HR Tech has been your happy place for a while. Tell us about that journey and your new life at PeopleStrong.
I got into HR Tech to selfishly solve my own work problems. I was managing performance and rewards at a large corporate and simply needed better tools. I cut my teeth on designing new tools in the very early days of web technology, where we built something in-house because the risks I was managing were too great, with human error a definite possibility.
I loved that design phase so much and I was feeling the draw towards technology then and the problems it could solve. So fast forward 15 years and I have founded, grown, and sold Pivot Software, a SaaS HR Technology business and thought I was finished.
After a 2-year sabbatical, Sandeep Chaudhary, our PeopleStrong CEO, whom I had known from my days at Pivot, got in touch and I was hooked again – I guess, I am a bit like a magpie, I love new shiny toys and PeopleStrong has quite a few of those! I wish I had a Jinie personal assistant and coach earlier in life! For those who don’t know, Jinie is our AI-powered HR chatbot which is the jewel in our crown.
After all this time in the industry, what have been some of your learnings?
You can’t solve everyone’s problems, so you have to be prepared to say, “No, sorry we can’t help with that.” Because to do so compromises your focus on your core path. There is a fine line between listening to clients’ needs and being able to decide if that fits within our product strategy and discern what is unique and adds more value.
Also, even though we are a tech business, people are the key. Diversity of thought is the biggest asset in an agile, fast-growing business, and it is amazing to see the ideas that flow, given the opportunity.
Why is PeopleStrong the right place to be at?
Although my core role is about creating awareness and building the PeopleStrong business in this market, I do get a chance to operate in what is effectively an entrepreneurial space because how we do business here is very different to how it is done in our other markets.
So, I get to design our strategy from scratch, with a great product suite and a wonderful team of experts behind me. It’s a whole new ball game, trying to create a market presence in the midst of a pandemic, and I’m happy to say we’re making good strides.
The purpose of PeopleStrong is pure – of making work life easier for everyone, and in turn creating momentum for businesses to achieve their goals. Well-designed technology really does make a difference to people and that is ultimately what gets me excited.
I have to be able to believe in what I do and be able to bring my authentic self to work – that is why I am doing what I am doing, otherwise, I would be in my edible garden encouraging my tomatoes to fruit and my carrots to thrive.
What will PeopleStrong look like in 12 months?
We will have proven our value to customers who want to shout it from the rooftops – where they will become another arm of our sales team. Our name will be known to be synonymous with quality, commitment, and delivery.
PeopleStrong was voted as Customers’ Choice in Gartner’s Voice of the Customer Report in 2021. Of course, this will be repeated in 2022 and our current clients will have grown significantly from our current number of over 500 as we help to power their momentum in this new Talent Economy.
What is a typical day for you?
I always start my day with a walk with my dog or a trip to the gym. I am not in a rush to get to my desk early in the day as my days often extend into the evenings due to the time zone differences, so I sometimes do what I call ‘life admin’ before sitting down at my desk.
We all connect in a stand-up as a team across Australia and New Zealand at midday just to check on any roadblocks, key action points etc.
I always check in on any comms that have come in overnight from the India team to be sure that any inputs that are needed from me are dealt with quickly to avoid any holdups, setting up meetings for later in the day if we need to connect in person.
Then it’s down to the business of growing the business. I am not a natural salesperson, I like to influence by showing solutions, so a lot of my discussions with potential clients are about understanding their problems and seeing if we can help.
Technology has really been the go-to solution for many problems through the pandemic due to the hybrid or contactless working environment, so organisations are now seeing that a good HR Tech solution makes good business sense, removing any value barrier that once existed. A consumer-like experience, without the need for user instruction, is the true benchmark for HR Tech and we have that in spades. We have a great opportunity here in Australia/New Zealand to be leading the way.