A culture of open and honest feedback starts with setting the right goals, expectations and setting your team members and ultimately the organization up for success.
Media 7: Hi Jordan, thank you for your time! Please walk us through your long and inspirational professional journey. What made you choose this path?
Jordan Rinaldo: How I got into marketing was purely organic. It was a combination of my interest in building relationships with people, solving business problems and my interest in technology and the digital world that helped define my career path. After attending St.Fx University in Nova Scotia, where I studied political science, I had the opportunity to work for a growing payment solutions provider as an outbound sales representative selling point of sale and software solutions, over 12 years ago. As my first sales role, it was really sink or swim, but I had an innovative leader who taught me so much about the industry, client relations, sales strategy and work ethic that I quickly began to love it.
I realized right away that I loved speaking to different companies each day, learning about new problems and seeing how our product suite could help solve some or all of what they were being challenged by. Within a year, I started to shift out of my purely hunter sales role into a sales manager and I leaned heavy into the ecommerce space which is where I saw a huge opportunity. Companies were very quickly looking to build a digital presence to sell their product or services and they needed innovative technology to facilitate the secure payments. But it was more than just the payment solution that was interesting, it was everything else that was part of it. A well-built website, integrated shopping cart, website copy to make an engaging experience, custom imagery etc. The easy part was the payment solution, but the tough part was driving traffic to the site, building their brand online and getting people excited about what they are selling that really intrigued me.
It was at that time, a few years after I started my sales role that I had the opportunity to join a startup marketing agency in Toronto, Canada as the Director of Account Management and Marketing. I was the 4th founding member, and my focus was growing our MRR and client base. Working with businesses to develop a custom marketing solution to help grow their business, build their brand, increase overall awareness, launch a new product, you name it. We were a full-service marketing agency, and we had an amazing team. We quickly grew from 4 employees to over 25 within a couple of years, winning awards along the way and making a huge impact in the businesses of our clients and the industry. The agency life is no walk in the park. It is long hours, managing dozens of clients, juggling project timelines and managing teams (development, social, design, content strategy), but I wouldn’t be the marketer I am today without that experience. I recommend it for any new marketer, regardless of your discipline.
I was truly able to see the power of sales, and marketing and one day one of my clients approached me and asked if I would join their team as the Head of Marketing to help build their Go-to-market strategy and own their marketing function for their brand-new HR technology product/solution. I jumped at the opportunity to build a marketing team and GTM strategy from scratch. I reported directly to the CEO, who became an amazing mentor for me. Over two years we launched an outstanding HR technology product/solution supported by employee benefits to businesses across Canada. We made a big splash in the HR technology and employee benefits space and a few years after launching, we were acquired by one of Canada’s largest benefits brokers. I moved over to the enterprise firm as their AVP, Digital Marketing and Strategy and brought my experience and expertise to help their small marketing team develop essential marketing strategies, processes and tactical elements during a time where they really had no digital presence and brand awareness online.
After a couple years there, I was approached by Melita Group, an HR outsourcing firm to build their marketing team and strategy as their VP of Marketing. I was excited about this new challenge, and accepted the role, and it has been one of the best career decisions for me. Getting back into a small business, that is privately owned, passionate about their clients and employees, with a clear vision and values means so much for me right now. I’ve been at Melita for over a year, the marketing team is growing, and we’re excited about the impact we’re having with our clients and in the industry overall.
M7: Please tell us, how does Melita Group help small and midsize businesses improve their bottom-line productivity?
JR: Melita Group is an HR outsourcing company that has been supporting small and medium-sized businesses with their innovative and highly flexible total HR solution for the past 30 years. To put it simply, we give the employer flexibility through our out-of-the-box but highly configurable HR solution: which focuses on HR, benefits, payroll, and HR technology. We work directly with our clients to develop what we call a people foundation, a robust HR infrastructure that we build and manage that includes benefits plan design, compliance, risk mitigation, payroll admins & processing, benefits administration, onboarding, offboarding, development of HR policies and overall client support. The people foundation is developed, designed, implemented and managed by our team of specialists – (benefits, HR, payroll and HR technology) so that our clients can execute on the fundamentals of HR easily and stress free. With Melita, our clients get a team of experienced industry specialists that work directly with them every step of the way to ensure the most effective and efficient outcomes for their business and to ensure their people are healthy and happy. We are an extension of our clients business and a trusted partner for everything HR, benefits and payroll.
M7: How do you people outperform the competition when it comes to customer service?
