Of course, not everyone you know is likely to refer business your way. The most profitable connections you have are likely other freelancers, consultants and agencies offering services that complement – but don’t compete with – yours.

The clients of email marketing and CRM strategists probably also need email designers and developers to bring to life their customer outreach plans. Paid media agencies need conversion-minded creatives. Web designers and developers should have both copywriters and SEO/SEM consultants to call on. Clients hiring PR consultants often also need social media strategists, who may need designers, photographers, animators and copywriters.

And fractional CMOs may need all of the above (and more) at some point!

So instead of chasing cold leads, cozy up to your connections working in complementary fields. Let them know you have capacity to take on new clients, and ask them to keep you in mind if any of their clients need what you offer. 

And make it a win-win: Offer to reciprocate if the opportunity arises.

2. Get out there! Expand your network by attending in-person conferences and networking events. 

As a freelancer, it’s probably not possible to have too many professional contacts. So while you strengthen those existing relationships, remember: The more, the merrier!

One of the most effective ways to meet new people is through in-person events. (Remember those?)

Search for conferences attended by the kinds of people who might refer business to you, or who work in verticals you’d like more clients in. For example, if PR freelancers refer a lot of business to you, attend a local PRSA event. If you’d like more clients in healthcare, seek industry-specific conferences for physicians or healthcare communications professionals.

If the idea of “networking” in a room full of strangers makes you nearly break out in hives, consider that you might be more comfortable at events attended by people who aren’t your competitor, and desperately need your services. You might even find that you’re the most popular person in the room!

That’s nearly guaranteed if you also offer to speak at these events. This is the introvert’s secret strategy – because everyone already knows you and what you do, the conversations that follow are far less stilted, with less need for small talk.

But in any case, be ready to talk about yourself! Make sure you have a strong elevator pitch, and can point your new contacts to a portfolio site with case studies and recent samples – or at minimum, a stellar LinkedIn profile. For extra credit, have ready an “entry-level” service like a one-hour strategy call or a website audit for those who might be ready to engage your services soon. To sweeten the deal, consider offering a small, limited-time discount to those you meet at the conference.

3. Get on a Freeman+Leonard recruiter’s radar. 

Yes, you read that right! Even though you’re not looking for a j-o-b, talent acquisition agencies like Freeman+Leonard offer far more than traditional employment options. We often need freelancers to take on project work for our clients, and demand for freelance talent is rising. 

We even build project teams for our clients by assembling a rockstar crew of freelancers and training them on the client’s brand standards, and having them ready when the client needs them.

This is a great way to get repeat work AND feel like you’re part of a team (and we all know how isolating freelancing can feel!) — without being beholden to a single employer.

Who’s in your corner?

Whether you’ve been freelancing for a while or you’re still undecided about taking the leap, don’t hesitate to reach out to our recruiters. We work with freelancers like you all the time, and know the ins and outs (and ups and downs) of your path. We’d be happy to talk with you about your options and provide insight into the market. Contact our team on LinkedIn anytime or submit your portfolio at

How to start marketing yourself as a freelancer

How to start marketing yourself as a freelancer

As a marketing, advertising or creative professional, you already know how to market other people’s products and services. You’ve got the best practices down. But marketing yourself? That’s another story.

It’s too common for marketers and creatives to neglect their own marketing and personal branding as they move mountains for their clients. But as a freelancer or consultant, you can’t afford to do this – because you need every bit of visibility you can get, and because how you market yourself indicates your skills. 

If the idiom “The cobbler’s sons have no shoes” hits too close to home, or you feel creatively blocked when you think about how to market yourself and your services, it’s time to change that. No more excuses! 

Here’s what to do to start marketing yourself as a freelancer.

1. Write your elevator pitch.

“It starts with treating yourself like a client,” said Brittani Kroog, Freeman+Leonard recruiter and a former art director and creative freelancer. “Identify your ideal client – not just their industry, but also company size and job title. Review your own skills and talents, and the results you’ve achieved for past clients. What types of problems do you like to solve?” 

“Figure out what makes you unique as a freelancer or consultant, and how that overlaps with the problems your ideal client has and the results they need to achieve,” Brittani said.

With this clarity, write a strong bio and elevator pitch. In 30 seconds, you should be able to describe what you do and who you help, plus what you’ve accomplished and what you want to do next. 

And make sure your bio makes its way onto your LinkedIn profile summary.

2. Showcase your results.

If you haven’t already, create a simple website and include samples of your work and case studies. (You can password-protect it if you like.) Include testimonials if you have them, and show as much evidence of your abilities as possible. 

“We hear it from clients all the time – case studies, work samples and creative portfolios are critical to helping them decide which freelancer is the right fit for their company and their project,” said Ashley Allen, Director of Talent Solutions at Freeman+Leonard. “Don’t leave them hanging!”

This is especially important if you’re new to freelancing. “Your first few clients won’t want to feel like guinea pigs – they will want to see success stories and work samples to inspire confidence in their decision to hire you,” Ashley said.

3. Show up where it matters.

Next, develop a plan for how you’ll stay top-of-mind with those clients. B2B marketing is all about playing the long game. Find out where your ideal client gets their information or hangs out online, and focus there. 

“If you have a particular marketing or creative specialty, use that to your advantage,” said Freeman+Leonard recruiter Jordan Goodwin. “Every social media strategist should have a stellar social media presence, every writer should be blogging, and so on.” 

Whatever the format and channel you choose, let your own marketing – both its quality and the results it generates – serve as a proof of concept for your own talents.

Don’t get overwhelmed! 

As with other aspects of freelancing, you’ve probably learned that once you’ve “taken the leap,” the rest of the journey actually comes just one step at a time. You didn’t have to have it all figured out on day one to start your freelancing business, and you don’t need a perfect marketing plan to start increasing your visibility.

So don’t let perfectionism (or overwhelm) stop you from hitting “send” on that LinkedIn post. 

4. Work your connections.

Once you’re ready to get out there, don’t forget to leverage your professional network. Collaborating with freelancers and agencies who offer complementary (not competing) services can be a highly effective way to land new clients.

And that includes Freeman+Leonard! Whether you’re champing at the bit for your next project or just want an extra set of eyes on your elevator pitch or portfolio, send them our way. Our recruiters are always happy to advise you along your freelance journey. 

