CEO INTERVIEW : WeLinkTalent - How HR Tech can drive financial performance through employee retention
New Success Stories
CEO and Co-Founder - WeLinkTalent
Please share with us briefly what you do.
WeLinkTalent started in 2015 as a Strategic Recruitment and Executive search firm, very much as a boutique HR consultancy firm. Since two years, we are developing an HR SaaS that is a Referral Solution for internal recruitment, enabling to discover hidden talents, engage and improve employee experience and build up the internal retention pool. Changing our know-how and becoming a software developer and distributor was much bigger than expected. Every sprint has its lots of Challenges, solutions, new developments, back to basics, keep it simple, repeat cycles.
What were you doing before this?
I started my career in Banking (Merger & Acquisition, then Wealth Management) before joining the recruitment business in 2005 in Switzerland. I arrived in Singapore end 2012 to grow some business in South East Asia (Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines). Then I was the regional director for South-East Asia servicing organisation in the talent space.
Describe your product. How does it work?
Our Software leverages internal opportunities such as Internal Mobility, Global Project Recruitment, Leadership development programs or Project-based assignments to empower employees to drive their careers internally. This solution is fully automated and enables organisation to get selected shortlist of internal employees. This selection is made by internal sponsors engaging their reputation about the right match between the opportunity and the individual. The innovation resides in the addition of this sponsor that acts as a mentor and tends to get ownership of the recruitment process.
What are the key benefits?
The main benefit is to reduce attrition hence to lower the turnover cost (100 to 200% of annual salaries for people earning more than 60’000USD). We improve the retention by first pushing internal opportunities and discovering people which the organisation doesn’t want to lose to the competition. This identification happens between 6 to 12 months before those employees might be looking for external opportunities. Based on financial simulation, reducing attrition have a substantial impact on EBIT.
Additional benefits reside in the process automation, with a time-to-fill reduced by a month, internal resources are divided by 3 for each process, and the engagement of employee increase fundamentally. Meaning that Hiring manager time spent on hiring is minimal (creating an opportunity and selecting shortlisted candidates only)
WeLinkTalent SaaS will help organisations to change the internal vs external recruitment ratio, hence lowering talent acquisition cost by recruiting fewer senior people.
On the humanity side, it’s an inclusive tool, working bottom-up, and avoiding any diversity bias.
Who are your closest competitors?
Our closest competition to date is HRMS software that uses traditional internal job boards to enhance mobility and internal HR processes. Another case we are facing is that the organisation tend to overlook the intangible benefits.
Another competitor in the internal mobility space is Gloat, working on a different approach.
Who is your first customer, and how did that happen? What were they using before this, and why did they switch?
We are still at the POC stage, and our first deployment has been with one of the leading logistics company, to test the concept. We are looking for three more POC to launch by year-end.
What motivated you to start this business?
Since 2009 and the global financial crisis, the recruitment business became extremely transactional; we no or little added value as the main criteria is to be as reactive as possible to place candidates. Additionally, companies tend to lower their recruitment budget and are using different methodologies to internalise this function (RPO, LinkedIn recruiter, internal recruitment teams, internal referral schemes…). Also, assessments, onboarding, and different HR tools if used in synergy, can help the organisation to internalise most of their recruitment. Hence we decided to bring a solution that can enable companies to automate all those recruitments by enhancing the process and empowering employees.
What is your biggest sacrifice to make this work?
My biggest sacrifice has been to my kids, being an entrepreneur is challenging, and need to put a lot of effort to get things moving. We took career risks, financial risks to create and innovate. After two years of development, we start to feel the momentum and potential of the project.
How did you get funded?
We had two sources of funding, the main one has been our recruitment business and the second has been through friends and family. We are thinking about fundraising next year as we can prove the market/product fit, as well as having client feedbacks.
Describe a typical workday
We are developing our tool on two weeks sprints; hence, we are keeping our agility to focus on features and what the client wants. Daily we have a stand-up committee to ensure the team is clear on what needs to be prioritised. Then it’s a lot of face to face meetings to showcase our solution and do some demo.
Who has been the greatest influence in your business and why?
Most HR people have been very supportive of the idea as it is employee-centric. Besides, many of our clients have been interested and helping us on our features, on the capabilities and how this could fit their organisation. The development has been entirely made for and with our users. Another great influence is a development group I m part of called APM who have been constructive and willing to give us pieces of advice and an ideal soundboard.
What has been your proudest moment in the history of your business, and why?
We had a few interesting discussions about our methodology with renowned PHDs in France. They agreed that we follow the Gift Theory of Maurice Mauss, this theory demonstrates that relationships are created thanks to four pillars: our capacity to ask, to give, to receive and to give back. Our solution is based on these human principles. The second one is coming from France, as recruitment algorithm will be regulated or forbidden for discrimination issues; hence our human intelligence process is an alternative to the current recruitment algorithm.
What is your favourite business failure (and what did you learn from it)?
In the beginning, we thought the sale cycle could be 4 to 6 months; we completely failed in this assumption. We now know that its s more around 12months as bigger organisation has many levels to clear before trying an innovative concept.
If you could go back in time to speak to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell him/her?
Start on your own early; I am 41 with two kids, stakes are high. And as you need to fail as fast as possible a few times, the earliest the better.
What’s one productivity hack you can’t live without?
WhatsApp, my wife, says I’m addicted, our job is all about communicating effectively, making things happen. Through emails, it would have taken much longer.
Then to be systematic and ensure to review all aspects every week as you might lose focus because of a specific event, and you might regret this if something goes wrong for too long.
Where can people find out more about your product offerings and you online?
We are currently under patent application; hence there is no much public presentation; however, we have a business deck that we can share with interested companies.
More about Emmanuel :
- First job: M&A Analyst in Singapore in 2003
- Someone you admire: My Wife
- Favorite book: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – Visionary.
- Favorite Film: The ones that make me laugh
- Favorite Music: Classical to resource, Rock and Disco to Party.
- Favorite author: Ray Dalio
- Favorite Gadget: My smartphone
- Last holiday: Canada a few weeks back, Mauritius next month
- When you are not at work, where can we most likely find you? With my kids, wife and friends, mainly outdoor cooking or golfing.
For more information, please contact:
M: + 65 92 444 170 (WhatsApp) / E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit WeLinkTalent or email them at email@example.com
WeLinkTalent is now the exclusive partner of IESF - International Executive Search Federation