AiThority Interview with Steve Beauchamp, CEO at Paylocity
Tell us about your role at Paylocity and how you arrived here.
Before joining Paylocity in 2007, I spent over fifteen years working within the HR industry. I spent several years working in senior management roles at companies such as Paychex, Advantage Payroll and ADP Canada. It was at ADP Canada where I was named 1997 “Employee of the Year.” When I first arrived at Paylocity, the company had about 100 employees. Now, there are over 3,500. My journey as CEO has really gone hand-in-hand with the growth of the company. There was a time when I knew every single employee by name, but remote work has made that a bit more difficult. I now have to redirect my focus into ensuring I still have that same connection with our employees no matter where they are located and how large our company becomes.
Hear it from the pro: What’s so different about being a CEO of an HR Tech company compared to other SaaS-based companies?
Being the CEO of a HR technology company presents both challenges and opportunities because what we do for our customers is first tested on our own employees. Our employees are essentially the first users of our products, and they are able to provide us with the feedback we need to better improve those products. This forces Paylocity to truly “walk the walk,” ensuring that our innovations actually help our own workforce before offering it to our customers to try out for themselves.
Tell us about the role of a CEO in a pandemic crisis – what makes you an enabler of digital transformation in such a scenario?
The most important thing I’ve learned throughout this pandemic is that frequency is essential for effective communication. Employees are facing a lot of pressure and uncertainty right now, so frequent connection and communication can have a huge impact on their well being and peace of mind. Before the pandemic, we used to have quarterly all-company meetings and now we have them weekly. This shift was a direct response to our employees’ needs. We also supplement these meetings with asynchronous video messages so that employees can receive important information on their own time. We’ve made it a priority to answer commonly asked questions, so employees aren’t left feeling nervous or concerned about the future.
That said, we’ve translated a lot of our in-person meetings to video. I have found that this type of communication allows us to reach more people faster and allows us to interact with all kinds of employees – not just upper management. Typically, we see 40% of our employees dial-in to our weekly meetings while another 40% opt to watch a video recording of it afterward. Without this video option, we would not have been able to reach 80% of our company, especially as employees’ needs for flexibility have increased this year.
How did you stay on top of your game and inspire others in the Product Engineering, Marketing and Sales teams?
Overall, I’ve been very proud of how our teams have continued to innovate for our employees and customers. Early on, we learned that a uniform approach wasn’t going to make all employees feel seen and heard, so we offered both uniform benefits that everyone could take advantage of as well as other flexible benefits. This has been very effective in maintaining productivity while also helping employees manage the stress from the pandemic.
Additionally, we also had to reevaluate how our internal processes worked in conjunction with the latest government regulations. The pandemic made it so there has been constant updates being made to legislation that directly impacted our products, such as the passage of the CARES Act. We ended up creating a cross-functional team of senior leaders across the organization whose main priority was monitoring these changes in real time. They would then inform and prepare teams downstream so that they had a chance to react and shift focus depending on the legislation.
Something we’ve also encouraged all our teams to do is to not think of the pandemic as something that will be over in a couple of months. Instead, they should operate as though we will be working remotely forever. This means they should reevaluate all of their processes and make sure they operate effectively whether we’re in a pandemic or not. This will help us better prepare for when the pandemic does eventually end.
How can we make workplaces safer and more productive in today’s scenario? How can HR Manager instill a fresh sense of connectivity through technologies and communication channels?
Managing a successful remote team begins with a strategy for communication. Every employee works a little bit differently, so setting clear expectations for your teams will help them stay focused on common goals. For example, set up work-from-home guidelines that include when employees need to respond to emails, how long a manager expects to wait before receiving a response and any other communication styles that can be considered appropriate for specific situations. Managers should also prepare a game plan that includes regular one-on-ones, team video calls and other formal check-ins to continue building a sense of community and a positive working relationship that goes beyond the computer screen. When employees are able to depend on scheduled meetings with their manager, they are able to in-check with weekly priorities and maintain a similar work ethic that on-site employees experience at a traditional office. We also offer a “menu of options” to help manage the work/life balance. These options include split schedules, four-day work week and swapping a weekday with working on a weekend day.
Technology is also your greatest asset when it comes to managing your remote workforce, so it’s important to invest in the best solutions that will help managers and employees track their daily and monthly progress. At Paylocity, we utilize performance journaling, which allows managers to set and manage employees’ goals and appraisals in a single location, while also helping them motivate their workers to focus on agreed areas of improvement. On the flipside, employees can build their own reviews of their managers, allowing them to raise questions on tough topics or request meaningful feedback in a documented space.
Tell us more about Zoom Fatigue and how HCM suites can help erase / alleviate these concerns?