Don’t forget that a talent acquisition agency like Freeman+Leonard can help you find new clients, too. (That’s right – we don’t just deal in the traditional 9-5!) Demand for freelance talent is rising, and we’d love to meet you if we’re not already acquainted. And if we are, we’d love to hear how you’re doing! Reach out to our team on LinkedIn anytime or submit your portfolio at

How to get the most ROI from your recruiting partner

How to get the most ROI from your recruiting partner

Emily, VP of marketing for a fast-growing tech startup, was in a bind. Her CEO had called her into his office just an hour before to deliver the news: Her marketing budget would be slashed by nearly 30%, and more cuts might be coming.

As Emily walked back to her office, a familiar sense of dread settled over her. A fresh-faced new manager during the 2008 recession, she’d seen challenging times. But with a bigger team, the pressure felt different. Their next big product launch was right around the corner, and it couldn’t fail. And just last week, she’d interviewed candidates for several roles she was desperate to fill. Would there even be a team for them to join?

Emily spent the next two days poring over performance metrics and expenses, looking for fat to trim and creative ways to stretch her budget. 

But then she remembered she wasn’t alone in her seemingly sisyphean task. She had her trusted advisors at Freeman+Leonard, who she’d recently enlisted to help her fill those open roles. Her experience as a candidate just 18 months prior was enough for her to know they were no ordinary talent acquisition partner. So even though she didn't know if she'd continue to have much of a budget to work with, she decided to at least reach out for advice.

“If I have to cut a senior-level team member, could two junior-level backfills work?” she asked. “Can I even still hire that automation expert when I also still need a copywriter?”

“Not so fast,” said Lisa Foster, her Freeman+Leonard consultant. “It doesn’t have to be either-or. Let’s consider a different approach.”

Together they assembled a team of top-tier creative contractors to cinch those launch communications and an automation specialist to set up their campaigns for the coming quarter. 

Emily may have had to change her hiring plans for the near term, but this new approach allowed her to prove marketing’s value (and her leadership skills) even under incredible constraints. Perhaps most important, it gave her an on-demand team of freelancers already trained on her brand – a team she could turn to down the line for other pressing and quick-turn projects.

A truly strategic and innovative recruiting partner like Freeman+Leonard will see beyond budget limitations and provide solutions you may not have even realized were an option. Solutions that save you money in the short term, but also set you up for long-term success.

But most hiring managers underestimate what a recruiting partner like Freeman+Leonard can do for them. They then risk not getting the full value a partnership like that can provide.

Let’s change that, shall we?

Here’s our team’s advice on how to get the most ROI from your recruiting partner.

1. Ask for guidance and keep an open mind.

Sometimes clients come to us with a key role to fill, and we’re thrilled to do it. But often it’s more complicated — their budget is stretched thin, they’ve over-hired where talent’s no longer needed, or they’re trying to backfill for a product that will sunset next year. 

So, what’s the next best move? It depends! 

Think of your recruiting partner as less of a seat filler and more of a strategic advisor. The challenges you face that appear to be nearly impossible to tackle look a lot like the problems we solve for clients every day. 

In Emily’s case, she saw the value in taking a different approach. 

Her Freeman+Leonard advisor found the right on-demand resources to help her meet her KPIs without hiring a full-time employee she wasn’t even confident she could hold onto long-term.

“My advice: Don't automatically assume you need to fill your open roles with the same kinds of FTEs who vacated them,” says Kathy Leonard, President & CMO at Freeman+Leonard.

“Look at it from another angle,” she says. “Consider what KPIs you need to hit this quarter, and this year. What strategies and tactics will get you there? Only then start thinking about the marketing skills you need.”

And remember: We can help you at every stage of this process, so there’s no need to figure this out alone. 

2. Collaborate and communicate with our team.

Communication is key to delivering ideal outcomes. Your recruiter can act as an extension of your team, ready and eager to collaborate — less of a vendor, and more of a colleague and confidante.

The more we know about what’s going on in your company, the better. 

If pressure is building internally to change up the role you’re hiring for or to add different types of skills, let us know early and often — even if you’re worried about giving us whiplash.

Rather than hashing it out on your own, bring us into the conversation, and sooner rather than later. You never know what new ideas we might generate.

When in doubt, let’s talk it out! Allow us to be a sounding board to help you make sense of it all and mitigate the impact of these changes on your hiring process.

3. Commit to attracting talent together.

Part of a recruiter’s job is to play intermediary, and we’re masters of reassuring candidates while they’re in the running. But if you’re serious about competing for top talent, you can’t afford to play hard to get. You need to keep your head in the game and play to win, which means being responsive to, and transparent with, candidates. 

Leverage your recruiter as less of a defensive player and more of a relationship facilitator.

We get it; sometimes things are unsettled on your end and you don’t have answers yet. But keeping candidates in the loop matters.

That whip-smart marketing director with the blue-chip brands on her resume who nailed her interview two weeks ago but never heard from you? She’s not waiting for your call. And if she feels ghosted, your employer brand reputation and ability to attract top talent are at stake. 

Candidates talk to each other, and a negative interview experience can come back to haunt you. Help us help you make a strong impression with talent.  

Seize the opportunity to gain a true partner

Economic volatility aside, the new way of working calls for more creativity and strategic thinking in hiring practices, the ability to pivot on a dime, and a continuous commitment to attracting top talent. 

In Emily’s story, there are lessons for all hiring managers. When you open your mind to new ways of working with talent, you can solve today’s problems in ways that prepare you for greater returns tomorrow – while still taking care of your people. 

Whether you’ve been asked to ramp up at a moment’s notice or shift to do more with less, a strategic recruiting partner like Freeman+Leonard can ensure you’re still able to meet your goals despite the toughest constraints. 

If you have questions about hiring and ensuring your marketing and advertising teams are fully resourced — even if you’re not necessarily ready to hire — reach out to a Freeman+Leonard consultant.


Fractional CMOs: The growth-minded CEO's secret ingredient

Fractional CMOs: The growth-minded CEO's secret ingredient

Brand development. Competitive positioning. Go-to-market strategy. Communications. Business development. No matter what form it takes, or what they choose to call it, every business needs marketing in some form.

But not every company needs marketing leadership in the same way, or all the time. Fortunately, as demand for experienced marketing leaders has grown, so too have your options for accessing this kind of talent.

Enter: the fractional CMO.

What is a fractional CMO, and what can they do for you? 

A fractional CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is a seasoned professional providing marketing expertise and consulting on an interim, part-time or project basis. 

