Despite the economic turmoil of the past year, e-commerce was one of the few industries that flourished. With the combination of social distancing, remote work and increased time spent online, e-commerce companies experienced a massive swell of business; the U.S. e-commerce industry alone grew 44 percent in 2020. 



Talent teams across industries were forced to adapt their strategies and processes to meet the demands of the newly virtual world. Leaders at e-commerce companies faced this challenge in addition to rapidly growing hiring needs; headcount must grow in order to sustain business growth.

Built In Chief Marketing Officer Sheridan Orr sat down with two experts for an exclusive look into the working lives of talent leaders at major e-commerce companies. Jonathan Kehoe, Director of Technical Recruiting & Employer Branding at Wayfair, and Phillip Reese, Director, Talent Acquisition at Chewy, shared their best practices, learnings, and projections for the future of talent acquisition and management.

Below are three key takeaways from the discussion. To learn more and unlock additional insights, download the full-length recording now.


1. Retention and attrition are part of the hiring process, and culture is always a driver for both.

As the economy starts to turn, the world begins to open up and we have our sights set on the “new normal,” there’s a sense of urgency around hiring the right people. However, employers everywhere are also aware of the looming post-pandemic surge in turnover. Reese cautioned against scaling recruitment too quickly and urged talent leaders to consider the why — both in terms of their hiring goals and company culture on a broader scale. 

“Retention is always a reflection of who you're hiring, and why you're hiring,” said Reese. “Culture transcends where you sit physically — it's the DNA of what you're about. I think culture operating principles and things of that nature need to continue to be a common thread regardless of work structure and engagement modeling.” 

Reese pointed out that the problems of retention and attrition are company-wide initiatives that need the support of multiple internal teams. “Many different branding and culture nuances will come into play and I think that goes for TA, talent management, HR — it's a shared responsibility in terms of how you address it.” 




2. In a virtual world with remote recruitment processes, over-indexing on your employer brand is essential.

One of the most critical disadvantages of remote recruitment is that candidates cannot experience your company culture as intimately as they once could with in-office interviews. Kehoe explained that rebranding to account for this deficit in human interaction was a key focus for the Wayfair TA team over the past year, and is guiding how they move forward. 

“We've had to figure out how to brand our culture, not differently, but over-index on branding the culture a little bit more, simply because you're just not going to absorb it by spending time with us [remotely],” explained Kehoe. 

Kehoe went on to explain that a remote interview panel is not representative of your company and the culture amongst all employees. “We've largely tried to focus on those things and make sure that in a virtual world, our virtual interview process still gives people — to the extent possible — a clear understanding of who we are, how we work and what it looks and feels like to work here.”


3. Your benefits package should be constantly evolving. For insight as to how, turn to your employees.

The seemingly endless changes to our personal and professional lives has caused these two talent leaders to take an adaptive approach to their companies’ benefits offerings. Kehoe’s team specifically bolstered offerings in support of mental health in response to pandemic-posed challenges and employee sentiment.

“You've been stuck inside for a year and a half, you don't get to see your friends, your family and your loved ones — that has an impact,” said Kehoe. “That I think is something which has been obvious to us, but has [also] been voiced by our employees through quarterly employee pulse surveys.”

Also stressing the importance of listening to employees, Reese pointed to micro-changes to benefits as a key area of opportunity. “Mandatory days off or no-meeting days, things that may seem subtle or simple, but could be massively impactful to allow someone to just step away.”

Reese also emphasized market intel as a factor for an evolving employee benefits package and critical strategy for being a competitive employer. However, Reese brought it back to branding: “We try to make sure that employees are taken care of and that we present the [same] brand internally that we do externally.” 

For more insights on branding, benefits, and hiring through rapid growth, download the full-length webinar recording now.









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