Everything at a glance: Personio Software revolutionizes Human Resource Management
How companies manage their human resources data can be a bit adventurous. At least from the perspective of the young HR experts at Personio. Excel files and cumbersome analog systems are still not uncommon in 2018. With its software, the Munich-based startup provides a better solution: master data, vacation times, salaries and applicant information – finally clearly arranged in one place! Another special feature of Personio is that all employees have access to relevant data. This creates transparency and strengthens the acceptance of further digitization measures in the companies that use Personio. We talked to founder and CEO Hanno Renner about his “HR operating system”.
Hanno, in just three years you have grown from a two-man team to a start-up with 120 employees. That’s pretty fast. How did you start back then?
At the time, one of our current shareholders worked in a 100-man company that still managed its HR data in Excel tables. This led to repeated difficulties in the company. This is how we came up with the idea for our software. We then presented it to companies at a very early stage and found out: There are even more problems in the HR area. So we could further develop Personio to what we call today the “HR operating system”. – Software that covers the entire “employee life cycle” from recruiting to employee administration and employee development.
How did you build up your customer base?
I was able to acquire the first 10 to 15 customers via my personal network. People I knew in other companies have introduced me to HR managers. Then I had to understand their needs and show or sell them our product. We were lucky to be able to meet a need pretty quickly. At that time I really went from company to company, presented the product and tried to create trust. Today we sell a lot over the phone and video conferencing. Most customers come to us via our website and recommendations.
One often gets the impression that the human resources sector is still treated rather negatively in many companies with regard to digitization. What situations do you find in companies?
Definitely, this is also a special challenge for us. What we mostly find are customers who use Excel spreadsheets and other analog files. Some also have older software solutions which we then replace.
Are there still reservations with companies when they learn about your solution?
Most of our customers have already agreed internally when they approach us. Nevertheless, resistance still exists sometimes. The biggest prejudices are that it costs a lot of money to introduce a software like Personio and that it takes a long time to synchronize the data. In fact, a medium-sized company usually pays about as much for our solution as it does for an intern or student trainee who is hired. In this case the amount is quite manageable. The time required for implementation is currently usually between three and six weeks.
By now you have more than 900 customers. May you tell us any of them?
We have very young, fast growing start-ups among our customers, who are actively looking for a solution very early on, but also larger companies such as Hello Fresh and Statista as well as various municipal utilities. Some of our customers have regulated their HR management differently for 20, 30 or even 50 years.
Do you think you learn something new in such situations?
Absolutely. I also don’t think that this learning process will ever be completed. Every client is individual. Our tool is basically very flexible in order to be able to map the various requirements. But there are also always special requirements that we sometimes incorporate into our further product development.
The time saving plays a role in many functions. In addition we also help to create transparency for employees and increase team satisfaction. Employees can, for example, view their pay slips or enter their own vacation days. Supervisors can use the data to better prepare themselves for the next feedback meeting. HR managers can see at a glance which channels are best for acquiring candidates for jobs. These are all things that help to get a better overview and above all to make better decisions.
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