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HR tech company Workhuman looks to build employee connections amid pandemic

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Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Eric Mosley, the CEO of Workhuman, discuss how his company is helping employers address mental health amid the pandemic.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: The software company Workhuman is just the second Irish-based company to achieve unicorn status. And they did it during the pandemic with big name clients, including Cisco, GE, LinkedIn, and Procter & Gamble. The company has seen strong demand for its services. Joining me now is founder and CEO of Workhuman, Eric Mosley. Eric, good to see you. Look, you've got a lot of Fortune 500 companies as clients. What are they doing? How are they looking to your technology to help them better engage their employees?

ERIC MOSLEY: Well, it's been a very difficult environment for all companies over the last year, obviously. And what big companies have found is that there's a decaying of culture in their companies. As all of their employees have to work from home, they're not having that social connection anymore. And so, the relationships-- and every company's built on a lot of relationship infrastructure. And when that starts to fall apart, the culture starts to decay.

So companies are seeing this. They're finding that their morale is dropping. The CDC said that half of American adults are finding these times very stressful and are suffering from mental health issues. Our own research shows that 42% of workers are feeling lonely and stressful and feeling a form of isolation in this work from home world. So our platform allows employees to recognize one another and to talk to one another regularly. It reminds them to check in with each other. And that creates human connection, which helps to build back some of those relationships that have been lost over the last year.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: What are some real world ways that CEOs can help their employees stay mentally fit during this pandemic and beyond this period? Because I think the pandemic has really shone a light on an area that CEOs maybe didn't spend a lot of time thinking about prior to this crisis.

ERIC MOSLEY: Yeah, definitely. It's not that anything has changed with the workforce or with people. You know, employees are human beings. And they have a need for connection. They have the need to feel valued in their work, to feel that they're part of a community. And a time like this has just shown how important that is and brought it to life.

You're also coming through a time where in the past, management was all about command and control. You know, I tell you what to do. You do it by this time. Now it's moved more to inspiration. It's moved more to social democratized management. So the number one thing that a manager or a leader of a company can do is enlist the help of their employees to motivate each other, to make sure that they get connected, that they recognize the work that each other does, to just cover their company in this kind of goodwill between employees.

You create a sense of community, of togetherness. And that-- you can't do that alone. A manager can't do that on his own or her own. You have to enlist everybody's help. And you create a deep culture where people are much more motivated. They're much freer to do the best work of their lives when they're happy. You know, you have to make your employees happy and content. And you do that by providing their core human needs. Make a more human workplace. Make sure they feel valued. Make sure they feel connected to each other. And when that happens, then they do the best work.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Eric, that all sounds wonderful, but how are people and companies using your technology to do that?

ERIC MOSLEY: Yeah, so we have a platform of human applications, which is basically the main bedrock of that is gratitude. It's recognition. It's a software application that allows employees to thank one another when they see a job well done. We also have an application that allows for performance management in a much more social way, much more continuous way, and make sure that employees talk to each other. They're reminded to check in with each other.

Harvard did a great study where they found that the employees who checked in with their managers were much more productive. But it didn't even have to be about work. Those check-ins could have been about anything, about the weather, and their productivity still went up because eye contact, interacting with another human being, is what gives us all a kind of a self-worth, a connection with others. And that's when we do much better work.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: And that's been so tough to do, right, during this time of having to be socially distant and working through Zooms and Google Hangouts and all of that, I want to get to the business side of things because I know you were getting very close to a billion dollars in revenue. I know you're still a private company. But can you share with us at all if you've reached that milestone or when you hope to?

ERIC MOSLEY: Well, we will certainly reach that milestone this year. Because what we found in the last 12 months was our business took off. It was big multinational companies have hundreds of thousands of employees all over the world. And suddenly, we're in a situation where everything was kind of falling apart from a human capital perspective.

And they reached out to us. We were able to help them with a platform to allow this human connection to flourish, to create a more human workplace. And so, what we found, we had growth rates in specific months last year that we've never had in the 20 years of our company's history. It was just an avalanche of companies wanting to reach their employees and lift them and connect them. And obviously, that was fantastic for us.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: In the iteration before you were Workhuman, the company was called Global Force. And I know you came very close to going public back in 2014, but you thought the market conditions were not real conducive, so you didn't at that time. I opened this piece by talking about the fact that you're just one of two unicorns coming out of Ireland. I know you're co-headquartered in Massachusetts, but also in Dublin, Ireland. Are you looking at taking the company public any time soon?

ERIC MOSLEY: Yeah, it would certainly be certainly something in our plans over the next couple of years. We certainly don't need to do it from a financial perspective, where we don't need to fund our operations or our growth. We're growing very well, and we're profitable and cash flow positive. So it's not an urgent thing that we need to do. But I would say that over the next year or two, that's the natural evolution for us.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right, we keep-- we will look forward to following your journey and talking to you then, if not before. Eric Mosley, CEO of Workhuman, thanks so much.

ERIC MOSLEY: Thank you.