A new hiring platform for Republican campaigns and job seekers launched last week as the industry is increasingly focused on professionalizing its work environments and HR practices as a way to attract and retain talent.
On the left, this trend has taken the shape of successfully unionization efforts at the DNC, on presidential efforts, down-ballot campaigns, and political firms. While organized labor is unlikely to make similar inroads in GOP campaigns and shops, the same grievances that drove workers to organize are still present. On the right, though, new entities are popping up in response.
Revered, which officially launched Jan. 20, is hoping to carve out a niche as a kind of professional employer organization (PEO) for campaigns. It’s started by offering services that include connecting prospective hires to employers, and then if an operative is hired through the platform, adding onboarding human-resources materials to the package.
“The people that are doing the hiring on all of these political campaigns are all political operatives or they’re general consultants. They’re not HR specialists,” Nathan Calvert, Revered’s founder, told C&E.
“What we’re trying to provide is just a very basic toolkit for every campaign that uses our service. If you hire through us, your staffers will get sexual harassment training, workplace ethics training, they’ll get a 1-800 hotline that if anything occurs in the office they’ll be able to reach out to and call. And they’ll have NDAs [non-disclosure agreements] that are state issued to sign.
“It’s astonishing at how many campaigns don’t offer all three of those things.”
Calvert’s goal is to also offer things available to small businesses through PEOs such as payroll services and benefits, including health and retirement. “The end goal here is that you will be able to see everything that you need to see about an operative through Revered. You’ll be able to hire that person through Revered appropriately. And then hopefully, as this progresses, we’re hoping that we can move” into offering things like payroll services, health insurance and retirement benefits.
Calvert, who started his career on campaigns in Mississippi, also wants to help the GOP track the trajectory of its operatives’ careers, something he noted is lacking in an industry that treats talent like seasonal workers.
“I could run a state senate campaign, spend a million dollars and no one from the party ever contacts me again. You just disappear into the [ether],” said Calvert. “By creating these profiles that have your picture, have your location, have your willingness to move, we’re able to learn who works for us.
“We don’t know who works for us, and we don’t follow them very well from job to job at all. And we run these campaigns every two years.”
As Revered grows, Calvert expects the startup, which is backed by the incubator Startup Caucus, will be able to track where people have worked geographically, but also their progression from canvassing to managing state senate campaigns to managing congressional campaigns to working on a national campaign committee. Meanwhile, for employers, he said, “you’re going to be able to go out and search individually for what you’re looking for while at the same time you’re receiving resumes.”
He added: “We’re doing a bad job of retaining the talent. We’re losing them to non-profits, we’re losing them to the private sector.”
And in a competitive election cycle, staffing could make the difference between winning and losing.
“There are plenty of candidates that have won elections that are bad candidates. They won because they had great teams, and vice versa. There’s been really good candidates that lose because they have terrible teams,” Calvert said. “There’s definitely some proof of that.”