When we last saw Zenefits, the company essentially handed off one of its initial core selling points — insurance brokerage — to partners. Since that rebrand rolled out, Zenefits seems to be following the sort of drip-drip-drip of updates that many startups trying to create a sort of "home" for a core employee experience utilize.
That continues today with the launch of performance tracking for employees, which has been built in-house as it looks to pick off niches on its effort to become a one-stop shop for HR in small businesses. That includes reviews, goals, and the company says will eventually also incorporate check-ins and peer reviews. At smaller companies, these may often seem to be oversights or afterthoughts, but Zenefits seems to want to streamline the process and introduce these kinds of sophisticated corporate behaviors into smaller businesses.
Part of the reason the company handed off insurance brokerage amid its big rebranding was also to help it grow up with companies. As startups and small businesses get bigger and bigger, it made more sense to start working with local brokers or other providers to handle their insurance. CEO Jay Fulcher at the time said this was a sticking point that led to potential risks of companies graduating out of the platform, so to speak, as they may have felt duct-taped to that as an entry fee.
“This request has come up repeatedly from our customers, and really came to light as a result of surveying over 300 customers in Q2 this year, where more than 93% showed interest in this area,” COO Jeff Carr said. “With customers changing their perception of Zenefits as their HR partner as opposed to just their broker, we wanted to ensure we were delivering on that with increased functionality.”
So as Zenefits grows with these smaller businesses, they'll increasingly be asking for tools like this as the org chart gets bigger and bigger. Zenefits is increasingly tapping partners to deal with some of the nitty-gritty that it doesn't want to handle. But it also needs to identify some of the low-hanging fruit that it should pick off on its own if it wants to fit into the kinds of daily use cases and activities of businesses and HR managers.