They can help you create, execute and measure the results of your marketing strategy, campaigns, and initiatives. These experts offer a range of skills and knowledge that you may not have in-house, in areas including digital marketing, strategic planning and analysis, customer acquisition strategies, brand positioning and content marketing.

A fractional CMO can also provide guidance on how to manage resources and budgets so that you get the best return on your marketing investment. They stay up with current trends in the marketplace so that your business is always ahead of the innovation curve. 

A fractional CMO is often a great option for getting insights and leadership from an executive marketer without the expense of a full-time hire. 

What is so unique about fractional CMOs is they can be put in at any point in the game, are flexible depending on each specific need, and can address issues and solve problems from the start given their level of experience. They can be completely customizable to your business needs, down to very specific industry knowledge, perfect personality matches for teams and in any location.  

For example, a golf club manufacturer was introducing a new iron to their well-known line of club products. This product used a new manufacturing technology that promised to improve performance for amateur players. The company had a sales team but their marketing director had recently left and the product launch was imminent.  

Freeman+Leonard suggested a fractional CMO to lead development of the launch from product positioning and branding to website copy, sales materials and experiential marketing at trade shows and on-site golf events. The CMO even trained the sales team on how to position and discuss the new club in a very compelling way to their retailers and golf course clients. Following the very successful launch, the fractional CMO was no longer required and the company continued with the plan for sales support.

With a leader like this dedicated to planning and overseeing your marketing efforts, you can know that all aspects of your strategy are being handled effectively — even if you don’t engage their services all the time.

Who needs a fractional CMO?

Most companies can benefit from an occasional infusion of marketing leadership, but fractional CMOs are perhaps most suited to smaller to mid-size companies who don’t already have a strong marketing presence. They may have a good product or service and a top-notch sales team, but lack leadership in areas like lead generation, market opportunity evaluation, brand development, competitive positioning and pricing. 

Fractional CMOs can accelerate growth by fine-tuning a company’s marketing – and they can be pinch hitters at key times in your business’ trajectory, when strategies are pivoting, and extra thought leaders are needed to ensure successful growth and outcomes. 

Is there a void in your executive or C-suite? 

That’s often a great time to bring in a fractional CMO. They can serve as a temporary and neutral third party to provide leadership to your employees and ensure momentum is maintained and progress moves forward with your brand and products. These marketing executives can also be instrumental in bringing teams together to make sure everyone’s aligned and working towards the same goals. The productivity and morale boost a fractional CMO can inspire will far outlast their tenure!

Do you need a big idea for an advertising or promotional campaign? 

Fractional CMOs don’t just provide strategy and marketing operations leadership — they can also provide creativity and ingenuity. Many have decades of experience (and a few awards) from working with national and global brands at creative agencies, or from leading creative teams at major corporations. With this experience comes a unique understanding of what works and what doesn’t in various sectors and target markets, allowing them to generate powerful ideas that will engage potential customers and convert them into loyal ones. 

Are you launching a new product? 

Consider hiring a fractional CMO to map out your go-to-market (GTM) strategy. They can help you define and communicate your value proposition; identify the target customers. determine the channels, content and tactics you’ll use for marketing and sales; and finally, measure results. Of course, this plan must also be implemented. A fractional CMO can operationalize your GTM strategy from start to finish with an actionable plan that all teams can follow.

A credit company in the prepaid card arena planned to expand their business by creating a line of products aimed at consumers, a dramatic addition to their established B2B model. The effort to build brand awareness and sales among consumers was no small task. They needed to quickly make a significant shift in their go-to-market strategy and establish a compelling brand consumers would recognize and demand.

Freeman+Leonard, with a strong bench of CMO talent, hand-picked the perfectly qualified leader to take on this challenge for the company, developing the brand positioning, messaging and launch plan, and uniting the existing corporate leadership to support the plan.

When the launch and initial oversight were complete, this company was able to continue the GTM plan internally and their Freeman+Leonard fractional CMO became a resource to consult as needed.

In short, anytime you’re pivoting, launching or needing a big idea or extra leadership, but don’t require it year-round, a fractional CMO should be your solution.

How do you work with a fractional CMO?

There are many flexible and affordable ways to engage the services of a fractional CMO.

One approach, which we at Freeman+Leonard call a “Recurring CMO,” is to bring them in for an annual planning meeting or a project to develop your marketing strategy. They can then return for a monthly or quarterly meeting to ensure that strategy is successfully implemented. Your “Recurring CMO” can also be retained for a certain number of hours per month.

Executive-level marketing leadership can be affordable and effective without the need to hire someone full-time. Maybe you can’t afford a $400,000 salary, but you might be able to afford 40 hours per month with a CMO. 

With fractional CMOs, you can get a $400K marketing leader without the $400K salary.

There is no limit to the number of ways you can design your own fractional CMO engagement. At Freeman+Leonard, we can find the ideal fractional CMO for your needs and package their services in the way that works best for your business.

How do you know whether you need a fractional or full-time CMO?

With so many ways to access marketing talent, it can be tough to know which model best suits your needs. Is it to hire and build out a full-time marketing team? Hire an agency? Or do you really need to just bite the bullet and hire a full-time CMO?

To help you decide, our team recommends first reviewing your 2023 goals, broken down by quarter. What are your pain points? What do you want to achieve? Do you know how you’ll get there? 

A fractional CMO can help you review these objectives and determine the timelines, budgets, team members, strategies and tactics needed to achieve them — so we often recommend bringing one in immediately for this planning phase.

If your goals seem shorter-term, a fractional CMO can quickly help you make real progress and see you across the finish line, so don’t hesitate to engage the services of one.

But if your goals are much longer-term, a permanent role may be most effective. A fractional CMO can help you get the wheels turning while you start searching for a permanent hire.

No matter what you decide, the talent experts at Freeman+Leonard can help. We have access to many thousands of experienced marketers across the country, including dozens of executive-level consultants, many of whom are former CMOs themselves. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for more information. Contact us to start a conversation today, no strings attached.

3 ways to get the most out of working with a recruiter

3 ways to get the most out of working with a recruiter

Think you know your recruiter, and what they can do for your career? Think again! Many people vastly underestimate the value a recruiter can provide, and think of them only when looking for a new job. But a good recruiter can do much more than just connect job seekers to new opportunities.

A good recruiter is a career advisor and coach.

They can offer valuable insight into how to present yourself on paper and in interviews, and advice on salary negotiation. Throughout your career, they can help you set goals, assess job opportunities and weigh offers. With an experienced recruiter in your corner, you’ll be able to arrive at the right decision for yourself with confidence.

