“Culture Is To Recruiting As Product Is To Marketing”: HubSpot’s Kat Warboys On Attracting & Retaining Top Talent

“Culture Is To Recruiting As Product Is To Marketing”: HubSpot’s Kat Warboys On Attracting & Retaining Top Talent
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In the lead-up to B&T’s inaugural Best of the Best awards, we’re sitting down with each of our sponsors to find out why they’ve decided to throw their support behind the event, and get their thoughts on what it takes to be the very best in your chosen field of expertise.

[Looking for the live stream of B&T’s Best of the Best awards? You’ve found it – click here!]

Here, we chat to Kat Warboys, marketing director for APAC at HubSpot…

Why did HubSpot decide to sponsor the first-ever Best of the Best awards?

We decided to support the Best of the Best awards because we believe getting recognition for great work is truly important. In Australia, our industry may be smaller than some of our international counterparts, but it is full to the brim with incredible talent producing amazing, innovative work every day. This talent, both established and rising, deserves recognition for their contribution to the industry and celebration for their success – which is exactly what the Best of the Best awards are for.

At HubSpot, our culture is one where personal and professional growth are just as important as business growth, and these values don’t stop internally. We’re committed to supporting the professional career development of the brightest minds in business, knowing that the more they are empowered to achieve individually, the more we achieve together as an industry.

What does it take to be the best at something? Are there a particular set of traits one must possess?

Our culture at HubSpot is driven by a shared passion for our mission and metrics. It is a culture of growth-minded people whose values include a shared commitment to solving for the customer. Employees who work at HubSpot have five key traits, which we summarise in the acronym HEART: humble, empathetic, adaptable, remarkable and transparent.

Having a growth mindset is something that’s extremely important when looking to advance your career, especially through learning. A principle of our team is ‘always be learning’. When you’re always learning, you’re constantly developing new skills to help you move forward in your career. Regardless of where you are in your career, learning will always be a valuable investment of your time and an asset to your future.

Has the way success is measured in the media and marketing industries evolved as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? And if so, how?

COVID-19 has forced brands to rethink the way they communicate with their customers. Customers have questions and, like businesses, their situations have changed. They’re looking to their trusted brands to help them navigate through this time. Good brands have recognised this and continued to respond over the past 18 months, offering relevant, helpful and educational information to help support their customers.

According to our State of Marketing report, marketing and leadership teams have turned the mic over to their customers, with the top tactics being social listening, followed by hashtags and live video. In 2021, eight in 10 companies said they were heavily investing in social media marketing, with 39 per cent planning to invest by the end of the year. Social media isn’t just about creating engaging content; it’s about meeting your customers where they are and adapting to how they are engaging with brands. This is how businesses can learn exactly how to support, engage with, and convert them into loyal brand advocates.

We’re also seeing businesses keeping customers informed on how they are changing their operating models, whether this change is to allow them to continue to operate under new restrictions, or adapting to survive. Customers want to hear and be able to interact with brands during these changing times. Businesses are learning to be receptive to their customers’ preferences and tailor their experience accordingly. Customers want hyper-personalised information, delivered via the channels that they prefer, which in some cases, is in the palm of their hands. The brands that are able to do this, focusing on helpful rather than promotional content, will benefit most.

We have a saying at HubSpot that you should always do right by your customers, even when it’s hard … especially when it is hard. During times of great economic uncertainty like we’re facing today with the ongoing restrictions across Australia, this may seem counterintuitive, but what you do during these hard times will define your business in the hearts of your customers. When we regain some sense of normalcy, consumers will remember which companies did right by their customers, and which didn’t, and so doing the right thing now is key to a business’ success in the future.

How does HubSpot ensure it attracts (and retains) top talent?

