The most important element of your business is your people, and capturing what’s important to them is key to build a stronger workforce. There’s a deluge of HR technology out there that aims to automate major people-management tasks. But is it robust enough to help build culture, increase retention and even give employees a place to interact socially?
That’s the hope behind the new platform “bob,” from the company HiBob, based in London with offices in Tel Aviv and New York. Just 18 months after its product launch, HiBob has been named one of five London tech startups to watch by RocketSpace and trusted by leading tech brands such as TransferWise, Improbable, Monzo, Etoro, Playbuzz and others.
We spoke to CEO Ronni Zehavi and Vice President of Growth Sharon Argov to learn more.
Bob is a people-management platform, which tend to be built to the expectations of the HR or financial departments, Zehavi says. Their function, he says, is not only to make HR better, but to make it easier and more automated. “They put less attention on people engagement, less attention on people retention, less attention on productivity and culture,” he says.
Bob is cloud-based and mobile-friendly, and includes all the day-to-day HR admin tools you’d expect. But it also incorporates things like cultural assessment, employee surveys and onboarding help.
And, it encourages socializing. Employees can create “clubs” or interest groups where they can chat with colleagues on topics they’re passionate about. It’s a bottom-up approach that attempts to create an HR platform that employees actually want to engage with. “It’s all about people, and companies who put their people first,” Zehavi says. This is the true compass for us as a company.”
Who They Serve
HiBob wants to serve ambitious, fast-growing business — companies just like it. Its focus is not on serving tiny startups or huge corporations, but small to medium-sized companies looking to grow, typically those with between 100 and 5,000 workers.
The company’s founders started with the truth that the workplace has changed for good with the increasing influence of millennials. By 2025, they will make up more than 80 percent of the workforce. These workers put much greater emphasis on collaboration, work-life balance and alignment with company values, and needs HR tech that is built to suit.
“We came with the strategic overview of the market and the opportunity,” Zehavi says. “In other words, we believe that the work and workplace in general will be completely different a few years from now.”
“We’re shifting from companies where all you think about is profit to companies that think about purpose, from hierarchical companies to networks and teams, from controlling to empowering, from privacy to transparency,” he says.
HiBob is already making a big splash in Israel, a rapidly growing and relatively untapped market for HR tech. “In Israel, there are a lot of startups and a lot of significant players. It is called ‘the startup nation,’ and not for nothing,” Argov says. “What they’re really missing on this scene is people-management tools that will help them support their most important assets, which is their talent.”
In today’s workplace, people change jobs frequently, placing even more stress on HR departments and creating more demand for automation tools. The gig economy is a force to contend with, and Zehavi says HR leaders need to be planning for teams that are made up of full-time employees, part-timers and freelancers.
HiBob is poised to serve global companies with diverse teams, multiple locations and varied needs. They are also building an insight machine for leaders that will help them nurture and manage their people through engagement and retention tools.
In coming months they will launch “bob’s talent,” a new way to do performance reviews, surveys, goal-setting and talent mapping — an all-in-one package that will interact with the HR process to provide a full picture of employee status.
Zehavi says they have the technology, capital and talent to build a next-generation people-management platform to serve companies that are growing fast — and that value staying nimble when it comes to their HR investments.
“They are the early adopters, they are the ones who will understand first before anybody else, before the giant companies, why putting the people first is not only a statement, it’s something that they have to do daily. And they need the technology to do so,” he says. “Truly people-driven organizations need to build a data-driven decision process about their talent, exactly as they do in every other aspect. Those that understand this will succeed.”
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