Signal Theory, an independent branding and design firm, has been named an award recipient of Ad Age’s Best Places to Work 2024. The annual list, curated by Ad Age, spotlights 50 advertising, marketing and digital companies that excel in fostering a positive workplace culture, providing exceptional benefits and prioritizing employee development.
This national accolade from Ad Age, a global media brand publisher, reaffirms Signal Theory’s commitment to a human-centered approach in both its work and workplace. Fueled by transparency to its employees, the company is dedicated to creating a supportive and empowering environment, which sets them apart in an industry known for its dynamism and competitiveness.
“Receiving the The Best Places to Work 2024 recognition from Ad Age is a significant achievement for our firm and employees,” says Jim Vranicar, chief operating officer at Signal Theory. “We are proud to offer a workplace where Kansas City, Wichita and remote employees can find joy, comfort and meaning in many shapes and forms from the work we do for our clients to irresistible benefits like sabbaticals and pawternity leave.”
The Ad Age Best Places to Work 2024 competition is open to North American agencies, ad tech firms, data and research firms, brand or corporate marketing departments or groups and marketers’ in-house agencies.
Ad Age partners with Best Companies Group, an independent research firm that ranks companies based on established research methodology. To create the list of winners, they examine each company’s practices, programs, benefits and questionnaire responses in conjunction with implementing and analyzing survey responses from the firm’s employees.
“Our management philosophy is to have a balanced focus on our people, clients and the work we create for our clients’ brands. To stay accountable, we use a scorecard to manage our business called the 4Gs. All our decisions ladder up to how we are creating Great Work, Great Relationships, Growth and a Great Place to Work. We put the human in the center of each G and when we can keep each in balance, that’s when the magic happens,” Vranicar adds.
Signal Theory focuses their internal initiative around three key strategies in which they believe to be their secret sauce to employee retention – leadership transparency, a feedback culture initiative and enhanced diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
1. Leadership Transparency
Signal Theory has done the work so employees know where the company is heading, and they can have intentional conversations about why decisions are made. After hearing from employees that career path development was a priority, agency leaders built skills matrices for each position at the firm and now annually share their salary administration and staff promotions processes with all employees to help them better understand how they can further develop their career at Signal Theory.
2. Feedback Culture Initiative
Going beyond yearly reviews, Signal Theory created a Feedback Culture Initiative which provides employees with timely, actionable and job-specific information they can use to enhance their performance, create a better career path and increase their connectedness. Elements of this initiative include a Connected Manager training program for all managers, manager performance evaluations to rate how well managers are connecting with employees and intentional career-pathing – all in an effort to build healthier relationships with direct reports.
3. Enhanced Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts
Since 2020, Signal Theory has more fully committed to diversifying its staff. The firm revamped its hiring process and developed equity and inclusion measures for current employees, which has helped fuel a 70% increase in the percentage of BIPOC employees at the firm. Signal Theory’s employee-led resource group called “Babes Helpin’ Babes” exists to empower systematically marginalized employees, provide space for continued education and honest discussion and tackle topics like ageism, race relations and proper pronoun usage.
“At Signal Theory, we believe that our people are our greatest asset,” Vranicar continues. “If our employees were to write books about their careers, we hope that Signal Theory is a chapter about how they had the opportunity to be the best versions of themselves while employed here.”
To see the full list of 2024 Ad Age’s Best Place to Work winners, visit https://adage.com/2024-best-places-to-work.