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Anastasia Yefimenko, PeopleForce: “companies often believe that modern solutions are not responsive to customer needs”

Long-held prejudgements about the HR department are changing. Lately, it’s been acknowledged for its significance in creating strategic value for the business and so increases the interest in HR software.

HR software is a tool made for HR professionals to store employees' data, so it could be easily managed in one place. These tools usually include an employee database, an applicant tracking system, job offers, onboarding and offboarding options, candidate screening tests, leave and paid time off (PTO) tracking, performance management, 1-on-1, 180 and 360-degree feedback, employee net promoter score (eNPS), project planning, reporting and analytics and many more.

Cybernews invited Anastasia Yefimenko, COO of PeopleForce, to share what HR management options are available nowadays, and how can this software be used when most of the teams are working remotely.

How did the idea of PeopleForce come to life? What has your journey been like?

The idea of building the HRM platform as a matter of fact came to us during the working process. We originally started with an outsourcing team back in 2019 and soon enough realized how HR routine processes could be inefficient and time-consuming even for the small team we had.

There is an overwhelming number of HR tools out there that are solving different areas of businesses, however integrating these solutions together, creating a unified employee experience, and dealing with multiple vendors is a pain even for a professional. That’s why we started to build our own HRM and while developing such a powerful product we thought it could actually help other businesses that are struggling with the same challenges.

We have been growing exponentially since we officially launched PeopleForce. Now we are aiming to become kind of a hub for HR. Due to the variety of our products, we provide our customers with everything they need in one solution. In 2021 PeopleForce raised $700,000 in our second round of investment, now in April 2022 we continued to expand in the West and just got ourselves into the portfolio of one of the biggest venture companies in Europe and Poland, Grupa Pracuj. So basically, we are on the upscaling point of our journey to the Western markets. Our team is 90% Ukrainian, also we have offices in the United Kingdom and the Philippines.

Can you introduce us to your HR software? What are the main problems you help solve?

PeopleForce is designed to build high productivity within the team. It consists of 6 separate full-fledged modules, which can be flexibly customized to the needs of the client. Each module is responsible for a specific set of functions required by an HR professional or recruiter, gathered in one place for ease of use. At the moment PeopleForce works as a product IT company, on the SaaS model for any type of business, from startups to large enterprises.

Our features include automation of the recruiting and hiring process from first contact to signing a job offer, candidate assistance and onboarding, management of employee daily tasks, leave management, pulse surveys, performance management, time-tracking, case management, and much more. Separately, more than 40 reports and real-time analytics are worth considering. All this makes PeopleForce some kind of hub for any HR professional.

Our main goal is to help companies free up their time to focus on people instead of routine work. PeopleForce helps build a high-performance culture and all possible HR processes in one place.

Even though there are so many human resource management options available nowadays, why do you think certain companies still hesitate to upgrade their operations?

Since each company has certain established processes in place, sometimes it can be difficult to understand that all of this can and should be automated in a few days. Moreover, customers who come to us for the first time are often surprised at how much functionality modern solutions could have.

Automation reduces the amount of time spent on a single task, so the processes themselves become faster and clearer. There is another concern: companies often believe that modern solutions are not responsive to customer needs and questions. The truth is that listening to your customers and adapting your functionality to them is the first priority today. That's why we hope that more and more people will get acquainted with user-friendly HRM solutions for recruiting and business, for a better understanding that customer service and experience come first.

How do you think the recent global events affected your field of work?

After three difficult years from the beginning of the pandemic to the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, we can already say that both HR and recruitment fields are changing exponentially. We see more and more companies looking to transform their processes quickly and efficiently, turning their attention to fast and affordable solutions in the market to implement that.

Here, the Western trends of minimalism, simplicity, responsive service, customer experience, and flexibility are just as evident. The world is changing towards remote work also, but at the same time, all the companies need to keep their teams together, monitor efficiency, and keep track of projects. That is why there is real growth in HRM/HRIS services going on.