JR: At Melita, we are completely focused on customer service and support. Our philosophy is rooted in the fact that we are an extension of our clients and truly are invested in the well-being of their people and the success of their business goals. It is one of the primary factors that enables us to deliver superior experiences to our customers. Our team is entrusted with scaling up and down our services and support in line with their business needs. If their business is undergoing a transition, or needs additional support in a certain area, we will be there to assist them. We're focused on driving results, and sometimes that means quickly adjusting the requirements of our team each month. We don’t simply look at our clients and check off a to-do list and treat every client the same. We build a team specifically based on the needs of each client, where each Melita specialist has a specific role and responsibility. Our clients know exactly who they need to coordinate with internally for onboarding or offboarding, changes in benefits, maintaining compliance, regulatory changes, etc. Another key element that differentiates us from our competitors is our proprietary technology called ‘My Melita’. It’s a client portal that connects all their disparate systems into one place—they can manage leaves, onboarding, offboarding, policies, incidents, benefit plans, and payroll. So, everything is in one place and it's a seamless and fast transition when they start working with Melita.
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Different people prefer different communication channels, so it's crucial to use a mix of channels to reach your target audience.
M7: Can you please tell us how Melita Group is creating a difference in the human resources industry?
I would say we try to make a difference in the industry by simply staying connected to our clients. Learning about their changing needs and looking for trends across our clients that can help us evolve our offering to better suite the changes in the market. Also, we really try to set our clients up for success without creating a sticky relationship. Some outsourcing companies make it difficult for clients to leave them because it’s better for their business and bottom line, but with Melita, we really focus on creating the right people foundation and process in order to set them up for long term success. Ultimately, we are trying to build a complete HR foundation in order for them to manage some or all of the processes in-house, if they choose to, without it being complicated to do so. We call it graduating from Melita, and that’s a goal for us. It means we’ve done our job well.
We truly focus on ensuring that our clients have the information, processes, services, and technology that they need to create a healthy work culture, and ensure their employees are happy, productive, and feel supported.
We like to take an approach that focuses on the overall health and wellness of the organization and their people. We take a lot of pride in being able to look after our clients helping create the right policies with the right programs, and, helping determine what types of tools they need, is, our responsibility as well.
M7: Could you elaborate on the influence of employee engagement and performance feedback on a company's culture?
Both play a big role in company culture and can be approached in a number of different ways. Ultimately, an engaged employee feels a sense of purpose and belonging and a commitment to the growth of their peers and the company. Willing to do their best and typically feel encouraged and supported to bring new ideas, be innovative, willing to collaborate with others and support a positive working environment. The more engaged your people are, and the more supported they feel – the more positive your company culture will be. But this needs to come from the top down. In my opinion, leading by example is what truly drives both of these elements of company culture. It starts with the executive team and is supported by the team leaders and managers. Saying one thing and supporting it by actions is what truly creates positive company culture.
Performance feedback is crucial – but it’s important to not just have one touch point. And what I mean by that is – as a manager or leader, it’s important to be clear on your team goals, company goals and individual goals at the beginning of the year, and whether you review that progress weekly, monthly or quarterly – there should be a sense of continued support and feedback throughout the year. Performance feedback that creates accountability with the team also creates a good culture where people feel like they're part of something where their performance is understood and appreciated. An annual review where the employee is completely caught off guard by a poor review, or the employee feels they were superior when their review reflects otherwise, is a failure by the manager…..
A culture of open and honest feedback starts with setting the right goals, expectations and setting your team members and ultimately the organization up for success.
M7: How does your organization develop an environment where everyone feels included and heard? How can diversity and inclusion help businesses and employees thrive?
Our company culture is driven by our core values. Our love for our customers, integrity, accountability, innovation and creativity, teamwork, wellness, and fun and humility. We apply these values to everything we do, and it's felt throughout the company. It's reinforced at company meetings, and is the basis for how we create content and build client relationships. Embodying these values is important, especially for new hires who should feel welcome as part of the team but also understand what drives the culture here and know right away we have a culture that gives them the freedom to be themselves, grow here and own their work. We want everyone to have a voice, and feel comfortable sharing that voice.