Something we all miss is the level of human connection we would normally get while in the office. While Zoom can create certain connections, it’s simply not the same. I’d encourage employers to be more creative in how they are communicating with their employees. Don’t just have the communication be top-down, make it engaging. We have seen a lot of success in creating events in which employees are able to communicate outside of the work setting. Paylocity has had virtual talent shows and DJ dance parties which helps reinforce connections between employees. If individuals are used to a setting in which they can get up and talk with their nearest coworker, you must try to emulate it within a virtual setting.
Where is Paylocity heading to, in 2021? Which new markets and industries are you keenly following to grow your business?
Paylocity’s goal is to continue to be the most modern platform in the industry while pushing the boundaries of what HCM software can do for HR teams. For example, we launched our asynchronous video offering that was designed to alleviate Zoom fatigue and communication burnout. This was something that no one else in the industry was doing but is now becoming an important component for human capital management. This year, we will continue to focus on digital transformation of transactions and efficiency from an HR perspective while still enabling our customers to develop culture and relationships with employees.
How much has the HR Tech industry evolved in the last 2-3 years with the arrival of Automation, Employee Experience and Enterprise Apps?
The HR industry has been playing catch up to meet digital transformation expectations. Companies are now accelerating automation of transactional activities that would have made HR teams more efficient a few years ago. There’s still work that needs to be done on that front, and I believe that the change in how organizations work has really pushed HR teams towards digital transformation. People get into HR because they love people and they want to help organizations achieve their goals. However, they often find themselves doing a lot of transactional work and reporting, which takes away valuable time from doing what they actually enjoy. I think the more HR leaders can automate these time consuming tasks, the more time their employees will have to flex creativity and connect to more people.
How do you focus on HR Tech innovations driven by ML and AIOps techniques?
Reporting can be a big time drain for HR professionals. The more they can use AI and machine learning technologies to understand what’s happening among their employee base and the more they can circulate those insights to leaders, the less burden HR teams will have. Platforms like Paylocity can look across all clients and all employees to provide insight and best practices to leverage moving forward. That not only saves HR teams time, but it allows them to know based on hard data where they should focus their time and what initiatives they should roll out. Additionally, the more these applications are used, the better these algorithms will become in the future.
What does your remote workplace technology suite look like- could you tell us about the platforms / tools you use to stay connected with your business colleagues?
At Paylocity, we leverage our Community platform where remote employees collaborate and make connections with individuals across the organization at all times. Community allows employees to stay up to date consistently on company announcements, collaborate on team projects, react with comments and emojis and create groups to connect with co-workers on non-work related topics, such as pets, recipes and other common interests. Community’s Impression feature also gives employees the chance to offer praise and celebrate one another. This platform digitally recreates the water cooler conversations and random interactions created in a typical office environment that really make people feel a deeper connection.
We also have our own LMS system, which provides employees the opportunity to develop skills and gain knowledge through designed and peer-to-peer training courses. The LMS includes training on a variety of topics, including technology, HR programs, employee benefits, compliance, workplace safety and mental wellness to ensure employees and have the resources needed to enhance their personal and professional development.
3 optimistic predictions / trends you have for your industry for accelerating business development and revenue performance.
If you give employees more flexibility, they will come through. Therefore, it’s up to the employer to actually create a more flexible environment. That said, this pushes Paylocity to create more in-demand products to meet this need, such as video communication. This pandemic has pushed us to challenge the boundaries of HCM platforms and what we can provide to our customers. I also expect to see HR teams focusing more on transforming all their transactions to a more digital and automated process. This automation will allow employees to spend less time on smaller tasks and more time on solutions that will reduce turnover, increase productivity or improve leadership.
Thank you, Steve! That was fun and we hope to see you back on AiThority.com soon.
As CEO, Steve oversees every aspect of our business. Since joining Paylocity in 2007, Steve led the way in getting Paylocity to where it is today. From customer service to sales to product development, he’s ultimately accountable for the vision and execution of our entire operation.
Steve’s experience in the industry spans more than 15 years. Prior to joining Paylocity, Steve spent several years at Paychex, having served as VP of Product Management and was a Corporate Officer. In his role there, Steve was responsible for all product strategy and development as well as all corporate acquisitions. His resume also includes having served as Vice President of Payroll Operations for Advantage Payroll, the fourth-largest payroll company in America at that time, managing 21 offices and serving more than 50,000 clients across the country. Additionally, Steve spent three years in operations management with ADP Canada, where he was named 1997 “Employee of the Year.”
At Paylocity, we deliver more than our awesome product suite with crazy good reviews. We prioritize your success by covering you with a deep support system to back up our easy-to-use, innovative solutions.
Providers will merely sell you a product. But a partner actually cares about you and your business. A partner takes the time to get to know you and understand your needs. We work with you to identify the best solutions that will benefit your business today, while paving the way to a better tomorrow. And tomorrow is all about your team. Everything we do is designed to support you in reaching your goals. Together, we tackle your day-to-day work so you can spend more time building the culture you and your employees crave.
For professionals who crave true partnership, Paylocity is the HR & Payroll company that frees you from the tasks of today, so together, we can spend more time focused on the promise of tomorrow.