January 14, 2020


We help our clients implement the kind of data-driven change that fundamentally reshapes their organizations. As the head of talent at WebbMason Analytics, it is my job to help them find the talented engineers, analysts and data scientists they need to execute those plans. Attending the Optima conference, hosted by Predictive Index, in Boston at the end of 2019 was the perfect opportunity to find out what’s working in recruitment from the best in the business.

What is Optima all about?

Optima is an annual conference about getting the people part of your business strategy right.

Brooke Jones, a partner at WebbMason Analytics and I joined more than 800 business leaders and recruitment professionals to hear from some of the most influential experts and thought leaders in recruitment and talent retention.

I especially enjoyed Billy Bean’s session. He revolutionized baseball when he adopted evidence-based analysis to assemble the Oakland Athletics team. Brad Pitt played his character in the 2011 movie “Moneyball”.

Bean shared his wisdom for finding and keeping the best players. He explained that job satisfaction is about so much more than money. People are also looking for growth, flexibility and recognition for their contribution.

That was a theme that came across loud and clear at many of the sessions. High-quality job candidates with a choice of jobs aren’t focused on dollars alone. They have a list of cultural criteria they want from their next employer.  Any organization that needs to attract top talent, must look beyond the traditional salary and benefits package to secure these in-demand hires.

We believe that this is particularly important for businesses recruiting data science and analytics candidates. The severe talent shortage in this field means skilled job seekers have lots of options.

Five cultural changes that attract top talent

It can be difficult to know exactly where to start with something like cultural change, so here are five cultural changes your businesses can implement quickly that appeal to job seekers.

An authentic and transparent workplace

Candidates are attracted to work environments with open lines of communication between leadership and employees.

Matching values

People are more comfortable working in an environment that matches their personality and values. A candidate with a casual approach to life may not be happy in a company that has a lot of rules and regulations. We use Predictive Index’s behavioral and cognitive assessment tests to identify people who’ll thrive in each client’s company culture.

Clear career progression plans

Most job applicants want to know an employer will give them the chance to grow. Knowing the skills, training or other benchmarks they need to accomplish to qualify for promotion goes a long way to help businesses retain existing talent.

Aesthetically pleasing offices and desirable facilities

When you provide comfortable workspaces and benefits such as high-end snacks, access to a gym and other services, candidates feel they’ll be valued by the employer. These simple and very low-cost changes can make a big difference to employee satisfaction.


Whether it is the ability to work from home, bring their dog or kids to the office or take time off to accompany their mom to the doctor, today’s candidates demand accommodating bosses.

We were inspired by the speakers at Optima and are excited to bring back new ideas to help us find top candidates for the teams we are building for our clients as well as the job openings we are filling at WebbMason Analytics.