LINDON — It may sound a little oversimplified to say you've modeled a business on the mission statement that unhappy people aren't likely to do an effective job making other people happy.
But Lindon-based human resources software innovator BambooHR has over the past decade-plus more than proven out the idea with a cloud-based platform that makes the administrative and compliance duties of human resource officers a snap while giving those professionals more time to build positive work cultures for their companies.
Veteran Utah tech leader and BambooHR CEO Brad Rencher said it's a common failure among executives to look past their own internal work environments on the quest to provide the best customer experience they can muster. Those customer outcomes, Rencher said, are first formed by the attitudes and, well, happiness of the employees who are the conduit through which any business's goods or services flow.
"If you really want to transform your business, focus on providing a delightful experience for your employees," Rencher said. "Do that and you'll have employees ready to provide the same experience for your customers."
Rencher said businesses in the small-to-midsize market that BambooHR specializes in serving can be particularly challenged in balancing the mountainous load of staff-related administrative duties while simultaneously trying to maintain the kind of high-touch, personal engagement that builds vibrant office cultures.
"For many business owners and business leaders, it feels like there is so much administrative burden that accompanies hiring, onboarding, IT systems, performance management, payroll and more that, at times, it feels like you're running in mud," Rencher said. "BambooHR sets people free to do great work. At the end of the day, you can have all those administrative tasks blend into the background so human resources can focus on helping the employee."
If you really want to transform your business, focus on providing a delightful experience for your employees.
–Brad Rencher, BambooHR CEO
So far, some 22,000 clients have decided to do just that, and Rencher said daily BambooHR users measure in the millions. And, somewhat remarkably, the company founded in 2008 has eschewed the big checks and big headlines that come with taking on venture capital partners. It's allowed BambooHR to set and manage its product and growth strategies without the kind of pressure that comes with investors that may be looking for quick returns or near-term liquidity events like a public stock offering or becoming an acquisition target.
Now the company is set to add 500 employees in the coming year, building on its current staff of around 700 and, in keeping the BambooHR's "bootstrap" mentality of self-financing, the expansion will be funded by the company's own growth.
About eight years ago, the human resource director of Michigan-based online auction specialist Miedema Asset Management Group found herself awash in spreadsheets, reports and paperwork. The juggling, she said, had no longer become tenable.
"I was having to generate a dozen or more documents for every new hire we made," said Lisa Zimmerman. "It got to the point where the process we were using just didn't make sense anymore."
BambooHR sets people free to do great work. At the end of the day, you can have all those administrative tasks blend into the background so human resources can focus on helping the employee.
–Brad Rencher, BambooHR CEO
Zimmerman's research for a solution led her to BambooHR, and it's one that she said has not only saved her and her company time and expense but has led to markedly better employee satisfaction and lower turnover.
Zimmerman offered a comparison of her current workflow to what it looked like before signing on with BambooHR, noting the time it takes to do many of her regular tasks has been reduced by half or more.
"I had four new hires this week," Zimmerman said. "They were all able to fill out their paperwork online before they came in for their orientation and training. They were fully onboarded in no time, compared to how we used to do it. And with essentially no paper documents to deal with.
"It's been a big-time saver and absolutely releases me to do other things."
Zimmerman said the BambooHR platform has been a hit with employees as well, who can access the system with a mobile app to log hours, ask for time off and even, Zimmerman said, request a raise. From her end, Zimmerman can also engage the platform via her phone to generate reports, check records or field employee communications.
Rencher said BambooHR's founders, Ben Peterson and Ryan Sanders, launched the company with the same focus on employee well-being that they hope to enable their clients to engage, and it's been one of the keys to the company's success.
Rencher said the founders are "fantastic human beings" who have prioritized building a company culture "that allows everybody to come to work and be their best selves."
That commitment to building a positive internal culture, and creating tools to allow other companies to do the same, was a powerful draw for Rencher, who took over the helm as chief executive about 18 months ago. The one-time investment banker was well-positioned to have his pick of high-level tech gigs after very successful positions with legendary Utah web analytics startup Omniture and later, Adobe after the Silicon Valley titan swallowed Omniture in a $1.8 billion acquisition in 2009.
The acquisition was a seminal moment for Utah's Silicon Slopes community and one that foreshadowed an incredible expansion of the state's tech sector successes. But Rencher said BambooHR drew him both for how it was defining itself as a company and the work it was doing to lift the operations of other companies around the country.
"Founders and CEOs are the chief culture officers of their companies," Rencher said. "And those cultures aren't static, they need to be planned and nurtured, not unlike a product roadmap."
Rencher said BambooHR has seen an unprecedented rise in business over the past year and is well-positioned as an effective tool for employers to re-emphasize principles that pre-existed COVID-19 but became even more important as businesses recognized the need to "really lean in on empathy and understanding to support employees at this time."
BambooHR has earned industry accolades for both its product performance and work environment, having been recognized as one of the leading private technology companies in Forbes' 2019 and 2020 Cloud 100 lists alongside organizations like SquareSpace, Mailchimp, Stripe and others while also making Forbes' Top 50 Workplaces in Tech for the past three years.
To learn more about the positions BambooHR is hiring for, visit the company's career page: https://www.bamboohr.com/careers/.