Recruiters also have an intimate knowledge of the industry or field they serve. (At Freeman+Leonard, we’ve taken this a step further, as many on our team are former marketers and creatives themselves. This makes it much easier to match your skills to the right opportunities!) They’re up on the latest trends in your industry and in the job market, which can be a great asset when you’re pursuing a new role or thinking about a career transition. By understanding what employers are looking for today—and tomorrow—they can provide clarity when you’re considering taking the next step in your professional life.

And best of all, there’s no charge to candidates for working with a recruiter. So don’t squander that support – maximize it! Here's how to get the most out of your relationship with your recruiter:

1. Be open and transparent about what you need in order to make a move, salary-wise and otherwise.

Your recruiter can’t help you if you’re not honest and upfront about your needs. Whether we’re talking about salary expectations, the title you want, your ideal industry or dream company, tell us the whole story – don’t hold back. 

That open dialogue will allow your recruiter to truly understand what you need in order to find the best fit for you, so you can make a successful transition.

We want to help you find your dream job. So tell us what you’re actually dreaming of! Even if it’s a little out of reach right now, we can help you map out how to get there – and then help you find an opportunity that moves you closer to your goal.

2. Give us something to work with! A short bio or talking points helps us “pitch” you to employers.

Many job seekers don’t know that when they work with a recruiter and are being presented for a role, their recruiter is often literally presenting you – with PowerPoint! So help us help you: Make it easy to put together a slide that really sells you.

A super-helpful way to maximize your time with a recruiter is to provide them with a short bio, or at least a few bullet points about your experience and background. Having this at the ready makes it so much easier to pitch you to prospective employers. It gives us an outline to focus on and ensures we cover the experience and accomplishments most important to you, and relevant to your potential employer. 

This bio or short list of bullet points should focus on what helps you stand out from other candidates. Here are a few questions Freeman+Leonard recruiter Brittani Kroog likes to ask job seekers to help differentiate them from other candidates:

  1. Tell me something about yourself that's NOT on your resume (talents, soft skills, certifications, etc.)
  2. What types of problems do you like to solve?
  3. Where do you see yourself in 2 years?
  4. What is your biggest motivator for looking for a new opportunity?

If this background is also in your LinkedIn profile summary (and on your portfolio website), even better. It helps if what employers are able to find out about you online aligns with what they’ve been told. And your LinkedIn profile can help them get a better sense for who you are as a person, and whether you’ll mesh well with the team.

3. Keep in touch, even after we’ve helped place you in a role.

Landed a new gig? Congratulations – now don’t be a stranger! We know you’ll be drinking from the firehose for a while at your new job, but once you’re able to come up for air, let us know how it’s going! Even if you land somewhere on your own, we still want to stay in contact. When you make a point of staying in touch, we’ll be more likely to think of you first when there’s another new opportunity down the line.

And, of course, think of us when YOU’RE hiring!

Some of our favorite relationships are those with candidates we talked to and helped in any capacity who later became clients. Since we already know you and your personality, we can easily jump in to address any hiring gaps quickly and efficiently.

Now or down the line, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here for any questions you have about your career!

Don’t have a Freeman+Leonard recruiter yet?

Let’s fix that right now. Upload your resume at and someone will be in touch. You are also welcome to reach out to our recruiters anytime on LinkedIn:


Why Q4 is the best time to look for and start a new job

Why Q4 is the best time to look for and start a new job

The holidays are a job-hunter’s paradise.

We’re well into one of the most unusual job markets in history, with no signs of returning to business as usual. Competition for top talent is holding strong despite a shaky economy. And as we head into year-end – a season typically marked by candidates and companies pausing job searches – you may find yourself wondering if now’s a good time to be on the market.

So to set the record straight: Yes, the end of the year is actually a great time to search for and start a new job. Yes, even in this economy.

But we get it; you have concerns. Here’s our take on the questions that have come up in recent conversations with candidates.

1. Don’t let fear be the reason you don’t chase your dream job.

Too often, we hear of talent hanging on to less-than-ideal or downright lousy jobs well past reason — especially when the economy is a bit bumpy. They’ve internalized the fear of being the “last hired, first fired” and cling to the perceived security of staying put. There’s something to be said for loyalty, of course, but not if it’s at a significant cost to you.

The reality is, job security is an illusion. Business is business, and as harsh as it sounds, anyone can find themselves on the chopping block at any moment — especially when the economy is in trouble.

This is why it’s so important to be entrepreneurial about your career, and focus on contributing your talents where you can make the greatest impact and receive in return the most reward and fulfillment. If you’re undervalued or underutilized in your current role, that’s not exactly an advantageous place to be when downsizing decisions are made, either.

In other words, now’s as good a time as any to make your next move and go after the job you really want. 

2. That bonus you’re holding out for could cost you. 

If your total comp package includes a sweet bonus opportunity, you may be hesitant to leave it on the table. After all, you’ve been working all year, gunning for that perk, and you deserve it. Bonuses are an effective way for smart employers to incentivize strong performance (and retention). But payouts are not guaranteed, and you won’t always see the writing on the wall.

With the fear of recession in the air, companies are pulling back and shoring up resources in preparation for a possible storm. This means making tough calls, including canceling plans to pay out cash reserves. If you think your bonus is in the bag because you’re making your numbers, think again. You might get it, might not.

Now is a great time to negotiate for higher salaries in a new role to combat inflation or to find roles that better suit your lifestyle,'' says Freeman+Leonard recruiter Brittani Kroog. “For the right employee, we are seeing companies go tens of thousands over their range and negotiate more PTO and other benefits.”

Plus, you may be able to negotiate for more money with a new employer to make up for the bonus you’re leaving on the table.

But even if not, you’ll need to decide if missing a great opportunity is worth a bonus you may not even get.

3. ‘Return to office’ is gaining ground, so get ahead of it. 

At Freeman+Leonard, we’re Team WFH. We think companies should be offering more remote work opportunities, not fewer. Alas, not every employer is on board. Many cling to outdated ideas about in-person collaboration (or their commercial leases), in addition to those whose workers must be on-site to perform their jobs.

In the past few months, we’ve seen a sharp increase in job descriptions with in-office-attendance requirements. And quite a few folks in our talent pool have been voicing displeasure about their employer enforcing return-to-office policies. With the pandemic waning, the trend isn’t looking good for home office holdouts in 2023.

If you prefer working remotely and it’s become clear that your employer has different ideas, your best bet is to get ahead of it. Doubly so if you moved farther away from your office during the pandemic (or even to a whole new city!).

