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Unstoppable Force

In Focus
NAME:Joseph Liberatore
POSITION:President & CEO
As the business world adapts to a ‘new normal’, solutions firm Kforce hasn't missed a beat, harnessing innovation to not only further strengthen its strategic partnerships but also its own working model. President and CEO Joseph Liberatore believes attracting and retaining talent has never been more important.

Relationships are the arterial roads of the business landscape. When there’s a solid relationship in place, it’s much easier to make things happen and get from point A to point B. Technology and social media have made building business relationships easier than ever, but as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, face-to-face networking opportunities are also re-emerging; the two together creating an ideal combination of environments for fostering connection.

It’s in these fortuitous encounters – whether virtual or in-person – that the most welcome of relationships have the best chance of appearing. The kind you didn’t even know you needed. For example, that old friend you reconnected with on social media may be an IT expert, and to their trained eye, your company may be missing a crucial aspect of cybercrime protection.

It’s difficult to force these kinds of connections, but thanks to Kforce, a staffing and solutions firm that specializes in building and managing expert teams to handle specific problems, businesses can freely tap into the power of team-based solutions. It’s a power that cannot be overstated.

“We’re driving to become a destination employer for the top talent in our industry.”

“In business, when you foster a longstanding personal relationship, you can really have a meaningful impact,” says Kforce President and CEO Joseph Liberatore. “After all, the nature of the business we’re in is we’re dealing with people’s lives and careers. It’s not just a product.”

Kforce – or the global KNOWLEDGEforce from which the company draws its best and brightest – is the talent scout of the business world. Once a client’s needs have been determined, the company then seeks and assembles the best possible team to tackle that gap.

“We have what we call the ‘K Way’,” Joe shares. “First, we build our strategic partnerships through knowledge sharing and understanding what a client’s objectives and opportunities are. Second, we align the appropriate resources and develop a strategy for them, complete with customized solutions and services that will help them accomplish what they’re looking for.”

Work Llama

The third phase of the K Way is delivery. “That’s when we execute the strategy to unite professionals and achieve success, and finally we manage the engagement.”

“We take this very seriously,” Joe says. “There’s the old saying: ‘The biggest decision somebody makes in their life that will set the trajectory of things to come is who they elect to have as a partner.’ Most of the time that’s to do with marriage, but what’s the next biggest decision people make? It’s in and around their career.”

Joe’s own decision to join Kforce dates back to 1988 and, appropriately, proved to be just as life changing. “I started on the ground floor as a technology search consultant,” he recalls. “I received the Florida Personnel Consultant Rookie of the Year award the following year.”

The recognition cemented Joe’s feeling that the role was a good fit. “From there, I’ve held various sales leadership roles, and then a number of executive roles,” he says. “I was Chief Sales Officer, Chief Talent Officer and Chief Financial Officer for about eight years until stepping into the President role in 2013 and, as of 1 January 2022, my current role as CEO.”

A rendering of Kforce’s new headquarters in Midtown Tampa, which Joe says complements the future of the firm and its new ‘office occasional’ approach

As President and CEO, Joe has oversight of the full spectrum of the company’s operations. “That’s really inclusive of working with management and our board of directors to drive and evolve Kforce’s strategy,” he explains.

Since becoming President and then CEO, Joe has helped Kforce refocus its efforts on the technology, finance and accounting spaces. “It’s been a journey,” he admits. “At the beginning, Kforce’s offerings were quite diverse. The board elected to narrow that focus, and over the past nine years, we’ve been following that path. But making that call has really got us to a great spot.”

Technology, in particular, was a solid bet to have made as in the years since, advancements have changed the landscape forever. “The pandemic has only accelerated technological progression even further,” Joe says. “But despite that, our mission statement hasn’t changed.”

That mission statement, ‘uniting professionals to achieve success through lasting personal relationships’, remains as true today as it was at the company’s inception. It’s also as true for Kforce itself as it is for its clients. “We’re driving to become a destination employer for the top talent in our industry,” he points out. “And we’re doing this by providing flexibility and choice empowered by trust and technology.”

“Using technology to identify and attract talent, and trust to retain them, is our core business.”

And the COVID-19 pandemic, with its social distancing, restrictions and working from home, proved as good a time as any to embark on this new journey. “The workforce is shifting,” Joe says. “So we’ve made a tremendous amount of progress towards fully integrating a technology-enabled hybrid operating model that enables people to perform their roles from anywhere.”

Joe hopes this will enhance its staff’s ‘life–work balance’, as Kforce calls it. “The key outcome is that people are being more successful, and our ability to help our clients and those consultants that we work with is improved,” he reveals. The Kforce work model has been rebranded as “office occasional”, a place staff are free to visit for team-building activities, collaboration and client interactions.

The remote-first approach is powered by the twin engines of trust and technology, two elements that have always been essential to Kforce’s success. “Using technology to identify and attract talent, and trust to retain them, is our core business,” Joe says. “That’s what we do for a living. Coupled with all the strategic initiatives we’re putting in place, we’re very well-positioned to be a winner.”

“Kforce is incredibly forward-thinking when it comes to technology and overall business processes. It was intentional about understanding WorkLLama’s platform, its applications and the change management required for organization-wide implementation. Its methodical approach resulted in resounding success on our platform.” – Sudhakar Maruvada, CEO and Founder, WorkLLama
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