Meet Kazoo’s Chief Strategy Officer, Rob Catalano

Kazoo News 4 min read

We’re so excited to introduce you to Rob Catalano!

Rob is Kazoo’s new Chief Strategy Officer, and co-founder of WorkTango, an industry leader in employee voice 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 Kazoo Chief Strategy Officer, Rob Catalano

Kazoo: We’re so excited to have you, Rob! Can 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 enabled 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 WorkTango.

Kazoo: 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 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.

Kazoo: 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.

Kazoo: So how did you come together with 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 Kazoo, we knew it was right.

Read the story:
Work Just Got Better: Kazoo Acquires WorkTango

WorkTango logo plus Kazoo logo

Read now

It became clear to us that, with Kazoo, 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 is “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 at Kazoo and beyond.

Kazoo: What’s something that excites you most about Kazoo? And on the flip side, what are you really excited to bring to Kazoo?

Rob: Building a great employee experience starts with listening. So adding the employee voice element to the existing Kazoo platform will give 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.

Kazoo: 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.

Learn more about Kazoo

At Kazoo, we’re passionate about bringing together all the tools you need to make work work better for everyone. That’s why the Kazoo Employee Experience Platform brings performance management and recognition and rewards — including Goals, Feedback, Conversations, Recognition, Incentives, and more — into one simple, easy-to-use platform.

If you’re ready to align, connect, and engage your workplace, check out our Kazoo overview. Or, schedule a personalized demo today.

Learn more