Turns Out, We Were Built for This


How a seemingly far-fetched vision became a saving-grace


When I joined SyncHR ten years ago, I did so because we shared a vision of revolutionizing a stalwart industry set in its ways. After decades in the HR space, I knew there was ample opportunity to make a significant impact on the way businesses approach their core people operations. 

But I had no idea all these years later just how important our work would become.

Originally, we wanted to help companies transform from soulless monoliths into people-centric organizations capable of sustainably building corporate cultures based on respect, opportunity, engagement, and transparency.  

The SyncHR HCM platform was designed to take advantage of emerging trends like cloud computing and systems integration to help HR teams work more efficiently and transparently to solve their biggest business challenges. Over the years organizations big and small, spanning industries and geographies, have used our purpose-built tools, extensive professional partnerships, and industry expertise to completely overhaul their everyday people operations.

Then COVID hit and turned everything we thought we knew about business transformation completely on its head virtually overnight. 

One day, the world was different

It’s not hyperbole to say the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally and completely changed the way organizations think and operate. Business leaders are scrambling to deal with suddenly remote workforces, tough decisions about furloughs or layoffs, and trying to figure out how their business will look on the other side of this crisis — assuming they even make it. 

Fact is, even the way we think and talk about business will be different. Favorite industry buzzwords — agility, engagement, and culture — are taking on whole new meanings that go far beyond what most (any) of us could have imagined even a few months ago. 

Business agility used to mean tweaking a process or two to address changes in the market back when “quickly” meant a few months. Engagement used to be something as simple as annual employee performance reviews, some training, and maybe some team building days. And culture was all about mission statements, catered lunches, and creating a “fun” work environment. 

Today, business agility means revamping your entire business model to serve a largely virtual market. Engagement encompasses everything from updating employees about the future of their positions, getting them acquainted with working from home, or periodically checking in on them out of sincere concern for their wellbeing. And culture seems now to be simply whatever shape the business will take as it moves through the crisis. 

Modern tools for agile, engaged HR teams

While we didn’t exactly build tools to cope with a global pandemic, we did create SyncHR specifically to address these very same concerns around agility, engagement, and culture brought on by increasing business velocity. 

That is, even before the crisis, business as a whole was changing much faster than most teams — and certainly most legacy HR systems — could handle. Which is why we opted for a cloud-native platform that emphasizes portability, simplicity, and scalability. 

More importantly, each SyncHR tool or feature is intended to help HR teams become more strategic partners to the business and serve as the heartbeat of the organization, rather than continuing on in the traditional support roles so many have held for years. 

It’s why we’ve taken great pains to differentiate our solutions from others by doing things much differently, such as:

  • Position-based architecture that streamlines the onboarding process and dynamically changes security and workflows as employees move in, out, and around the organization; it also provides an organization chart that can be accessed at any point in time and that doesn’t fall apart when someone leaves.  

  • Rich, real-time analytics for unique visibility into budgeted versus actual headcount and costs, including the ability to run “what if” scenarios to improve your resource allocation, project future needs, and fill roster holes faster.

  • Automated retro payments to eliminate the headaches (and mistakes) that come with manual processing required when new information comes to light after you’ve already committed your payroll — missed benefit deductions, hours adjustments, commissions that get calculated after the fact, despite you still needing to pay a weighted average overtime based on when they were earned and other factors. 

  • Built-in learning management to help you quickly develop customized training for your employees as they transition to a new work reality and auto-enrollment in required new compliance and/or industry training required as a result of the crisis. 

  • Engagement tools that keep managers and employees connected as often as they’d like to make sure personal and business goals are aligned, maintain high performance, and keep employees plugged into their work even if they’re no longer working from the office. 

The right time for a new beginning

The COVID-19 crisis is creating a seismic shift in the way businesses and organizations function. Those still using inflexible legacy HR and payroll systems — disjointed, on-prem, and siloed point products — and obsolete HR management practices will struggle to make it through the crisis while organizations using tools that emphasize agility and transparency will increase their chances exponentially of emerging from the crisis stronger. 

The world post-COVID will never be the same, but organizations can take action now to insulate themselves from further harm and position themselves to be more resilient, efficient, and competitive when this is all finally over. 

Contact one of our solutions experts to discuss how to make your organization more agile and resilient. Or join our free webinar Building Culture Where You Are: How Organizations Can Retain, Engage, and Inspire Morale Post-COVID-19 on June 10th.

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John Cuellar

John Cuellar

John is responsible for SyncHR’s product, engineering, and system operations teams. He is focused on streamlining the business processes related to HCM and finance by distributing SyncHR to all members of the workforce and by using patented security and workflow to control these developments. John is also responsible for delivering SyncHR as a cloud based application with “extreme ratio” financial metrics.

He has a background in engineering, workplace applications, and business administration, bringing over 25 years of experience deploying strategic HCM applications. Prior to co-founding SyncHR, John was the CEO of Harbor Technologies, since acquired by Mellon Financial Corporation. Previous to Harbor Technology Group, he spent an internship with the Swiss Bank Corporation in their derivatives pricing and trading group and also worked as a senior manager for the US Navy. John received his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and his Master of Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.

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