I believe it's very, very important to make sure that people feel included and supported. We encourage open communication on all levels here at Melita. We have multiple touchpoints each year outside of annual performance reviews where team members and their managers are encouraged and expected to discuss anything from mental health to their workload, new ideas, performance and goals, and everything in between. When it comes to DEI - I think it's vital to the success of the business and the health and wellness of the team to elevate DEI commitments in its mission, strategies and business practices. Every role should be filled by the best candidate and team member, regardless of their age, abilities or disabilities, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious beliefs or gender. The fact is that we are all looking to be a part of something that creates positive change in the world and that supports each other. I feel proud that we encourage and embody the individuality of each team member here at Melita.Additionally, to help encourage communication and to keep people feeling included and connected we schedule trivia events and team-building events, which have a big impact on engagement internally.
M7: Could you share your views on effective communication with your target audience when considering marketing in the human resources industry?
Effective communication with your target audience is integral. You should be communicating with your target audience where they want to be communicated with. It is essential to understand the characteristics and preferences of your target audience to develop a communication strategy that resonates with them. Conducting market research and gathering insights about their demographics, psychographics, pain points, and aspirations can help you craft messages that appeal to them.
Different people prefer different communication channels, so it's crucial to use a mix of channels to reach your target audience. Examples of channels in the HR industry could be social media, email marketing, webinars, conferences, networking events, and more. By using different channels, you can increase the likelihood of reaching your target audience.
Use language that is familiar and relevant. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that may not be well understood by your target audience. Instead of focusing solely on features of your product or service, emphasize the benefits that your target audience will gain from using your product or service. How will your offering help them achieve their goals or solve their pain points? Building relationships is also essential in the HR industry. Make sure to provide ongoing value through newsletters, educational content, ebooks, webinars and more. Effective communication with your target audience is all about building trust and credibility and making sure you are creating content which enforces that.
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Use language that is familiar and relevant. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that may not be well understood by your target audience.
M7: How and where do you think an HR firm should promote its offerings to potential clients to drive growth?
JR: I think HR companies should market their services through a number of different marketing channels. The goal is to create content that addresses your prospective clients paint points and challenges in various formats and let them consume it at their leisure, in the platform they want.In order to build demand, you must first understand the problems that your potential clients have and creating that content in various forms, ideally to lead them to your solution through their own journey.
Paid advertising is also a great way to promote your offering whether it’s through paid social, content offer ads, newsletter promotions, promoted case studies, sliders, and single image ads can be very useful to increase overall brand awareness as well as promote your offering to your potential clients where they are already searching for information.
Networking is also a huge part of building relationships. Conferences, lunch and learns, trade shows, and other events to network with potential clients and industry professionals is important and is a huge part of building trust and awareness with your ideal customer profile.
M7: How did your organization tackle the challenges and opportunities of remote work during and after the pandemic?
JR: I think for us, we've embraced it. We were about 50% remote prior to the pandemic, so we were already trending towards being a fully remote organization. The biggest adjustment was the way that we approached and communicated with each other, the way our meetings were structured, and the way that we set our goals and managed our projects or tasks. A significant portion of this involved ensuring that we had the appropriate technologies in place, such as Microsoft Teams or Microsoft Planner to manage projects and tasks. Also using a secure storage tool like Box to ensure that everyone has access to the appropriate files remotely.
We also offer work-from-home benefits and allowances to reduce financial stress and collect employees' feedback on their needs. It's all about implementing amazing procedures, having great communication, being proactive, and thinking about what's going on in the business, our industry, economy, and the world.
We are working to ensure that our employees feel supported, have a voice, a place to feel successful, and want to be part of a company with a higher purpose, which is again, taking care of our clients, their people, and their families.
M7: Please tell us more about your company’s vision and the innovation it aims to bring to the industry globally?
JR: Our focus is always to be innovating and growing our solution to better serve our clients, their people and make a positive impact on the industry as a whole. We are continually looking for new partnerships, and new products that will allow our clients to better serve their employees, their families and hit their business goals. Our focus is to expand our services and solutions to businesses worldwide, both in the US and abroad, and to innovate as the workplace landscape changes
That means staying on top of the latest solutions and technology to help organizations expand and care for their employees more efficiently and effectively, and designing and supporting policies and services to assist firms in better managing remote work. We also want to ensure we are innovating in areas like diversity and inclusion, mental health, compensation and benefits, payroll, compliance and the latest in technology.
For the last 30 years we have been successful by caring about our clients, providing unmatched support and service, developing market leading technology and staying connected to our clients and the market. We will continue to do so with an increased focus on building solutions that support the individual needs of the employees, the growth goals of the business, the policies and compliance requirements for the modern workforce and make sure that we do this in a way that has a big and immediate impact for our clients.