Chris DeMeo is Vice President of Customer Acquisition, Retention and Advocacy at Workhuman, the Framingham-based social recognition and continuous improvement management platform. Chris is no stranger to the Massachusetts marketing community, and his entrepreneurial mindset, deep ability to connect people and strategies, and passion for serial problem solving has resulted in a track record of success launching and growing brands. He has extensive experience owning national sales initiatives and scaling brands across Marketing, Merchandising, E-Commerce, Supply Chain, Corporate Mergers & Acquisitions, and Sales Strategy and Operations functions.
We had the chance to sit down with Chris to discuss his new role and his approach to solving tough business challenges.
What drew you to the opportunity at Workhuman?
I’ve always had a personal drive and found a sense of purpose in coaching and developing people to achieve their full professional potential. This sense of purpose aligned perfectly to the mission of Workhuman. As I reflected on the next phase of my career, I wanted to find a close connection between that purpose and my professional work.
What’s unique about the Customer Marketing team at Workhuman?
We are the leader in social recognition. We are high growth, collaborative, and whole-self oriented. It’s so exciting for a marketer to have an exceptionally strong brand with global opportunity. These factors combined make Customer Marketing at Workhuman a unique, special, and exciting place
How do you keep yourself motivated when facing tough business challenges?
There’s a saying – you can be frustrated, or you can be fascinated by a challenge. I operate with a mindset of “being fascinated.” I think it’s fun to get to tackle tough challenges with the smart and thoughtful teams here at Workhuman. We are building the future of work, and with that as our ultimate goal, no challenge is insurmountable.
How do you approach giving and receiving feedback in the workplace?
As a principle, I believe feedback is ongoing vs. something that happens once a year. I believe feedback is a two-way street and should be balanced between the company’s goals and the employee’s professional development and growth ambitions. With that as context, I see feedback as an ongoing conversation throughout the year focused on both current and future strengths. In practical terms, it should be immediate, relevant, and expressed from a place of compassion.
Why is this approach to feedback so important?
This approach reflects partnership between the manager and the employee relative to the employee’s ongoing growth and goals. It drives greater accountability toward results. Increasing the frequency of feedback creates trust and changes the dynamic around giving/getting feedback from something that is scary and uncomfortable, to a more positive and ongoing conversation.
In a recent study conducted by our Workhuman Research and Analytics Institute, we found that employees who check in weekly with their manager as opposed to never were 5X less likely to be disengaged, and twice as likely to believe that they can grow in the organization.
What are you most excited for in 2020?
Building the Workhuman brand globally. This encompasses bringing our momentum from Workhuman Live US to Europe, expanding the Marketing organization and creating growth opportunities for our team, and getting to welcome new talent. We’re tackling all of this while continuing to grow the business at scale and introduce exciting, innovating, and market leading products.
What’s one daily habit you’ve formed that has helped you grow your career?
Having a plan and setting goals. Every week I set out a short list of what we need to accomplish in the business, and what I need to accomplish personally to feel fulfilled outside of work. Plans can and will change, but having goals keeps me focused and is a great mechanism for achieving that which matters most to me across work and home life.
What are you most passionate about (or proud of) outside of work?
There are two things for me, first is my family and the support system that comes from the strength of our relationships. I am proud that I can consider myself a good husband, father, brother, and son.
Additionally, my work and board memberships with non-profit organizations like Boy and Girls Club and Junior Achievement. The ability to give back to these community organizations dedicated to helping at-risk kids has enabled me to translate my skills and experiences from the business world to driving impact in the communities that have given so much to me.
What advice would you give someone looking to grow their career in a Customer Marketing role?
The best advice I can give is to think about how any role fits into the bigger picture narrative you want to build for your career. I think the first and most important question to answer for yourself is what inspires you, and what roles, brands, companies, and work experiences will best feed that. For me, it’s the incredible and resonating work we do here at Workhuman.
Workhuman has experienced tremendous growth. Are you still increasing your local workforce?
We’re expanding our Customer Marketing team here in Framingham, so if bringing more humanity to the workplace and growing a brand globally is compelling to you, I’d encourage them to reach out and explore our opportunities.