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Interview

Visier’s CEO on becoming a unicorn and the future of people analytics

People analytics helps with decision making.

Allie Nawrat

Emerging Tech

Visier
Credit: SHANN GORMAN via Twenty20.

How can companies make the most of it in the future of work? Unleash Your Potential

People analytics involves collecting and the analyzing about the workforce.

It enables employers to make evidence-based decisions about how to improve the workplace, particularly in terms of wellbeing, inclusion and diversity, and measure the organization’s performance.

However, people data and analytics are only useful if HR teams, and individual managers, have access to and actually understand the insights.

Vancouver-based Visier was founded in 2010 by business intelligence experts around the premise that people analytics was broken and “needed to be solved differently”, explains CEO Ryan Wong.

“Instead of a general-purpose analytics platform, we developed a series of purpose-built applications that provide much faster time to value, lower total cost of ownership and access to insights” needed by HR teams, people managers and executives.

Ryan Wong, CEO, Visier

Fast forward 11 years and Visier has joined the HR tech unicorn club after raising $125 million in a Series E round.

UNLEASH caught up with Wong to talk about the Visier’s unicorn status, as well as what he thinks the future of people analytics will be.

Ryan Wong, Visier’s CEO

Impact of covid-19

Visier’s mission is to “provide HR teams – and more broadly managers and executives – the date they need to make better decisions” across the entire employee lifecycle “from recruitment to retirement”, explains Wong. It provides a range of different solutions for different problems, as well as a AI-powered secure platform to make analytics simple.

While Visier, like all other employer and business, struggled during the pandemic with the shift to working from home and achieving a work life balance, the “business also benefitted in this time”, according to Wong.

The company now had 8,000 customers, including 33% of the Fortune 500. Notable examples include Johnson & Johnson, Uber, BBVA and Experian.

Wong explains that employers are now under more pressure to “understand their employees better than ever before”.

This is particularly important as employees have repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to jump ship and find a new job if their current employer doesn’t listen to their needs, particularly around wellbeing, work life balance and career development.

“People analytics helps companies proactively identify…retention risks, so they can run targeted retention programs and mitigate the loss of talent they want and need to keep”, adds Wong.

Visier becomes a unicorn

In this context, it is no surprise that Visier caught the eye of Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s Holger Staude; a partnership was born, which led to Visier’s Serie E at the end of June.

According to Wong, Stude was “excited about our business and our market opportunity” and Goldman Sachs was impressed by Visier’s reputation as an innovative company that is solving customer problems.

While Visier were obviously keen on the “powerful optionality that comes without having another $125 million in the bank – it means we can accelerate what we’re already doing and lean into new opportunities”.

Therefore, Wong explains, Visier is going to use the funding to “extend and accelerate product development and international go to market expansion”.

The company is also planning to continue to grow its team, as well as look at potential mergers and acquisitions across the world.

The future of people analytics

With the competition for talent heating up and companies navigating the hybrid future of work, companies need good HR tech tools in their arsenal.

In order to tackle these challenges head on – such as avoiding a spike in resignations, meeting diversity and inclusion goals and offering competitive benefits – Wong argues that “companies need to better understand their people and use these insights to drive their decisions”.

Visier wants to play a role in giving employers and leaders access to insights that “not only solve current workforce challenges, but to also preemptively and proactively address future challenges”, according to Wong.

Ultimately, the future of work looks set to be one founded on good, accessible data and analytics to ensure decisions work for both employers and staff. Caring about employees is good business; remember happy employees are productive ones.

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