Find a new opportunity with an employer that agrees with your thinking and appreciates the value of working from home. The clock is ticking!

4. Your competition is sleeping on the job (or sipping eggnog). 

The job search and hiring front are notoriously quiet at the end of the year. But in our experience, it’s often one of the best times to be on the hunt for a new role. Economic downturn and headline-grabbing layoffs aside, the job market is still strong in many sectors. Heading into 2023, healthy marketing and advertising budgets mean employers are still hungry for top talent. 

It can be tempting to take it easy during the holiday season, but your competition is probably thinking the same way. You may even figure that recruiters and hiring managers have completely checked out for the year, but we can assure you that’s not the case. Sure, some people are out of the office on vacation, but we’re still plugged in and actively looking to fill roles before the new year.

“We often advise clients to swoop in and get good talent now with fewer companies competing,” says Andrea Tipton, EVP, Marketing and Talent Solutions at Freeman+Leonard. “The same can be said for talent. Take the time now to decide what you want and go after it.”

With fewer candidates actively searching, December is a good time to stand out, get noticed and land your next role. 

5. ’Tis the season for searching and settling in with ease.  

The holidays can be a sleepy mix of slowing down at work while getting caught up in hustle-and-bustle at home. But don’t forget, you can always pare back your social calendar commitments and mile-long to-do list. If you’re eager to make your next move, use some of the downtime to polish your resume, update your LinkedIn profile, brush up on your interview skills, and take advantage of the slower pace.

If you land a role near year-end, you may be inclined to push your start date to January. But Q4 is a great time for onboarding without the pressure to start contributing right away. You’ll be able to sit in on planning meetings, connect with your new coworkers and clients during holiday social gatherings, get up to speed on company policies, programs, and technology, and prepare to hit your stride in January when projects are in full swing.

Set yourself up for success next year and beyond.

Overall, the future looks bright for marketing and advertising talent in this market. We encourage you to seize the opportunities in front of you, continuously strive to advance your career, and set yourself up for future success. December could be the month that makes a difference. 

The skilled talent professionals of Freeman+Leonard can help you with your search now and year-round.

Get in touch with a Freeman+Leonard recruiter today by submitting your resume or connecting with us on LinkedIn.

Why Q4 is an ideal time to hire and onboard new employees

Why Q4 is an ideal time to hire and onboard new employees

Don’t write off December!

Over the years, we’ve noticed a troubling pattern: hiring tends to go on hiatus in Q4. 

It’s certainly not because business has slowed. With leadership focused on hitting year-end numbers and top performers aiming to make their bonuses, there’s plenty of activity afoot. But as talent acquisition professionals, we’ve come to expect a lull in our workload each year heading into fall. And while we understand the reasons, we see it as a missed opportunity. 

Placing searches on hold and pushing back start dates might seem like a good idea. After all, the holiday season is coming up, lots of people will be on vacation, and hiring managers are looking forward to some downtime. However, putting staffing off till January can waste precious time that you can’t get back. 

Q4 is actually a great time to hire and welcome new employees to your team. Here’s why.

1. There’s less competition for top marketing, advertising and creative talent.

Employers may be resting on their laurels at the end of the year, but top candidates in marketing, advertising and creative fields are on the move. Holidays or not, candidates are actively looking for new opportunities this time of year. This means you have a real shot at adding to your team a few marketing rockstars that your competitors otherwise might have snapped up any other time of the year.

2. You can avoid burning out your team (and keep billing).

For many consumer brands and nonprofits (and the agencies that serve them), the holidays are actually a high-volume time of year in terms of sales and revenue. Not having a full team means you may not be operating at peak performance (or billing the hours you expected) – and during the busy season, that can cost you money. Hitting a ceiling on growth is never fun, and especially not during the time of year when the lion’s share of revenue is expected.

Not to mention this stretches your existing team far too thin during a time when everyone else they know is relaxing at home with friends and family. It’s a recipe for burnout you can easily avoid by staffing up in Q4, rather than waiting for that “ideal” moment in the new year.

3. Your new hires get to learn ‘by osmosis’ while your team strategizes for the year ahead.

The end of the year is a natural time to reflect on the progress you’ve made, reassess the challenges you’ve faced, and look forward to what you hope to accomplish in the months ahead. 

This gives your new employees a unique opportunity to absorb information about the company and their role that will be vital to their success, simply by being in the room during important discussions.

Your new hires get to see the 30,000-foot view before the year begins and before they (and everyone else) get caught up in the day-to-day.

The fresh perspectives that new team members bring can also open your eyes to alternative approaches, potential obstacles you haven’t anticipated, or trends you might have missed – before your plans are set in stone.

Including new team members in these important discussions can also help you bond with new hires and help them feel valued and welcome.

4. You can hit the ground running in January.

As we all know, returning from the holidays at the first of the year can be grueling. The transition from festivities and Hallmark movie binges to a calendar chock-full of meetings and deadlines can be a shock to the system. Not the best atmosphere for onboarding a new hire. 

When you fill open positions in Q4, you avoid thrusting new hires into the weeds on day one. A more laid-back schedule means they have space to review materials, and get up to speed on your systems and technology rather than jumping right into a project. And while your team is less busy, they can show them the ropes.

Most employees don’t start contributing immediately, anyway. A late-year start date gives them plenty of time to get acclimated before their output is truly needed.

5. ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’… to mix and mingle!

Ramping up in a new role is about more than getting the hang of the job itself. Fitting in — meeting your co-workers, learning who’s who, and familiarizing yourself with the company culture — is a big part of onboarding success

But when your team is remote or hybrid, opportunities for face time are less abundant – except, perhaps, at the end of the year. Q4 hosts a flurry of in-person events, lunches and holiday parties. No matter what traditions your employees celebrate, or how many of them work remotely, year-end is a wonderful time to gather in-person.

All the merrymaking provides a natural opportunity to introduce new employees to the rest of the team (and clients) before everyone retreats into their home offices for the rest of the winter.

This worked well for Brittani Kroog, who kicked off her new remote job as Recruiting & Talent Sourcer at Freeman+Leonard in Q4 of 2021 with an in-person day at the company’s coworking space. “It was great meeting HR, IT and my manager in person, followed by a team lunch. That was a very personable first day,” she says. “Starting in December also meant I got to have social time with everyone for the holidays, which was so nice.”

