Communications Expert Courtney Culmer Will Help You Design Your Organization, Here’s How

Communications Expert Courtney Culmer Will Help You Design Your Organization, Here’s How

As a woman-owned business in a technical space, Uplevel Communications is a key player in cultivating the marketing and communications ecosystem. The determined team of seven is helping organizations and talent fill gaps in an age where “The Great Resignation” is fleeting and the freelance market is oversaturated.

In 2022, about 50.5 million people quit their jobs, beating out the 47.8 million in 2021, according to Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey data. But “The Big Quit” emerged as early as 2021.

Since the pandemic, remote work has grown exponentially, expanding local and national market opportunities. In fact, in 2022, annual earnings by U.S. freelancers grew by $100 million, now totaling $1.3 trillion.

With such an oversaturated market, how do experienced contract workers and businesses develop mutually beneficial working relationships?

“Regardless of any constraints you’re facing, we can help you create and staff your organization in a way that will help you get done what you need to get done so that your stakeholders are satisfied,” Courtney Culmer, an HBCU grad, a veteran communications professional, and the founder of Uplevel, told BLACK ENTERPRISE.

A member of the 2022 Google Startup for Black Founders Fund class, Culmer believes every single company should invest in marketing and communications. Her own corporate background in marketing communications and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) catalyzed her to create a two-sided talent marketplace that connects companies with a more inclusive project-based talent pool of knowledgeable communications contractors.

“When we talk about that growing pool of talent, you just have to acknowledge the time we’re in now. It was a year ago, maybe, where it was the Great Resignation, and everybody’s empowered, they’re stepping away,” Culmer recalled. “We’re connecting you with opportunities, and now you can be a little bit more selective and pick the opportunities you want.”

So many variables factor into the hiring process, and Uplevel streamlines it by finding, sourcing, hiring, and working with talent. Whether you’re seeking to fill short- or long-term projects, Culmer dropped some valuable tips on how to design your organization effectively amid the evolution of the online job marketplace.

Augment your staff

Culmer, who has more than a decade of experience as an internal employee, is well aware of the challenges internal organizations face when looking to fill a gap in their teams.

The tech sector in particular has been affected by massive layoffs. A recent MarketWatch analysis showed that nearly 200,000 workers in the tech industry have lost their jobs since the start of 2023.

As a result, Culmer told BE, this record of layoffs puts people “into some type of holding pattern while they are trying to figure out what’s next.”

She continued, “At the core of it is that internal organizations are incredibly lean. They are being pushed to do more and more with less.”

How does Uplevel fill in the gaps on more of a temporary basis to help you stay afloat, keep things moving forward, and not miss a step even if you have headcount constraints?

To start, the company partnered with executive search/talent recruiting firm Mission + Cause to expand access to an extensive database of diverse talent, from full-time, long-term placements to interim freelancers and contractors needed to fill critical workforce gaps.

“What this partnership allows is a more seamless and a more fluid process. Today you have a headcount freeze, but we can give you some contractors. Then in three months, six months, 12 months, the economy shifts, and you’re ready to fill some full-time roles. We have that expertise in that space, too. So it’s a more comprehensive offering,” Culmer explained.

Think long-term

The power of staff augmentation transcends outsourcing strategy. Considering the future of work, it is vital to think ahead and create systems that will propel your company’s trajectory. Culmer may not think that the future of work will solely be a gig economy, but she encourages companies to find a way to leverage this labor market.

“Start thinking long-term of how this strategically benefits you from an efficiency lens, through a cost-effectiveness lens, and so on and so forth,” she advises.

“There’s still value in having people who really have skin in the game, who buy into your culture, who are able to fill a seat and understand the nuance of the company and the tone and all of those pieces to it, but that can also fit into a gig economy model as well.”

Culmer says she has always been passionate about mentoring young women in business and paving the way for the next generation of talent. To that end, she is also thinking long-term and wants to establish a mentorship program for underrepresented students who want to work in the marketing communications field.