We’re so excited to introduce you to Rob Catalano.
Rob is Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer of WorkTango, an industry leader in employee experience technology. In 2020, Rob was named one of the Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencers. He’s spoken about employee wellness in 40+ countries, loves coaching from an HR perspective, and generally gets a buzz out of helping leaders “make work lives better.” He’s the creator of a popular conference called Innovate Work that gathers HR folks with the intent of seeing them inspired, educated, and engaged.
WorkTango serves customers in 40+ languages in 100+ countries. With an impressive 97% customer retention rate, a perfect 100%, 5/5 customer rating, and an 82 net promoter score, it’s safe to say that they know a thing or two about creating great company culture and offering superior service.
Q&A with Work Tango Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer, Rob Catalano
Work Tango: We’re so excited to have you, Rob. Will you start by telling us a bit about your background?
Rob: I’m a marketer by trade–that’s where my training is. Through university and after, I was working at a small marketing agency, where I was spending a day a week in my clients’ offices. These were enterprise companies whose names we would all recognize. As I visited, I was really surprised to find that these people were miserable. They dreaded coming to work. They spoke negatively about their companies. Just starting my journey in the workplace, that was pretty sad and shocking to me.
So, I got curious.
I had learned so much about using customer data to drive progress, and I couldn’t understand why we weren’t doing that same thing to try to understand employees. Pretty quickly, I began to see that, for me, working with employees was a more purposeful journey than working directly with customers.
I left the marketing agency and headed for a small HR tech company. I was there in the very early stages with the founding team, and we grew it for 10 years. By the time I left, we were up to several hundred employees. I led marketing, spent a lot of time advising customers, and headed our global expansion in the UK. And I was so, so passionate about the work.
I’d found my focus: making the workplace better. I wanted to build technology that connects and enables people.
At the end of the day, I want to have fun. I want to enjoy myself. And I believe that if people get that at work, it translates into their personal lives.
So the next step was co-founding the original WorkTango, which used to focus only on surveys and insights prior to expanding into the holistic employee experience platform it is today.
Work Tango: What’s the high-level look at WorkTango’s origin story?
Rob: We started by crafting a passion statement: “Improve (work) lives.” We don’t believe in mission statements, because missions end—but passion is everlasting, and we wanted to make our passions clear to our employees and the world… while standing out at the same time.
We figured, we gather all this data for customers, right? Trying to improve their experience, anticipate their next steps, understand what motivates them, etc. And I saw the potential for what could happen if we started doing the same thing, but for employees.
When we first started WorkTango, companies weren’t getting enough employee data to make good decisions about their people. Most leaders didn’t have the tools or information they needed to build a better experience for their employees.
So, we created employee voice technology, which gives business leaders the opportunity to “listen” to their employees by asking for feedback consistently, and letting that data inform their people’s strategy.
A big part of the equation was also leveraging that data in more useful ways. Our discussions with HR leaders was that they wanted to stop being a filter to employee feedback, but rather enable leaders with real-time insights. We made it a reality to nudge leaders with recommended learnings and actions specific to their teams to make it meaningful for each leader, while allowing HR to focus on company-wide thematic issues.
Work Tango: How do you think that listening to employees, and building strong company culture, impacts bottom line business success?
Rob: For every company, success depends on shareholder value and customer satisfaction. But the reality is that those are outputs, and they can’t be changed overnight.
What you can shift pretty quickly are the inputs–the investments you make that influence employee behavior. There’s abundant evidence that when you build the right kind of employee experience, you impact employee behaviors, which ultimately impacts customer satisfaction, shareholder value, and so on.
I don’t see any way you can build a successful business without prioritizing employee experience. When you change the inputs, different outputs follow. It’s that simple, but unfortunately many companies aren’t run this way—yet.
Work Tango: So how did you come together with the legacy Kazoo?
Rob: WorkTango was growing, and we were doing very well. But we were growing through an atypical approach–completely bootstrapped with no financing, no investors, nothing. We had arrived at the point where executing the broader vision and making a bigger difference in work lives was going to require us to really push the gas.
So when we were approached by legacy Kazoo, we knew it was right.
It became clear to us that, combined with the legacy Kazoo platform, we were uniquely positioned to have a category-defining moment. There aren’t many examples of companies that can provide a world-class employee listening system, performance management, and recognition and rewards all at once. That’s an exciting place to be. But the bottom line though was the people factor. When we got together with the folks at Kazoo, we saw that our eyes lit up over the same things. Kazoo’s mission statement was “Make work better.” WorkTango’s is “Improve (work) lives.” Similar, right? We really do care about building better workplaces. We want to see that happen here and beyond.
Work Tango: What’s something that excites you most about the combined new company?
Rob: Building a great employee experience starts with listening. So adding the employee voice element to the legacy Kazoo platform gave customers a much better starting point to build and manage their employee experience.
It means being able to easily collect employee feedback, process it instantly, and get it into the hands of leaders–fast. That’s huge. But, data is only as good as what you do with it. Our system provides leaders with individualized recommendations for learning and action based on the responses of their teams. We’re enabling managers to make smart changes that will directly affect the employee experience.
Work Tango: Last question: What do you think is the future of HR / the employee experience space as a whole?
Rob: First, the employee experience space isn’t going away. What we’re about to see happen is a lot of consolidation—more mergers and acquisitions, more platforms that can do everything instead of one specific functionality. And that will be good, because the ability to have more pieces all in one place makes it easier for employees to actually use the technology.
Second, we’re in the midst of some pretty huge cultural change. Organizations can no longer do what they’ve always done. If companies aren’t embracing new technology to support the employee experience, they’re already falling behind.
At WorkTango, we’re revolutionizing how the world’s most forward-thinking companies engage and inspire their people. We offer the only Employee Experience Platform that enables meaningful recognition and rewards, supports alignment through goal setting and feedback, and offers actionable insights through employee surveys.
WorkTango is built for the workplace we all want to be a part of – where priorities become clear, achievements are celebrated, and employees have a voice. So if you’re ready to improve (work) lives, schedule a demo today.