Hiring and retention platform WorkStep raises $25M to solve ‘supply chain labor crisis’
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The so-called “great resignation” is seemingly continuing apace, with some 4.5 million U.S. workers quitting their jobs in November alone. The quit rate was particularly high in sectors with a large number of frontline workers, such as retail, hospitality, and health care — something that WorkStep is hoping to address.
Founded in 2017, WorkStep is used by enterprises such as Kroger, WestRock, and Saint-Gobain to both hire and retain frontline workers across the supply chain, generating insights around employee sentiment to ensure that any concerns are addressed swiftly — before they start thinking about quitting. The company’s core promise is that it not only helps reduce staff turnover, but also saves on all the additional costs associated with re-hiring.
“WorkStep is helping global enterprises overcome the supply chain workforce shortage by enabling them to quickly and efficiently hire and retain frontline workers,” WorkStep cofounder and CEO Dan Johnston told VentureBeat. “Our technology is proven to reduce frontline worker turnover by up to 33%.”
Today, the San Francisco-based company announced that it has raised $25 million in a series B round of funding, as it doubles down on its efforts to help companies solve what it — and many others — are calling a “supply chain labor crisis.”
Hire and retain
WorkStep’s platform can be split into two broad products — Hire and Retain. Hire connects employers with industry-specific job seekers, with WorkStep aggregating candidate matches that have indicated their interest in a specific open role. The underlying matching technology inspects the requirements of the role, and finds suitable candidates from the WorkStep network.
In relation to a company’s broader tech stack, WorkStep nestles nicely in the HR and operations realm, integrating with companies’ HRIS (human resources information systems) and ATS (applicant tracking systems).
“The technology makes the value-added parts of hiring — reviewing candidates, conducting interviews, and making decisions — as easy as possible,” Johnston said. “And it automates the rest — scheduling interviews, sourcing candidates, and screening for job requirements.”
Above: Hire: Candidate profile
For the post-hiring phase, Johnston touts Retain as the “first-ever supply chain-specific workforce retention solution.” This translates into a dedicated application that helps employees give regular and anonymous feedback, which is aggregated for HR and senior management to monitor sentiment over time.
Above: WorkStep: Survey
The culmination of all of this is lots of valuable data across the hiring and employment stages, with anyone able to analyze figures around satisfaction versus industry benchmarks, retention, and responsiveness, while also observing how this shifts with any internal changes that are made.
“Through tracking the health of the frontline workforce in real-time, companies are then able to benchmark satisfaction and retention across the organization as a whole, or at an individual team or facility level and utilize WorkStep’s industry peer benchmark data to compare performance,” Johnston explained. “Additionally, WorkStep ties the feedback from frontline workers to outcomes by helping companies identify their real turnover reasons, and more importantly, fix them.”
And this is an important part of the data that WorkStep serves up — it doesn’t just tell you the “what,” it tells you the “why.” For example, through garnering ongoing feedback, companies can sees specific reasons as to why people are leaving — whether it’s safety concerns, pay, career growth expectations, or whatever else.
Above: WorkStep: Retain analytics
In terms of the types of “supply chain” roles WorkStep caters to, it’s really for any company that “makes or moves a physical product” — this covers manufacturing, warehousing, retail distribution, transportation, and more.
Building a happy workforce
There has been some notable activity across the broader employee engagement and retention sphere these past few years, with the likes of LinkedIn acquiring Glint back in 2018 for a reported $400 million, while just last year enterprise software giant Workday snapped up Peakon for a cool $700 million.
So why, exactly, is there so much demand for such tools? The answer is perhaps a simple one — a happy workforce that feels listened to, makes for a successful company.
“Frontline workers are more likely to stay at their current company if they feel heard by their employer,” Johnston said. “Our mission is to make the supply chain a better place to work for all — WorkStep is achieving this by facilitating a constant feedback loop between employers and frontline workers, and providing companies the opportunity to drive positive change to make their company a better place to work.”
Prior to now, WorkStep had raised around $17.2 million, and with another $25 million in the bank, the company is now well-financed to further scale its platform off the back of a recent growth surge which it said has seen its revenue grow more than three-fold over the past year.
WorkStep’s series B financing round was led by NewRoad Capital Partners, with participation from FirstMark Capital, Prologis Ventures, Social Capital, Quiet Capital, Latitude Ventures, and Engage VC.
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