Getting bumped to January means missing out on the casual team bonding and personal connections that Q4 onboarding affords. (Plus, your Q4 new hires will get to be in on the holiday party inside jokes in January, instead of feeling even more like an outsider.)

It’s not too late to add to your team in 2022.

Whether you’re thinking about pausing an active search or delaying a new search for the next couple of months, we encourage you to think again. 

We see it every year — employers who continue to recruit in November and December have an edge over those who don’t. 

The marketing and advertising talent experts at Freeman+Leonard can help you with your search and onboarding process year-round. The hiring landscape is still competitive, but strong candidates enter the job market daily. Strike while the iron is hot, and don’t miss your chance to tap the advantages of Q4 onboarding. 

Use the contact form below to reach out and start a conversation. It costs nothing to explore your options.

Get in touch with a Freeman+Leonard consultant today:

Why more employers should offer remote work (and what to do if you can’t)

Why more employers should offer remote work (and what to do if you can’t)

As pandemic restrictions have eased, many employers have announced their intent to bring their workers back to the office. 

At Freeman+Leonard, we’re already seeing a sharp increase in the number of hiring managers writing in-office attendance requirements into their job descriptions. In our view, attitudes about remote work clearly have shifted among many corporate leaders over the past few months.

But on the talent side, nothing has changed since the beginning of the pandemic. When we present candidates with an opportunity, location flexibility is still the first or second question they ask about the role. Globally, only 20% of workers prefer being in the office full-time, and 55% of knowledge workers would prefer working fewer than three days a week in the office.

Clearly, there are mismatched expectations between marketing, advertising and creative talent and the companies that hire them.

Many reasons exist why a company might want its workers in the office. Some marketing roles simply require a physical presence to perform them, like print, photography and film production. And while most leaders agree that productivity increases with remote work, the general consensus seems to be that innovation suffers when people don’t gather in person.

About two-thirds – 66% – of workers say they prefer a hybrid model, and we’ve seen that most candidates are happy to spend at least a day or two per week in the office. The value of meeting and collaborating in person isn’t lost on them, either. But most now draw the line at a strict Monday-through-Friday attendance policy. In fact, 37% of workers would be willing to take a 10% pay cut to avoid such a policy.

Beyond the comfort and convenience of working from home (and the hours saved on commutes), 33% of workers are still moderately or very concerned about their risk of COVID-19 exposure. The pandemic isn’t over, after all – but even if it were, our previously casual, even cavalier attitude about germ exposure is probably not coming back anytime soon.

Companies that allow remote work see benefits, too – even those that can’t opt out of the overhead cost of physical office space.

And this isn’t just about keeping the workers you already have – it’s also about attracting top candidates to your company in the first place. Drawing from a deeper talent pool is just one of the many advantages companies enjoy when they remain location-flexible. By looking outside your own backyard, you could score a rock star from a bigger market, or have a much easier time finding a multi-skilled unicorn or highly niched needle in a haystack.

And so, we urge hiring managers who can offer even some degree of flexibility to do so. 

Like it or not, it’s still a candidate’s market.

Top marketing professionals aren’t settling for jobs that don’t offer at least some location flexibility. And in this candidate’s market, they don’t have to. They’ll simply pass, or find new jobs at companies that do. In fact, 70% of knowledge workers globally will be looking for a new job if they’re not happy with the level of flexibility their current employer offers.

Clearly, it will take more than a mandate to get high-performing employees to actually leave their home offices for a sea of cubicles — no matter how important in-person work may be to their employers.

We must incentivize a return to office for employees, not just command it.

If your company requires in-office attendance, the odds will be stacked against you when you’re ready to hire your next employee – but there are still ways to make your company attractive to new hires. Here’s what we recommend.

1. Make the office somewhere people want to be.

AT&T was ahead of the curve when they built the Discovery District: an urban center in downtown Dallas with water fountains, lawn space, interactive art and, of course, plenty of dining options and outdoor dining tables. 

In a Dallas Morning News article, AT&T CEO John Stankey credited this office oasis and the social opportunities it provides for helping to bring employees physically back together. “They want that social interaction,” Stankey said. “And we’ve created an environment that allows them to have that extended work life.”

Don’t have a $100 million dollar budget to build a new urban facility? There are many ways to energize your environment and make the workplace fun and enjoyable. 

  • Make sure your office has plenty of areas for people to eat lunch together and socialize. 
  • If your office is outdated, give it a facelift with fresh paint and modern office furniture.
  • Encourage employees to form social groups, and sponsor outings and happy hours. 
  • You could even let workers bring their dogs to the office, all the time or on certain days.

Essentially, give them the very best of office life when they’re onsite, so that it’s obvious what they miss by working from home.

2. Offer perks they can get only in the office.

Companies are paying extra attention these days to the perks and benefits they offer. With rising salaries and a tight job market, every little competitive advantage helps. But if there are some perks your team can  take advantage of only at the office, it’s a win-win. You’re adding value to their lives while encouraging attendance.

From chef-catered meals to childcare, a state-of-the-art gym to onsite medical services, what benefits can you give your team that they can receive only when they’re onsite? Don’t be punitive about it – this is about adding perks that, by their very nature, must be enjoyed in-person.

3. Be flexible where you can – especially about work hours.

Even if your company can’t embrace remote (or even hybrid) work, there are other ways to add flexibility to many marketing and advertising roles. Relaxing the specific hours certain employees must be in the office is an easy one. Many professionals simply do their best work at different times of the day, and family and childcare commitments can make it difficult to follow a strict business-hours schedule.

Besides, we all carry the internet in our pockets now. The lines between home and work are inherently blurred. There’s no need to expect perfect punctuality when many are likely putting in overtime at home anyway. Be flexible about what time you expect people to arrive or leave and focus more on the work itself.

4. Reward outcomes, not attendance.

“Presenteeism” is as much of a risk as absenteeism or attrition for all companies, but especially those without location flexibility. Simply commuting and showing up to an office after years of not being required to can feel like a monumental effort for many of your employees. If they’re not enthusiastic about the change, their motivation is likely to plunge. All of this is a recipe for lower productivity, even among your star employees.

To combat “presenteeism,” do everything you can to combat the idea that being present is all that matters.

Instead, emphasize performance and measurable outcomes. Ensure expectations are clear and benchmarks and targets are well understood. Help employees see the “why” behind their work. Encourage their own development, and cheer them on as they navigate challenges. And most important, reward them often for their accomplishments with quarterly and surprise bonuses, gifts and recognition.

