We talked to Ian White of ChartHop about HR automation and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ian White: All things considered, we are doing great. I feel really lucky that I have more time to spend with my wife, Ali, and our baby son, Ace. Ace was born around the time we raised seed funding for ChartHop. My biggest fear of starting a company and raising a kid at the time is that I would miss out on his big milestones. The silver lining of working from home means I got to see him walk for the first time!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded ChartHop.
Ian White: I’ve always been passionate about the intersection of people and technology. From heading the engineering team at Business Insider when they were 7 or 8 people to founding my first start-up, Sailthru, I’m most excited when building tech that helps talented people do their best work.
At Sailthru, we went from two people to 200 in less than three years. The challenges changed as we grew. My focus had to shift from scaling the technology to scaling the organisation that we were building. I learned that to grow and scale; I needed to focus on my most valuable asset, my people.
To me, this meant making data-driven decisions to help me organize my growing team with clarity and in a fair and equitable manner. Yet, to collect and analyze all my people data, I was spending hours pulling information from our HRIS and building out pivot tables in excel.
I realized there weren’t great tools out there to help me figure out how to promote, assign new roles, build hiring plans, define compensation across different levels, run performance reviews, and so much more – all while running the day-to-day of the company.
So with ChartHop, I basically went and built the thing that I wish I had when I was scaling my previous company.
What problem are you solving?
Ian White: 2020 has taught us that organizations everywhere need to make better people decisions. But they often don’t have the right data and tools for it. ChartHop’s visually rich data delivers clarity to organizations and helps people make smarter, faster, and better decisions.
For example, HR and People teams spend a lot of time pulling and organizing siloed data from different platforms. All this time spent on data collection leaves little room for analysis and proactive decision-making. Manual and disconnected data collection ultimately leads to uncoordinated people strategies.
ChartHop helps remove the friction out of data collection by seamlessly integrating data from your HRIS, payroll, and performance management systems. The platform automatically visualizes your data into easily legible charts and graphs that drive insights, and ultimately action.
It makes HR and People teams’ lives easier, especially during intensive compensation and headcount planning periods. When those teams can take a step back and see the larger picture of their org, we also see huge potential in driving improvements in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
That’s why we released our first annual Charting Better Workplaces report. We aggregated data from more than 16,000 employees across the tech industry to better understand demographic factors across compensation. We found that progress in reducing the gender wage gap has been made–lowering from 30% in 2018 to 22% in 2020. But 22% is still very high.
We wanted to go further and investigate where the major levers in the pay gap lie. Unlike comparative studies, we broke down compensation into both salary and equity. Equity is the biggest driver of wealth in the tech industry, and this analysis reveals that it is also a major lever driving wealth inequality.
When looking at equity and ownership, we found that, on average, men have 63% more ownership in a company than women. While women make up 40% of owners, they only own 21% of shares.
When organizations have access to this data, they can share it with their people, their boards, and their customers, and then set measurable goals to achieve equal pay. I believe that this data sharing is valuable in building trust and accountability. That’s why DEI features are included in all of ChartHop’s product offerings.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your business, and how are you coping?
Ian White: The pandemic forced a transition to remote work that raised a lot of questions about how people will maintain productivity, culture, and sense of belonging. We see organizations everywhere combat these concerns by adopting a digitally-infused approach to their work. This heightened the need for tech that automates manually-intensive processes and drives more strategic decisions for HR teams. That’s where we fit in.
We’re building ChartHop to be the best people software on the planet, and our growth proves that. In August, we announced our $14M Series A funding led by Andreesen Horowitz and have seen 10x growth since raising our seed round in February.
Just last month, we were named a high performer by G2. This recognition meant so much because it came directly from our customers. It really demonstrates the value that we are delivering – from streamlining compensation reviews to transparent reporting that enables more diverse and inclusive teams.
As a team, we’ve decided to be forever remote-optional, so we use our own product to address the challenges that come with that decision. ChartHop has been incredibly valuable in onboarding new team members- most of who have never met anyone from the team in person. Our in-depth employee profiles encourage accountability, empathy, and connection. This is so important now that our main forms of interaction are over Zoom and Slack.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Ian White: Thankfully, our business is strong. Our team has actually grown since the start of the pandemic, and we’re actively hiring for roles across the board.
When COVID first hit, we made a very early call to close the office and remain remote-optional forever. As a new and growing team, building a unified culture from the start is so important. Not being in-person to cultivate those strong relationships encouraged us to get more creative with virtual team-building tools.
To foster greater workplace connection, we increased the frequency of our company all-hands meetings, introduced monthly lunch and learns, and have biweekly “hoppy hours.” Just last week, we broke out into smaller teams for a virtual escape room! Moments like these are so important for us to get to know each other outside of the typical day-to-day.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and ChartHop in the future?
Ian White: As a second-time founder, I have a deeper understanding that building a company from the ground up is a marathon, not a sprint. Speaking of sprints, I just got a Peloton. Exercise and spending time with family help me stay focused and keeps stress at bay.
For many of us, COVID heightened the need for greater flexibility in work schedules, with many people having to take on caregiving responsibilities. Burnout is real, and I’ve put systems in place to make sure everyone at ChartHop can manage their time and stay excited about their work.
We’ve implemented “Flex Fridays” that happen every other week. We ask that everyone keep their calendars free of internal meetings. Our employees can use the day however they please, whether they need the day off for self-care or to dive into projects or learning goals.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Ian White: Our only real competition is spreadsheets. There really is no other tech that does what ChartHop can do. Of course, there are other platforms that tackle specific functionalities like org charts, performance management, or compensation planning.
Where ChartHop really shines is its ability to integrate data across your platforms – we’re talking Bamboo, Workday, Carta, Greenhouse, Slack – and then visualize that data in easy to understand graphs, in seconds.
Seamless data collection automates HR and People teams’ busy work. That’s hours, days, weeks of work downloading data from different systems, uploading them into spreadsheets, organizing, and so on. When you can have all that at the tip of your fingers, imagine how much time and energy you’ll have to actually identify opportunities for progress and growth or fix issues that need attention.
Intentional planning means cost-savings and boosts in productivity across your org. ChartHop helps to hire managers to tie open positions to budgets and product plans. With this alignment, you might realize that you only need to hire 8 engineers instead of 10, saving you up to half a million dollars.
By practicing continuous performance management, you can identify issues and create succession plans long before the person leaves. That saves you months of productivity lost from employment gaps.
Your final thoughts?
Ian White: One of our big mantras here is “you can’t change what you don’t know.” It drives everything our product does. And it’s also why we released our Charting Better Workplaces report that I mentioned earlier.
We believe that DEI is a huge issue that people are now talking about with heightened urgency. And we see businesses scramble to pull together new hiring plans and initiatives to combat bias.
But what they really need to do is think intentionally about metrics from the beginning. Own those numbers. Please share them with your employee base, your board, the public. When you say you’re going to work on your diversity problem, tie it back to your numbers, and share your goals. That’s how you build trust, accountability, and a healthy environment.
We are really excited to work with our customers on bringing their goals not just for DEI, but for their entire organizations, to life.
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