Spend a few minutes talking with Pam Glick, CEO of SyncHR, and it becomes crystal clear that she has a deep passion for HR – and a fire in her belly to right the wrongs that have plagued HR and finance professionals for years.
After nearly two decades implementing Human Capital Management (HCM) technologies for growing enterprise companies, Glick says she intuitively knew things could be done different – and better. A lot better.
“While the solutions technically worked, they were extremely complex and didn’t work well in the day-to-day chaos of the real-world,” Glick explained. “It was as if vendors designed the software having never worked a single day in HR or payroll.”
According to Glick, the enterprise space is littered with horror stories of failed or miserable HCM implementations. She said that companies traditionally had two options when it came to HR tech. They either paid hundreds of thousands of dollars – maybe even millions – in enterprise software and consultants, and crossed their fingers hoping that it would work as advertised. Or, they bought low-end, off-the-shelf software, hired a ton of administrative staff to rekey data between systems and made the best of it through sheer willpower and grit.
“Neither option was good, which is why so many companies continuously switch between the typical vendors every few years,” Glick explained. “They hope the next one will be better and nine times out of ten, it’s not.” During a chance meeting in 2009 with SyncHR founders, Gary Durbin and John Cuellar, Glick realized she found two people who not only shared her perspective, but who also had a plan. “These guys were talking about all the age-old things that were fundamentally flawed with HR software design and described a radically new approach to actually fix it,” explained Glick. “I was hooked.”
Glick, who took on the role as CEO, also knew there was more to it than just building a better, more modern platform. To truly revolutionize how growing organizations tracked and managed their most important assets—their employees—she would have to engage and partner with companies differently to ensure their success using the software.
“Most of the big vendors acted like they were doing you a favor by letting you buy their software,” said Glick. “Unless you were a Fortune 100 company, getting their time and attention was virtually impossible.”
A Modern New Approach
Glick explains that SyncHR’s ultimate goal is to become the Tesla of the HR technology space, bringing a radically new approach and next-generation innovation to the market—innovation that’s long been overdue.
According to Glick, most of the large vendors have glued together HR, payroll and benefit management technologies that they’ve acquired over time and placed them under a single user interface. While these are often presented to customers as an “all-in-one” HCM solution with a single user interface, the underlying code-bases are different, which causes a host of data and workflow headaches down the road.
“Unfortunately, most of the big vendors are pretty slick about selling around this,” said Glick. “It’s only afterwards that customers realize, ‘wait, we’re having the same problems that we had with our old system.”
SyncHR took a different approach, building its platform from the ground up to combine HR, payroll and benefits management within a single, inseparable “core” system. In doing so, Glick explains that SyncHR’s platform eliminates data discrepancies and process breakdowns because “everything is truly done in one system.”
And while most vendors have retrofitted their software for the cloud, Glick suggests that SyncHR also differs in that it was ‘originally’ designed for the cloud. As opposed to being an afterthought, things like enterprise security, scalability, system back-up and reliability, user permissions, workflows and analytics and reporting capabilities were incorporated into SyncHR’s cloud-first design from the very beginning. For example, SyncHR provides a modern extensibility layer, which allows organizations to easily connect their employee data with other corporate systems with minimal IT support or help.
Pushing the Innovation Envelope
In addition to its single-core, cloud-first architecture, SyncHR also delivers several key innovations. It’s patented Time Machine technology, for example, allows users to transact across time – past, present or future. Glick says this helps address a fundamental flaw of traditional software solutions.
For example, many companies avoid starting a new employee between pay periods because their solution doesn’t recognize specific dates and therefore can’t process partial payrolls without manual intervention. With SyncHR, users simply enter the new employee start date and the system automatically handles the calculations.
Another unique innovation is how SyncHR manages people and positions separately. In most systems, the individual employee data and position information are stored in the same record. When an employee leaves the company or changes jobs, the position information is lost or needs to be re-entered. Since SyncHR manages people and position data separately, when a person leaves the organization or changes jobs, the position data remains in place.
