May 24, 2022

How The Hoth’s people-first culture has made it an Inc. Best Workplace for years

By combining software with concierge services, The Hoth has become the leading SEO company helping businesses get discovered on the internet. They’re big fans of rankings but not just for Google search results – The Hoth also ranks as a top employer on Glassdoor and has won a Best Workplace award from Inc Magazine for five straight years.

Competency and character

On the surface, their success as a company and employer stem from a seemingly simple strategy.

“We have great products but really it’s great people that drive the company,” explains Alize Luft, Community and Culture Manager. “We’re a very people-first company.”

But executing on that strategy requires flipping the script for hiring and retention. Whereas companies often prioritize hiring for competency and are willing to overlook character flaws, The Hoth refuses to sacrifice one for the other.

“We follow the “Three C’s” of hiring: Character, Competence, and Culture,” says Luft. “We equally examine an individual’s values, qualities, culture fit, and ability to perform in the position.”

Since founding the company back in 2010, The Hoth’s leadership team has emphasized a cultural mission: regardless of how long you’re here, we want you to leave a better person than you came.

“Putting the emphasis on that has made for an incredible culture. Even if we have hard days, we’re surrounded by great people which keeps our team having very high morale,” she says.

Fostering culture, remotely

Until the pandemic, The Hoth was exclusively in office, with a sizzle reel to showcase their swanky penthouse digs in Tampa Bay, Florida.

“Due to the evolving needs of the workforce, we introduced remote hiring and even remote perks for people living near the office, so they can work from home two days per week,” says Luft. “It’s a challenge never having navigated those waters before. We’re doing our best to keep up with the flexible needs of our workforce while maintaining our culture.”

One of The Hoth’s company values is “Prioritize Your Wellness” and the company has long backed that up by offering generous benefits focused on employee wellbeing.

At the start of the pandemic though, The Hoth was looking for a new solution to administer their wellness benefits to a remote and increasingly distributed workforce.

“JOON was really appealing to us because it eliminated that middle step of swiping a card or logging into a marketplace to find what you want,” says Luft. “It made us hopeful that we could achieve the highest participation rate possible. People want wellness but they also want things as simple as possible.”

JOON’s seamless card-connected experience has led to nearly 70% of The Hoth’s employees using their wellness benefits and receiving a reimbursement every single month. But since JOON is flexible and works anywhere, the fun really begins when you ask people what they’re using the benefits on.

Wellbeing is a domino effect

“Our team is really resourceful,” says Luft. “Someone will post in Slack asking what other people use their JOON benefit on and then there will be tons of threads and comments with people saying they used JOON on golf, or a massage gun, or on a fitbit.”

The Hoth highlights their flexible wellness allowance on their career page, alongside other benefits about working there.

When Luft onboards new team members, she makes JOON a part of their first day, walking them through the customized template that JOON’s account manager created illustrating The Hoth’s benefits program.

“They usually think it’s really cool because they didn’t know anything like JOON existed,” says Luft. “They’re certainly impressed that a company cares enough to offer this.”

The impact goes well beyond adding a cool factor to The Hoth’s employer brand. It reinforces the company’s values in a meaningful way that can overcome any distance or geographical barriers.

“When people are looking at companies, they’re looking at so much more than base pay,” says Luft. “They’re looking at how much the company cares and when we deliver a benefit people actually use from anywhere, it means they show up to work happier. It’s this amazing domino effect.”