Culture is to recruiting as product is to marketing. At HubSpot, we try to avoid culture fit and instead hire for culture add, as we want new employees to challenge our culture with unique experiences, ideas, and backgrounds while still exemplifying our HEART values found in HubSpot’s Culture Code. Our culture is not tied to locations; it’s rooted in our values, our amazing people, and our mission of helping millions of organisations grow better. No one should need to come into an office to experience or enjoy HubSpot’s culture, because culture does not need four walls to thrive.

Our learning and development team kept our new hire NPS even higher during the pandemic than it was the year before, which is pretty remarkable. As we prepare to enter a world where the new hire experience will be truly hybrid (some people in person, some remote), we’ll be investing in a few key areas.

This includes providing more resources to educate new hires not just on our tech stack, but also on our communications stack and how to use Slack, email, Zoom and more, thoughtfully and inclusively. We’re also increasing the percentage of work that can be done asynchronously during onboarding, so new hires can work through the material at their own time during open windows. Being new can be daunting, so we go out of our way to ensure everyone feels heard, welcome, and has plenty of time to ask questions and build human connections.

Just as our mission at HubSpot is to help millions of organisations grow better, we’re committed to creating a culture where employees can grow better, too. As our Culture Code states: “With great people comes great responsibility. We believe in investing in lifelong learning.”

From our hands-on onboarding and the library of courses in our Learn@HubSpot online learning platform, to our manager ThinkSpaces and annual mini-MBA Fellows program, there are countless opportunities to develop soft and hard skills. People often say that working at HubSpot is like getting an MBA, every day, which shows that our dedication to learning is really felt by employees.

While we’ve done a lot to help employees at HubSpot manage stress and burnout during the pandemic, we recognise that this is a marathon, not a sprint. This is why we’ve introduced HubSpot Unplugged, a new movement driven by employee feedback. It includes three key components – a Global Week of Rest that took place in July, new mental health programming and a ‘no internal meeting Fridays’ to help combat Zoom fatigue and restore some of the Friday energy.

What advice do you have for those trying to separate themselves from the rest and reach the pinnacle of their career?

At HubSpot, we are fortunate enough to be known for the products we build (a CRM platform that provides marketing, sales, services, operations and website management software to help companies grow better) and our culture, thanks in part to our Culture Code and organisations like Glassdoor and Comparably for recognising us as a Best Place to Work.

But because we’re well known for our culture, our team is inundated with requests for informational interviews, and our recruiters are … well, busy, always. We recognise that we are extremely fortunate to be growing in a pandemic, so in true HubSpot transparency fashion, here are a few tips for standing out from the crowd in your career:

  • Be open to feedback: It’s no secret that collecting and analysing customer feedback can be highly valuable for improving your product or service. But it can also be invaluable for personal growth. Reflecting humility and adaptability when obtaining feedback can set you apart. But, without a healthy dose of feedback from the people around you every now and then, you’ll never get where you want to be in your career. Having your strengths and weaknesses sized up is motivating, and can give you the direction you need to move forward.
  • Think like a customer: Regardless of whether you’re in a customer-facing role, understanding how products are used, your company’s mission, and the market you serve is super-useful will help you develop the empathy and customer-centricity you need to thrive. The close you are to the customer journey, the better you can make future suggestions and innovations.
  • Always be learning: Never stop thinking. If your eyes and ears are always open, everything and everyone gives you an opportunity to learn. When you’re always learning, you’re setting yourself up for the success you’re striving for. Having a growth mindset is something that’s extremely important when looking to advance your career through learning. People who have a growth mindset believe that through training and hard work, their talents can be developed.

B&T’s inaugural Best of the Best awards, presented by Finecast, will be held on Friday 10 September at 4pm (AEST). Register HERE now to secure your free spot and get ready to celebrate!

And, if you’re looking to get in the awards spirit prior to kick-off on Friday, check out who made the Best of the Best shortlist, and give our interview with finalist and F1 star Daniel Ricciardo a read.

Once again, thanks to HubSpot and the rest of our fabulous sponsors for making B&T’s newest awards program possible!

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