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TecHRseries Interview with Ethan Winchell, Co-founder and COO at Truework

As remote work picks up pace and more companies look to hire globally diverse teams, there will be more competition in the job market. For businesses to attract the best quality candidates from a global talent pool, HR teams that help deliver great customer and employee experiences, through their choice of HR Tech stacks, will be the ones with a competitive advantage. Ethan Winchell, Co-founder and COO at Truework shares more in this interview

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Tell us a little about yourself Ethan …since setting up Truework, how has the journey been; what were some of the biggest challenges the team / you faced when first setting up?

Seeing what my teammates at Truework create and achieve day in and day out is the most exciting part of the journey… by far. The challenge, always, is how to maintain laser focus, and then effectively communicate that focus. Initially, one of our core challenges was wondering if we picked the right thing to focus on first. Since then, it’s evolved into determining how we communicate our focus, in the form of strategy and goals, to the whole company so we get out of people’s way and let them create to the best of their abilities.

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What new innovations and add-ons do you have planned for the platform to help more businesses cope with changing workplace policies due to the Covid-19 pandemic? How are you seeing HR Tech as an industry cater to changing business needs during this time?

The most successful businesses of the last quarter century have one thing in common: they obsess over customers. Apple and Amazon are good examples of the power a limitless ceiling of great customer experiences can unlock. Traditionally, however, B2B applications have different users and buyers. Because of this delineation, customer experience is sometimes overlooked. Increasingly, however, HR teams are realizing that if their primary goals are employee attraction, retention, and productivity, customer experience IS employee experience. At Truework, we continuously focus on innovation that benefits the employee and allows HR teams to bring these innovations to their employee populations.

 As the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic play out over the next few months, what will the core needs of businesses be from their HR Tech Stack according to you?

Well, looking at the last few months, it’s clear that whatever we think today will probably be very different from what reality looks like in three months. In the absence of certainty, businesses need to focus on customization and adaptability. It’s not about ‘’What features does your HR Tech Stack have?” It’s about: How adaptable is your technology to change?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think the top must-haves / features a mid to large sized company’s HR Tech stack should cater to.

I’m biased, but I think the features have to revolve around securing your organization, enabling employee usability, and ensuring productivity. Here are three questions to keep in mind:

  1. Does your HR Tech Stack connect to your IT organization to enable secure onboarding/offboarding and permissioning to your company’s different services?
  2. Do employees have self-serve access to common tasks, such as updating their address, printing off important documents for travel, apartment rentals, etc.?
  3. How do you make your organization great at continuous feedback loops that reveal blockers and strengthen relationships?

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How do you see this pandemic impact the global talent marketplace – work cultures and lifestyles?

The levels of unemployment right now are unprecedented. On the whole, the U.S. remains the place with the most talented and skilled workers. We need to continue to build and invest in systems that press this advantage. The bifurcation between who is, and isn’t, losing their job right now is quite sharp. The digital economy continues to thrive, while brick-and-mortar struggles immensely. How can we re-skill and connect these amazingly talented people to opportunities in the modern economy? For the already educated and skilled knowledge workers, we will see competition increase across geographies, and local governments will invest heavily in attracting these remote knowledge workers. While the infrastructure to support this is generally OK, we should continue to invest in mobile and wireless broadband networks to reduce the barriers to this way of work. I believe we will still have corporate hubs and/or offices where people gather physically to share ideas and connect emotionally, but also, it is and will continue to be important to find ways to leverage the positives that individual autonomy around geography and time schedules creates.

What top tips would you share with companies who are still on hiring sprees, what should they be doing more of to boost their hiring process during a pandemic, to streamline onboarding and training and expand employee engagement while being remote?

If you are on a hiring spree, recognize that you are in an advantageous position and treat it as such. You should be raising your hiring bar and using it as an opportunity to bring in talent that may have previously been unattainable. As your team grows, listen to people. No one knows how to respond to this situation, but people are resourceful, and if you take the time to emotionally connect with your team, you will find ways to meaningfully engage.

A few general thoughts / tips for businesses worldwide dealing with the current world pandemic?

Don’t panic. There may be cause to panic, that’s OK. You may have fear and anxiety, and that’s OK too. Sit with those feelings, realize they are valid — we are in a global pandemic — but not always helpful. The businesses that are able to adapt in light of ever-changing information, remain compassionate to the human side of the circumstances, and keep composure and focus will have the best chance to come out the other side.

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Truework

Truework saves HR teams time and money by automating employment and income verifications (VOE/VOI) while putting consumers in control of their personal data. Companies can improve their employee experience by helping employees more easily get approved for important transactions (e.g., apartment rentals, loans, mortgages, etc.). Founded by Ryan Sandler, Ethan Winchell and Victor Kabdebon in 2017, the company is backed by Sequoia Capital, Khosla Ventures and others, and has raised $45 million to date.

Ethan Winchell is the Co-founder and COO at Truework