2012 Game Changer: Danielle Dorter

Human resources director, ID Media Inc., New York

November 29, 2012

While many human resources directors see themselves as talent recruiters, Danielle Dorter of ID Media Inc. is viewed as a talent "protector" by her colleagues at the advertising/public relations and marketing firm. She sums up her philosophy this way: "If an employee can't see a path for him or herself, a great recruiter at another company can."

That approach led Dorter, 37, to develop a series of initiatives designed to identify and retain top talent, including Open Options, a program that allows employees to explore career paths in different departments at monthly leadership development workshops; Generations in the Workplace, a program to improve understanding and communications among employees; and Shout Out, a social media feature that encourages employees to praise their colleague's good work.

"People here are encouraged to throw their hat in the ring, without feeling scared that they'll be retaliated against," Dorter says of Open Options.

As for the generational workshops, Dorter was struck by the fact that there are four generations working together at ID Media, which has offices in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

"We have folks from the World War II generation, boomers, Gen X and millennials, so there are a lot of challenges with how they view each other. About 65 percent are millennials but most of these companies are run by boomers who will be retiring, leaving Gen X in charge."

Since Dorter joined ID Media in 2010, the company has been recognized for its innovative workplace culture, including several Best Places to Work awards from Workforce sister publication Crain's New York Business. But the job is not without challenges.

"The talent out there is not always the talent you want," Dorter says. "We are a niche agency. People in advertising think, 'I'm a good writer, I can do that.' But we need people who are good with numbers and can think strategically. I don't look for people who are motivated to do a job. I want people who want to do this job."

Rita Pyrillis is Workforce's senior writer. Comment below or email

Workforce Management, December 2012, p. 24 -- Subscribe Now!