Corporate Eye

If You’ve Got It—Flaunt It!

CTP Website

Recently, the Boston advertising agency Conover Tuttle Pace started its second annual Summer Sublet desk swap.  As reported by the Boston Globe, the Summer Sublet is a combination lottery/draft, in which employees maneuver their way to better quarters for a month.  This year’s big winner traded his spot in the communal workspace for the president’s glass-walled corner office–complete with TV and a garden view

Summer Sublet requires everyone, from the newbies to the bosses, to sit in a different place until Labor Day.  As a small company (just 35 employees), Conover Tuttle Pace is in a position to move folks around without too much hassle, and obviously, this kind of exercise would be logistically impossible in a big corporation.  But Summer Sublet is a playful idea that stimulates cross-functional interaction by mixing up the creative types, the techies, and the execs in new ways.  According Amara Bassiri, the company’s “workflow, wellness, and broadcast guru,” an “exchange of ideas happens organically.”

When the Boston Globe wrote up the Sublet caper, Conover Tuttle Pace swiftly put a big link to the story on their company’s home page.  (That’s it in the post illustration.)  Which brings us to the point:  This is a knockout story for their employer brand.

Again—this particular idea would not translate easily to a corporate milieu.  But there are plenty of clever, creative activities going on in big companies, and as a rule they are not exploited.  A few typical reasons:

  • The Careers/Jobs section is in a silo, not integrated with overall PR and marketing efforts.
  • The PR and marketing folks don’t pay much attention to employer branding.
  • The Careers/Jobs section is focused on job posting and application gathering, with only sporadic attention to the employer brand.
  • The Careers/Jobs section is updated infrequently, and may have no easy way to add newsy items.

Takeaway: The (very) slightly more relaxed pace of summer offers a good opportunity to find out about innovative ideas and activities in your company.  Even if there is no currently convenient way to report these activities on the corporate website, they make great blog posts, and can be included in social media—Facebook loves this type of item, especially if there are photos.  And “cool” stories provide an opportunity for recruiters to tweet something other than routine job postings.

To see fun done right, it’s always worth stopping by Southwest Airlines.   Check out the SWA Facebook page.

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Cynthia Giles has followed a serpentine career path from academia to publishing to marketing and design to information technology and corporate communications. There’s plenty of detail about this journey at, but briefly--the common theme has been ideas, and how to present them effectively. Along the way, she became an accidental expert on data warehousing and business intelligence, and for the past ten years she has combined corporate contracting with an independent consulting practice that focuses on marketing strategy for smaller businesses and non-profits. Having spent quite a bit of time looking for work, and anywhere from two weeks to two years inside a wide variety of American companies—she has given much thought to what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to creating a great employment fit.