ThinkHR CEO Pete Yozzo on Investment from Kennet Partners
1. We just announced that Kennet Partners has made a major investment in ThinkHR. What does this mean for ThinkHR and its stakeholders?
In today’s new benefits economy, the investment from Kennet Partners enables us to keep building ThinkHR and provide our partners with a real competitive advantage in the marketplace.
As CEO I care deeply about our partners and their clients, and this funding allows us to enhance and expand our services to them. To that end, we have a goal of putting a high quality human experience in every product we bring to market. Human experience is what has set ThinkHR apart from the beginning, and this new investment allows us to execute on our product roadmap in ways that I believe will have a huge impact in the market. ThinkHR has a fundamental commitment to a quality live experience and a sticky employee training solution, and now we can keep building on that strong foundation. Our goal is to continue to outpace the competition and the new investment helps to fuel this push.
2. You often talk about the importance of being innovative. What does that mean in terms of what ThinkHR offers its customers?
We are very focused on providing an incredible user experience for our partners and their clients. Continuous innovation is what allows us to deliver that cost effectively. We have to find ways to drive efficiency to create a better user experience with strong value for our partners. People call us with HR and workforce questions and we answer them all day long. They can’t believe such a great experience can be this inexpensive. That is the key—being able to deliver the highest quality user experience and giving people the information they need, when they need it, and in the ways that work for them. Again, innovation is at the heart of this value proposition.
3. The benefits industry is growing more competitive each day. How do you see the state of the industry now and ThinkHR’s growing role in it?
There’s no doubt that the benefits economy is rapidly evolving. ThinkHR’s role is to help its partners thrive in this fast changing, highly competitive environment. It’s hard for brokers to differentiate themselves in the benefits community, and our products allow them to do that in ways that are sticky for their clients. Not only do ThinkHR products and services help brokers increase the odds of closing business, our solutions increase their odds of retaining business.
Brokers are being called upon to do more and more things. Having unique services that are truly sticky—that become part of their clients’ business—is more important than ever. For instance, ThinkHR’s partners provide our employee training platform to their clients, usually at no charge. Training can be a big differentiator for our partners because it’s something that businesses rely on month after month to develop their workforce. That’s what I mean by truly sticky.
4. With so much good news at ThinkHR—funding, new products, expanding the workforce—what are you most excited about?
More than anything, I am excited about bringing new products to market and being able to solve more HR problems for both our partners and their clients, the end users.
When we started ThinkHR, we built the products that we wanted. Within the first 18 months, we started building the products that our partners wanted. We then started really listening to our partners, and they have led us to create the products that truly matter to them and their clients. Delivering on a great human experience is key to what our partners want to bring to their clients and we are in lock step with that. Our partners told us that their clients want someone to consult with and guide them, and so that is what ThinkHR provides. All of these great products have been possible because we started to listen carefully to our partners and the market, and respond accordingly.
5. What is ThinkHR’s focus going forward?
In addition to being relentlessly focused on helping our insurance and payroll partners to win and succeed, we will be putting even more emphasis on creating a first class experience for their clients, the end users. Did they get the answer they need? Did the training come out right? If we stay focused like a laser beam on that client user experience, we’ll continue to advance ThinkHR’s success.
A good example of focusing on a high quality client experience is our new state employee handbook builder. In developing this new product, we first asked ourselves some important questions: Is it enough to go online and build your handbook or are you going to want to talk to someone and talk through problems? Based on our research, we realized that users would want to have access to best practices and talk with someone who can provide advice on specific policies.
Ultimately, we want users to engage with us and to get off the phone and say, “Now that’s the way to build a handbook!” We would never think that creating an employee handbook is just an online, menu-driven thing. There is a need for a certain amount of human touch, and that’s what ThinkHR does better than anyone else in the market. I think that’s how we at ThinkHR have to define ourselves and continue to differentiate—by offering that highest quality, human touch that users love combined with the most efficient cloud-based technology. We help people solve problems in innovative, creative, unbelievably user friendly ways. By staying true to that brand promise, ThinkHR’s future will be even more successful than our past.