You may still be requiring your workers to come in, but at least they’ll know how you really want them to show up.

5. Offer “focus days” and limit unnecessary meetings.

The modern workplace is filled with distractions – especially workplaces with open floor plans. A commonly cited reason our candidates prefer working from home is that they simply focus better there. On top of that, a calendar packed with seemingly endless meetings can make real productivity impossible.

So take after tech companies like Airtable and Asana.

At Airtable, one day per month is declared a “recharge day,” where taking calls and checking email are discouraged. They also have “focus weeks,” which limit internal meetings so employees can focus on their actual work duties. At Asana, “No-Meeting Wednesdays” is a longstanding tradition. Everyone agrees to not schedule meetings – unless absolutely necessary – in the middle of the week, allowing everyone at least one day where they know they can buckle down and get into the zone.

6. Allow remote work in structured doses.

Maybe you need everybody there at the same time most of the time. Or, perhaps your company struggles with hybrid models where it’s harder to predict exactly when people will or won’t be together.

But with a little structure, you can still offer location flexibility without totally disrupting your broader team’s productivity and workflows.

At Google, employees are offered four “work from anywhere” weeks per year. That may sound extreme, but longer periods of time can actually be easier to adapt to than individual days here and there. And with a little coordination, you can minimize the impact on key clients or campaigns, and ensure no two team members are remote at the same time.

7. Reduce the workweek.

Many advertising agencies have long offered “Summer Fridays,” with employees encouraged to take Fridays off or leave early for the weekend during slower summer months. 

Now, startups like Basecamp and Buffer are on four-day workweeks – some seasonally, some year-round. These companies say they’ve seen no noticeable shift in productivity. (Maybe we’re not all that productive on Fridays anyway…)

Sound like a fantasy? Considering the changes we’ve already endured over the past few years, maybe not. The future of work is here, and ready to be shaped by today’s leaders. If your company must be firm about in-office attendance, what other rules about work can it break instead? 

If shortening the workweek isn’t within your power, there may be other ways you can help give your team a little extra downtime, like encouraging them to take off a little early on Fridays if their work for the week is done.

8. Give your employees more PTO.

If none of these options is available to you, the only other way your team will be able to get out of the office is to actually take time off. 

Giving your employees a little more paid time off than they’d have gotten otherwise may be enough of a concession to keep them around as you transition back to the office. Don’t be surprised if top candidates negotiate for more PTO as a result of your in-office requirements, too.

Remember: The carrot is more persuasive than the stick.

Even if onsite attendance isn’t negotiable, you can still make it worth employees’ while. When they feel appreciated and enjoy sharing a physical space, it’s evident to every candidate who walks through your doors.

Before making your next hire, reach out to the talent experts at Freeman+Leonard. We’re more than just a staffing firm — we’re a marketing solutions company, with deep expertise in the marketing and advertising industry and a consultative approach to client relationships. To deliver world-class marketing for your brand, we’ll help you determine who you need, and how you need them – then craft a compelling job description and compensation package to attract the strongest candidates for each role.

Ready to find your next great hire? Use the contact form below to reach out and start a conversation.

Get in touch with a Freeman+Leonard consultant today:

17 unique job perks and benefits to attract and retain top marketing talent

17 unique job perks and benefits to attract and retain top marketing talent

In today’s hot job market, it takes more than a great salary to win over top marketing and advertising talent. Many companies – whether to differentiate themselves to top candidates, offset a slightly less-competitive salary, or incentivize their workers to return to the office (rather than simply require that they do) – are getting much more creative with the benefits and perks they offer.

As you consider which benefits to offer your workers, or which perks to add to your own job-search wish list, be inspired by these innovative employers. 

1. Fully paid health and dental plan premiums

While there’s nothing new or unusual about offering health insurance to your workers, we’re seeing more companies offer fully paid premiums for low-deductible health, dental and vision insurance.

For example, Airtable, a SaaS company based in Austin, pays 100% of its employees’ health and dental plan premiums, among many other perks. 

This trend is spreading to the advertising world. We know of several Dallas-based independent agencies, including Arm Candy, that cover health insurance at 100% for employees as well as their family members, including health, dental and vision, and even life insurance.

2. Unlimited and mandated PTO

At Airtable, there is no formal vacation policy, but employees are encouraged to take at least a minimum amount of PTO, usually between three and five weeks. And at Dropbox, employees are allowed to take up to four consecutive weeks off per year, fully paid.

Though Netflix was among the first to offer unlimited PTO, the popularity of this perk has certainly grown. But just because a vacation policy is generous doesn’t mean people will feel comfortable in actually taking the time off.

So at Arm Candy, PTO is not only unlimited, it’s mandatory. A minimum of 15 days off per year is required to even be considered for promotions and raises.

3. More frequent performance and compensation reviews

One tech company in Austin with an already generous PTO policy encourages their highest-performing employees to take even more paid time off. But how do you know if you’re one of them? Easy. Performance reviews take place every six months instead of just once per year – so you always know where you stand, and what to improve on.

And they’re not just performance reviews, but compensation reviews: In addition to confirmation of that extra PTO permission slip, high-performing employees can generally expect a raise every six months.

4. Stock options and bonuses

Financial compensation can come in many forms. Companies unable to offer highly competitive salaries can make up for this with other financial incentives.

One employer in Texas offers Restricted Stock Units at onboarding, with the opportunity to earn additional RSUs every six months based on performance reviews. RSUs are also randomly awarded based on company performance.

And at Arm Candy, bonuses are paid quarterly rather than annually (or not at all), so employees have more frequent rewards for their hard work.

5. Flexible work hours and location

Overall, we’re seeing more employers emphasizing performance and measurable outcomes rather than the number of hours their workers spend in a physical office – or even log at home.

At Google, employees are offered PTO as well as four “work from anywhere” weeks per year. The rest of the year, employees enjoy a hybrid model allowing two work-from-home days per week for most roles.

But even if your company isn’t willing or able to embrace remote or even hybrid work, there are still ways to keep workers happy, like offering more PTO, sabbaticals or flexible work hours. After all, many of us are still working or online even after business hours, anyway.

6. No-meeting days and 4-day weeks

Regardless of where a workday is spent, it’s often full of distractions and meetings. It’s one thing for managers to encourage more-focused work time for their teams, or better time management techniques, and quite another to require it, and then create the structure to enable it. 

At Airtable, one day per month is declared a “recharge day,” where taking calls and checking email are discouraged. They also have “focus weeks,” which limit internal meetings so employees can focus on their actual work duties. At Asana, “No-Meeting Wednesdays” is a longstanding tradition.