In addition to eliminating a lot of extra manual work, tracking people and positions separately gives companies a more accurate view of the organization. HR and recruiting execs can see both occupied and unoccupied positions. Glick says this helps companies avoid hiring too many or too few people, as well as minimizes work slowdowns, processes and approval breakdowns since SyncHR intelligently reroutes workflows on the fly to the next person in the organizational hierarchy.
“Nothing falls through the cracks with SyncHR,” says Glick.
Partner-centric vs Vendor-centric Mindset to Service
While Glick loves to talk about technology and how SyncHR is different, she quickly moves into hyperdrive when discussing the company’s different approach to service and support.
“At the end of the day, you can have the world’s greatest technology and still not be successful because you don’t have the right partner helping you succeed,” she explains.
Glick says that SyncHR takes a very different approach to implementation and service. Whereas most vendors take a traditional software-vendor approach, which aims to minimize the interaction with customers, SyncHR does the exact opposite.
“We want to engage with customers and talk to them every day to see how we can help them be more successful,” Glick said. “We’re all about the relationship and partnership with our customers.”
SyncHR’s different partner-centric approach manifests itself in several ways, beginning with system implementations. These have traditionally been long, drawn-out processes that can take months or even years. Glick explains that SyncHR’s advanced technology combined with its partner-centric approach allows it to implement its platform in “a fraction of the time compared to competitors”.
Glick explained that the company recently implemented a 3,000-person organization in 90 days. “While that’s unusually fast, the point is that we can and do move at whatever speed our customers want and need from us.”
Another key difference in SyncHR’s approach revolves around a robust change management program. According to Glick, most vendors focus on the initial implementation, but stop there. SyncHR goes a step further, offering each customer internal change management support and programming that consists of everything from training to internal email templates that HR can send to employees.
“Our goal isn’t simply to get SyncHR rammed in and installed,” says Glick. “The real goal is to give customers a system and set of processes that are so much better and easier to use that customers can’t imagine ever going back to the old way of doing things.”
On top of the rapid implementations and change management programming, Glick says that the company goes the extra mile by assigning designated Customer Success Managers (CSMs). Glick says that SyncHR’s CSMs know customers on a first-name basis, which means they also know the specific details of their system set up. This helps streamline things when a customer needs help.
And rather than wait for customers to call, SyncHR proactively reaches out to customers. This includes doing quarterly business and system reviews of SyncHR.
“We want our customers to continuously improve their processes and maintain the value they get from the system,” explains Glick. “So, we routinely check-in to see where we can help, whether that’s configuring new features for them to take advantage of or giving them some additional training to utilize the system more.”
Attraction Not Promotion
SyncHR’s different approach to both the technology and service is making some big waves in the market, beating out vendors like ADP, Ultimate Software, Ceridian and even Workday and Oracle. Still, the company has its challenges.
“Our biggest challenge really is just the newness of our company,” explains Glick. “The fact of the matter is that SyncHR isn’t a household name yet, and that can be a little scary for some customers.”
While Glick admits that market awareness is a key obstacle for some customers, she’s also adamant that the company earn its reputation by investing in product innovation and customer service versus buying it through slick marketing programs or fancy tradeshow booths.
And this approach appears to be working. The company has attracted a host of high-profile companies, including rapidly growing enterprises like Riddell and Florida Cancer Specialists, the largest independent hematology and oncology practice in the United States. SyncHR’s modern data architecture and ability to handle complex payrolls and organizational hierarchies makes it particularly appealing to manufacturing and healthcare organizations.
“We want to attract customers who are sick and tired of the same old challenges from the same old vendors, and who want something different, something better, and something built to work better together” says Glick. “If you’re an organization that expects more from your HR tech and vendor, then we think there’s no better solution or partner than SyncHR.”