We started POP HR on 01 October 2016. 2 months into our experiment and whilst we realise that we may have been slightly optimistic on the volume of sign-ups we still have 75 small and medium sized enterprises on board with good feedback.
We are running this as a business experiment, to see if businesses will pay a fair price (or anything!) when given the opportunity to pay based on the value to them of the tool. We really want to launch a series of value-based products, where we help organisations achieve more and remunerated on the back of that.
If I am brutally honest I have been highly frustrated since we started. I wanted to get the technical aspects perfect and hence it delayed our launch by a couple of weeks, and I had hoped for over 150 signed up by now! We knew we would not get 1,000 in the first few months but 75 is short of expectations.
I currently spend approximately 3 hours a day calling up businesses to let them know about our great HR platform. I mean, it is free, how hard can it be to get companies to sign up — extremely as it turns out!
For many companies, we learn that their HR issues and lack of self-service tools are nowhere near the top of their priorities so even if they have issues, it is not something that they wish to discuss. Others are actually happy to let spreadsheets rule and do not mind filling out forms or marking attendance books to maintain records.
I cannot really fault them, and am struggling to educate them away from manual tools! My considered argument back treads on the lines of ‘Is it really a winning formula?’ Just because it is working does not mean it is the most efficient way of doing something. Alas, sometimes ,though, you have to admit defeat.
I spend time educating people to see how our platform will speed up their current methods, and help them in the long run. 20/30 minutes of chat and at the end we are back to where we began. I can count this happening around 5 times a day. I pull my hair out at the short-sightedness but I do respect their desire to stick to what they know works. On the downside, I have wasted nearly 6,000 minutes on the same conversation in the last two months. I could have watched every bond film ever made instead. Twice! I think I need that vodka martini if I am to have this conversation again!
An amazing conversation happened in Clapham (London) this week. We were speaking to a business manager about some of the features we provide including birthday updates and asked ‘Do you know when all your staff birthdays are’. It may not seem like a groundbreaking feature, but we have realised that staff want to be loved and why would you not want to be seen as a caring employer. The answer to my question was not what I expected. The small business owner told me ‘I don’t really care about my staff. I am replacing them shortly anyway’. He went on ‘We had a birthday cake for one member of staff recently, but she did not even know it was her birthday’
We really are dependent on company owners having a few things for our platform to succeed. A willingness to embrace change, a co-operation to introduce technology as a solution and importantly a compassion to employees! Our experiment will not work without the support of businesses so let’s see how next week goes! Also, I do hope that member of staff knows it is only 26 sleeps to Xmas!