Employee retention directly affects the bottom line — the cost of turnover is typically half of an entry level salary, 125% of a mid-level salary, and 200% of a senior executive’s salary, according to Forbes. The publication also states that engaged employees are 21% more profitable

For hypergrowth companies, this is even more of a concern as they need to find the right talent quickly, make them a competitive offer, and put standards in place to keep them engaged or else risk greater turnover. 

This was on the minds of panelists during the hire-to-retire breakout session at Biz Systems Magic, the first and only conference for Business Systems leaders. The panel comprised of Kevin Baumler, Business Systems Lead at SeatGeek, Jessica Barry, Sr. Business Systems Analyst of Recruiting & HR at Slack, and Bobby Mathew, Business Systems Lead of People Systems at Square — with each company representing different stages in the journey towards seamless hire-to-retire based on growth.

SeatGeek: Adapting HR to Support 254% Growth Pre-IPO

Each panelist works from the perspective of “people + process” in their roles, making sure that people systems functions properly as they handle an ever-growing employee base. At SeatGeek, a 10-year-old mobile ticket platform whose headcount jumped 254% from 130 in 2017 to 460 in 2019, they use several apps to manage people systems. They include Greenhouse.io (recruiting), Active Directory (network identity provider), OneLogin (SSO), ServiceNow (ITSM), and a recently adopted HCM to act as a global source of truth for employee data. 

In maintaining this HR ecosystem, Baumler found a lack of integration between people and identity apps, often prompting supplemental spreadsheet work – something the systems team was trying to avoid. He also wanted to ensure that their processes were SOC compliant and that business objectives were aligned before deploying any solutions.

For SeatGeek, the solid lines represent processes already in place and the dotted lines represent where they want to go. As growth is expected to continue, the goal is have data flow directly from recruiting to their HCM and finally to their identity apps to better enable onboarding, role-based applications and automatic provisioning.

By streamlining these processes and making sure that Greenhouse talks to its HCM and Active Directory before the data goes anywhere else – including ticketing, birthright and role-based apps – SeatGeek was able to ensure alignment across teams (including IT, Controls, HR and Recruiting) and truly have its HCM act as a single source of truth. No employee data can go anywhere without running through its HCM and identity provider first – a process that wasn’t possible before.

“We’re coming up on 500 employees and we expect that growth to continue,” Baumler said. “[Business systems] is now working with teams and helping them define how they can be more efficient. We’re making sure that people are aligned when maybe those conversations aren’t happening otherwise.” 

“Our team is very much strategically oriented and I think it’s important for us to acknowledge that and embrace it so that we can deliver more effective solutions to our stakeholders,” he added.   

Slack: How to Streamline When Global Growth Meets Recruiting

Jessica Barry at Slack, as part of a company that very recently went public, went next on the panel. Like SeatGeek, Slack uses no less than 11 apps in its HR process. In nearly doubling its global headcount in the past year, Barry noticed the company was having problems: 1) establishing a global mindset, 2) aligning brand and messaging, and 3) ensuring processes were being maintained across time zones. 

These issues led to a lack of visibility across systems, which were further impacted as new employee documentation began to build, manual work became a hassle, and systems continued to not talk to each other. With different time zones comes different regulatory requirements, as well, on top of having to make a decision about how to measure targets and insights. In other words: more people, more problems – and even greater reasons to streamline hire-to-retire.

To do this, Slack created logic-based workflows using Workato that delivered solutions directly to the user. The first involved making sure job changes were kept up to date. Previously, recruiters had to manually update any changes to job fields in Greenhouse that occurred in their HR hub app. By introducing logic-based workflows, they were able to keep both apps updated in real-time. Any time there was a job change in their hub app based on currency/location, level, employee type or job category, an automated workflow would kick in, prompting Greenhouse to present recruiters or the hiring team a new template based on that change – keeping everyone informed all at once.

At Slack, as growth rapidly continues, it can be hard for staff and hiring teams to keep track of what jobs are available. Business systems, therefore, created auto-generated job channels to help keep team members informed at all times.

The company also created auto-generated job channels, delivered candidate files to HMs for review within those job channels, and sent SLA reminders after interviews via a DM in Slack. They also enabled channel visibility for scorecard completion, letting decision makers know who has completed the process and who hasn’t. 

“We really want to improve the employee experience by delivering things directly to folks whenever possible through Slack,” Barry said. 

“Start small and mighty,” she recommended of beginning the internal automation process. “We want to make sure that the actions [systems] are taking are going to be impactful, but they don’t necessarily need to be complex – and be ready to iterate and make room for error handling whenever possible.”

Square: Simplifying Systems Workflow Post-IPO

Rounding out the panel was Bobby Mathew of Square, speaking about the company’s 10 years of business decisions regarding tools, automation and workflows, four of which were post-IPO. Currently, Square uses a handful of HR tools, including a recruiting app, HCM, payroll, expense management, custom scripting tool and more, and as the Business Systems Lead for People Systems, Mathew is responsible for streamlining all of this. 

With 10 years of critical business decisions, Square uses nearly a dozen apps to manage people systems. However, Bobby Mathew, Business Systems Lead of People Systems at Square, hopes to oversimplify this, having data flow seamlessly from its HCM to SSO/IAM app before it goes anywhere else.

Joining the company two years post-IPO, Mathew hopes to simplify the process, having data flow directly from recruiting to their HCM and SSO before flowing downstream – as opposed to flowing currently from their HCM to a destination app (with a variety of other steps and back-and-forth processes in-between). Doing so, he says, will increase productivity, save team members plenty of time – allowing them to perform more fruitful tasks focused on the people – and eliminate bottlenecks that existed from a plethora of apps and disparate users.

“We have an engineering culture [at Square] focused on user experience,” Mathew said. “So, if you think about a Square product, the idea is ‘When you approach our UI, it should be simple. A few clicks and you’re done.’ That’s the whole goal of what they’ve been trying to build…and we want to emulate that in our employee experience.”

Being Strategic With Business Systems

Hearing the systems perspectives of HR teams pre-, during and post-IPO, it’s clear to see that hiring stakeholders need to be in sync and work fast and the only way to do that is by working with business systems. 

“If we’re going to continue to hire and have the rate we’ve had for the past few years, it has to be all about effectively rebuilding that foundation, prioritizing needs and getting the business on board with better [systems] or helping them understand the value of what it means to centralize these processes and how much better it can scale,” Mathew said. 

“We have to make these processes better for the folks who go through it and the best way to do that is through systems,” Barry added.

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Pamela Seaton
About Pamela Seaton

Pamela is a journalist and technology enthusiast writing for the growing business systems community.