Recently, maintaining creativity has been a serious struggle for some organizations. How can companies foster creativity and innovation when most of the workforce is working remotely?

Creativity can suffer for various reasons: stress level, unevenly distributed workload, multitasking, work-life balance, etc. Often employees can't be creative if they are smashed with lots of routine work, and they have to do many boring day-to-day tasks on top of everything else.

As an employer, it's in your power to change that, and the first action point from here is to alleviate daily work processes with proper automation tools. You’d be surprised how it can make your life either by taking away all routine tasks and organizing things clearly, so you have time to focus on what is truly important.

What else can be done to boost creativity in the team beyond that? Two ways possible: you either listen to your employees and their opinions on improving your team’s processes, or you respond to customer needs. In this format, the work proceeds with passion, giving rise not only to new ideas but also to a healthy brand attitude toward clients and the team. Of course, it is also important to follow trends within your field and be aware of new products and companies on the market.

In your opinion, what cybersecurity measures are essential for companies with a majority of remote employees?

First of all, companies should provide regular training with the cybersecurity team. People who work in public places or in places of joint use with non-employees should know and follow very specific corporate guidelines for handling their work devices or connections to corporate systems. It is also useful to include training on topics such as keeping passwords secure, the dangers of connecting to unprotected Wi-Fi networks, and the protection of confidential data.

It is also important to secure data access and to do this, we need to implement mandatory two-factor authentication for all users. Also, the GDPR is a mandatory regulation for companies handling European data, and ISO is an extension of an optional certification, which should be considered a priority in the organization of ISMS within the team.

These are the basics of cybersecurity that every modern, serious company should have. Of course, the system also requires regular security audits followed by the identification and immediate resolution of problems.

What do you think an average workplace is going to look like in the near future?

Since the global pandemic began, most of our team has been working remotely, but we've always looked positively at such changes. Our team is progressive, and we passionately follow the latest trends around the world regarding employee well-being. Working remotely can be a real benefit, it helps reduce commuting time, allows employees to be in familiar environments to decrease daily stress levels, and improves work-life balance.

Our company prefers so-called hybrid offices, so you can combine remote and office work to fit your needs. Our company has such a space, and it is really cool for either personal meetings with your colleagues or a comfortable working space outside your home.

We believe that in the future, models like that will become standard practice because it helps to take care of employees' well-being by creating a flexible and productive environment.

What would you consider the main practices companies should follow to strengthen their relationships with their employees?

We believe there are three affordable ways for every company of any size to do this. First, any top management needs to learn that the most important thing in a business environment is feedback from their employees. It is people who create the company; without the human factor, no process would simply run. So, the first step is pulse surveys. They are needed to collect proper feedback, measure it, and take action toward the company's improvement. It is necessary to have several questionnaires at hand and to monitor how the team is feeling and what their mood is on a regular basis.

The second way is the aforementioned well-being. This is a huge set of tasks to provide your employees with everything they need to keep them physically and mentally healthy. Working remotely doesn't mean you have to forget about your team’s daily needs. And the third is tracking employee satisfaction. If the team is happy with the actions and transparency of workflow and communication, your employer brand will be top-notch.

I would like to separately note the importance of involving employees in a transparent reporting & statistics process. There's nothing wrong with being honest with your team about the results and new challenges, and showing them the company's progress. Even if you can't improve processes and numbers immediately, it's a plus for your employees' engagement. If the team sees how much it contributes to the results for the period, each employee feels directly involved.

Would you like to share what’s next for PeopleForce?

We are planning to expand into new markets and hire key roles within the team to help us scale the business. On the product side, as previously mentioned, we have some really exciting features that we will be releasing later this year to offer truly unique functionality to our customers.

With our variety of different products, we provide customers with a truly all-in-one solution for HR to cover areas, such as HR, recruitment, employee engagement, and performance reviews. PeopleForce is solving these challenges within our core markets in Western Europe. Here we see opportunities to engage with businesses that need support along their HR transformation journey.

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