Many advertising agencies for a long time have offered “Summer Fridays,” with employees encouraged to take Fridays off or leave early for the weekend. Now, tech startups like Basecamp and Buffer are on four-day work weeks – some year-round.

7. Paid parental and family leave

While there’s nothing new about maternity leave, historically it’s been paid out by short-term disability plans based on a percentage of the employee’s salary. Recently we’ve seen a greater number of employers offer fully paid leave for any employees who’ve recently welcomed a child into their home.

More companies are expanding this type of leave to meet a variety of family care-giving needs. Deloitte offers 16 weeks of PTO to “bond with a child as a result of birth or placement for adoption and/or to care for a spouse/domestic partner, parent, child, and/or sibling with a serious health condition.”

There are many ways to show you’re a family-friendly workplace. Independent agency PMG gives all new parents a $250 gift card to spend on diapers or anything else needed – PMG even temporarily turns off new parents’ email and Slack access while they’re on leave.

8. Health and wellness perks

There are more options than just insurance for promoting employee health and wellness. One Austin-based tech company offers a “digital” wallet funded at $200 a month for pre-approved items like fitness equipment and personal training sessions. Money can accumulate and be used anytime. A second digital wallet is funded with $1,000 for other wellness benefits, including mental health counseling, which must be used within the year.

Deloitte offers a well-being subsidy of up to $1,000 per year for qualifying well-being expenses. 

9. Fertility and family-building benefits

More and more companies now offer fertility and family-planning benefits, either through their health insurance plans or specialized benefits providers like Carrot and Progyny. In 2021, FertilityIQ discovered an 8% increase in the number of large companies (across multiple verticals) who had introduced new fertility or family-building benefits or enhanced existing benefits.

10. Child care stipends and backup care centers

It doesn’t take a global pandemic for employers to realize that working parents with reliable child care are more productive. Over the last few years, more companies have begun offering workers child care benefits, including child care stipends and reimbursement, dependent care flexible spending accounts, and backup care centers like those offered by Bright Horizons. USAA, Adobe, Bank of America and others are supporting working parents with childcare benefits. 

11. Professional development and tuition reimbursement

In addition to in-house curriculum and mentorship opportunities like Enterprise’s management training program, many Fortune 500 companies including Google, Bank of America and IBM offer tuition reimbursement for degree programs relevant to an employee’s job, including MBAs and other graduate degrees.

But even on a lesser budget, there are many ways to invest in your employees’ professional development. Paying for certification programs or offering memberships to online course platforms including Coursera allows you to help your employees develop their skills without feeling like you’re sending another kid to college.

On an even smaller scale? We also like Teamwork’s two libraries, stocked with books applicable to various job functions. Totally doable (and makes for great office decor). For a digital option, try Blinkist.

12. Charitable donation matching and volunteer days

Many companies for a long time have offered donation matching and paid time off to volunteer, and we’ve seen this perk increase in popularity over the last few years. Footwear brand Timberland even offers up to 40 hours per year of paid time off to volunteer! 

Helping your workers support causes meaningful to them can foster a sense of community at your company. Plus, compassion and kindness are good for brain health – so you may even find your employees coming back to work feeling less stressed and more productive.

To get started, draft a volunteer time off policy, or reach out to your local United Way to start a Workplace Campaign.

13. Home office expenses

A comfortable home office setup is critical for getting things done in remote and hybrid work models. More employers are offering stipends to their workers for anything they need to focus better at home – from office furniture to extra monitors or computers.

The aforementioned Arm Candy even pays your cell phone bill with a monthly mobile stipend of $125 per month.

14. Discounts and free products

Consumer-facing brands have an advantage on this one. If your company sells a product to consumers, it’s an easy win to offer it to your employees for free, or at big discounts.

The travel industry might’ve pioneered this perk. Employees of many airlines, including Southwest, get unlimited free flights for themselves and their eligible dependents, plus travel discounts and benefits at hotels, rental car companies, theme parks and even other airlines.

A prominent fashion retailer we know gives their employees a product stipend so their staff can wear the current trends and clothes being sold in-store.

Agencies can also negotiate with their consumer-brand clients for deals on discounted merchandise for their employees. Any employer can set up an employee discount portal thanks to platforms like BenefitHub.

15. Fun surprises and gifts

Though not something you’d list as a formal benefit, sending employees random gifts to thank them for a job well done boosts morale.

Rather than logoed tchotchkes and conference swag leftovers, send gifts your employees will actually want and use. One SaaS company in Texas has been known to send to its top performers high-end luggage, North Face clothing and golf equipment.

16. Concierge services and lifestyle benefits

Once reserved for Silicon Valley and high-powered executives and lawyers, time-saving concierge services are becoming more common as a company perk. 

Running errands for employees, maid services, grocery and meal delivery, subscription services and more – employers are offering lifestyle perks to help their team members feel supported while allowing them to focus more on work – and less on the errands and chores of daily life.

17. Dog-friendly office

One of the drawbacks to going back to the office is leaving our four-legged friends behind. Especially those of us who adopted pandemic puppies who, naturally, developed a bit of separation anxiety after their owners had barely left their sides for two years.

Letting your employees bring their dogs to work is an adorable and easy way to boost morale – and for hybrid workers might even boost office attendance.

Benefits can sharpen your competitive advantage

Despite the variety of perks offered, all these employers have one thing in common: They understand the market forces driving candidates’ choices, and they’ve found ways to ensure those forces work in their favor. And – they listened to what workers said they wanted, knowing their people are their best asset and competitive advantage.

Whether remote or in-office, few people will take one job over another purely based on fringe perks, but they do increase the overall perceived value of compensation packages. And when employers put time and effort toward crafting generous benefits packages, they also send a message to candidates that they are valued. Ultimately, they’ve made it easier for high-performing employees to say yes to staying at their company, or joining in the first place. We applaud their innovative thinking, and we encourage more employers to do the same.

Before making your next hire, reach out to the talent experts at Freeman+Leonard. We’re more than just a staffing firm — we’re a marketing solutions company, with deep expertise in the marketing and advertising industry and a consultative approach to client relationships. To deliver world-class marketing for your brand, we’ll help you determine who you need, and how you need them – then craft a compelling job description and compensation package to attract the strongest candidates for each role.

Ready to find your next great hire? Use the contact form below to reach out and start a conversation, no strings attached.

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