Adding a new employee to a team tends to involve more than saying “You’re hired!” and tossing them into the company Slack. You’ve got to get them trained, ship them any hardware they might need, get them set up on all of your internal tools and check in regularly to make sure everything is going smoothly. Then there’s a whole separate process to follow when someone leaves, unless you want to find out that the guy who left a year ago still digs around in the company back end sometimes.
It’s easy enough to keep track of in a spreadsheet when you’re a small team growing one or two hires at a time — but when you start to grow rapidly, that spreadsheet can become a maze. As the processes grow more complicated and more people are involved, it’s easy for steps to get skipped along the way.
Gather, a company out of Y Combinator’s Summer 2020 batch, is building a tool specifically meant to help automate and streamline these types of “people ops” tasks, providing an at-a-glance view of the process at each step of the way.
Gather taps your existing employee databases on services like ADP and Gusto, turning information or changes in these databases into workflows, reminders and tasks via Slack.
When a new employee is added, for example, it can kick off an onboarding workflow that pings their manager to remind them of their start date, and messages the security team to let them know they’ll need accounts set up. It can help to set up an “onboarding buddy” and send said buddy tips on how to get their new hire up to speed. A few days after the hire’s start date, it can message them to make sure they’ve read through the various orientation documents. It can provide a timeline style overview of to-dos for each employee, letting you quickly check to make sure nothing got skipped along the way — and see who might need a reminder.
Someone’s five-year work anniversary is approaching? It can remind their manager to drop them a note of congratulations and maybe send a gift. When someone is about to return from parental leave, Gather can ping their teammates to let them know to get ready. Or when someone is leaving the company permanently, it can reach out to the folks who need to know and set up tasks like ensuring their internal accounts are shut off and their equipment is accounted for.
Gather’s co-founders Alex Hilleary, Brooks Sime and John Wetzel met during a fellowship with Venture for America, the program founded by Andrew Yang that aims to help recent college graduates learn to build companies by placing them at startups in cities like Birmingham, Charlotte, Miami and Philadelphia. As they watched companies grow, Hilleary tells me, they started “recognizing how important People Ops is. In our respective roles, we had the toolkits that we needed to scale communications and relationships — like for sales and marketing, you have CRMs. […] We started talking to a bunch of people in People Ops, and they just don’t have these same sorts of tools for themselves. They have nothing that helps them scale their communication and coordination, and that’s one of the key pain points of why a company can’t scale their culture from like 30 people to 300. The People Ops teams just don’t have the tools they need to make it work at scale.”
The team is currently running a private pilot with a handful of companies. They’re still working out exactly what they’ll charge for Gather, though they tell me they expect to charge on a per-employee, per-month basis. Interested in checking it out? You can find more details here.