MarTech Interview with Tom Libretto, Chief Marketing Officer at Workhuman

Do B2B marketing and sales leaders need to revisit how they build out their teams and hire resources to drive B2B growth? Tom Libretto, Chief Marketing Officer, Workhuman has some pointers that can help:


Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Tom, tell us about your time as CMO at Workhuman and more about your marketing journey through the years…

My journey with Workhuman has only just begun but, since starting, the team has given me everything I need to step into my role and immediately contribute to this dynamic organization that has been leading workplace transformation for more than 20 years.

Previously, I held the role of CMO for Pegasystems, where I developed and led a large and diverse global marketing operation that helped fuel Pega’s growth. Throughout my career, I’ve helped scale global tech brands like IBM and Nokia, and I look forward to applying those past learnings and successes at Workhuman. We’re in a dynamic period right now as HR and business leaders face some of the greatest challenges of their times. So, keep an eye out as we continue furthering our mission of creating more human workplaces and accelerating our own growth objectives.

When it comes to hiring for marketing teams today; especially in B2B, what are some of the core nuances you feel leaders/managers need to focus on?

Marketing, and in particular B2B marketing, has always required agility, and the importance of that characteristic has been amplified by the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has levied across every industry, at every company, and in every department. Customer pre and post acquisition behaviours are continually shifting. Channel preferences change routinely. Event marketing, which used to be a predominant part of the B2B marketing mix, has now pivoted. Change, as they say is the constant, so marketing leaders should be looking for marketing minds that can adapt, boldly ideate, and execute creative solutions to excite and engage their audiences, and bring to the table a balance of creativity and a strong analytical mindset.

Equally important is the reality that leaders and their organizations need to be flexible as well, particularly when it comes to our new reality of how we work. Candidate and employee requirements have shifted significantly over the years and, as leaders and managers continue to grow their teams, they must focus on meeting these new needs. With that, as remote and hybrid work grows, it’s even more critical to ensure human connection remains at the forefront of the hiring process and continues throughout the employee experience.

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Building out strong marketing, sales and other customer-facing teams today largely depends on the team’s tech capabilities when it comes to boosting online/offline experiences. What do you feel C-level executives across these functions need to do today to drive how they hire better?

The importance of technology has pervaded every aspect of an organization’s operation, including recruitment and hiring practices, as well as the skills we look for in potential employees. And, as many companies remain remote and hybrid, technology has proven instrumental in this new way of working. Leaders should be looking for potential hires that are themselves comfortable using technology that can help them be as effective in their future role as possible. However, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of what technologies or applications a prospect is or isn’t proficient in. When building out strong go-to-market teams, C-level executives across these functions must focus on more than just tech skills; they need to focus on the whole human and the human experience.

Understanding the interviewee is more than their resume can help make it easier to connect them with the company culture early on in the process. Going a step further, execs should be sure to keep up with new hires even after they have exited the interview process and entered the workplace. Interestingly, new hires that are recognized early on in their positions are 5x less likely to leave within their first year.

Listening to what the employee wants can also help improve the human experience of it all. According to Workhuman data, 60% of employees said flexible working schedules was top of the list for what they wanted their companies to provide. Recognition of the whole human and what they want out of their workplace is important to hiring as well as retaining employees.

Can you share a few thoughts on some common hiring mistakes you see often in B2B and also, a few that you’ve made along the way?

Some common hiring mistakes I often see in B2B, and have been guilty of myself in the past, are:

  • Being overly swayed by the brand a candidate has recently worked for. Just because someone worked for a well-respected brand, or is being recruited from an admired competitor, does not mean they’re the right skill or culture fit for your team or organization. Attempt to understand the role they played (or didn’t) in the success of their prior employers.
  • Not getting to know the human behind the resume. Domain knowledge and proficiency are important, but sometimes hiring managers can get too caught up in the CV of a person and forget to evaluate the prospect against the company’s culture. Make sure they are aligned on the company goals and mission. Especially for purpose-driven companies, like Workhuman, a new hire will not be successful here if they don’t share the same passion for building a better workplace as the rest of us.
  • Acknowledging your own unconscious bias: Diversity of thought and perspective informed by race, sexual identity, geographic, and other experiential diversity generates vibrancy in the workplace. It enables an organization to deliver their best work as they themselves become more representative of the audiences they are trying to reach and engage. Identifying our own individual bias and consciously combating them helps us avoid them creeping into our hiring decisions.

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How do you feel B2B teams need to cope to maintain the right resource balance?

Workers are experiencing high levels of stress, burnout and insecurity. In fact, 21.8% of workers have had co-workers laid off and 19.5% have felt less secure about their job. The two things that employers must do to combat increasing attrition are 1) strengthen the connection between employees and their managers, and 2) provide significantly more recognition and gratitude across their workforce. According to Workhuman’s July Human Workplace Index, 28.9% of workers surveyed wanted more frequent check-ins, illustrating that need for connection and transparency. Frequent check-ins are key to keeping a pulse on how employees are feeling to ensure quick adjustments can be made to retain great talent. In addition, say ‘thank you’ more often. According to a Gallup/Workhuman report, new hires that are recognized early on in their positions are 5x less likely to leave within their first year.

Some last thoughts and marketing/martech takeaways before we wrap up!

This is an exciting time for marketers. Challenges brought on by the pandemic, rapidly changing discovery and buying dynamics across every sector, and a robust, if not chaotic, technology landscape, have accelerated the pace of change in every corner of the marketing department. Amidst that change lies tremendous opportunity for companies that use this time to revisit and reaffirm their purpose, reassess how they work and how they get work done, and develop holistic strategies for leveraging technology to their strategic advantage to connect within themselves and within the markets they serve as humans.

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Workhuman®, revolutionizes the way employees celebrate, connect with, and appreciate each other in the workplace,

Tom Libretto is a veteran technology marketing executive, newly hired as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), based out of Workhuman’s Framingham headquarters. Libretto brings nearly 20 years of global marketing experience and has a successful record of leading large, diverse global teams that continuously deliver breakthrough marketing and business outcomes.

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