This is part of our How We Work series, which focuses on how successful southeastern tech companies are developing authentic work cultures.
In 2017, fintech power player Payscape invested $50 million to expand their operations to 14 offices, adding 80 new hires in the past year with a goal of reaching 100+ this year. The payments company also made a move to Midtown to be closer to talent and strategic partners — all while processing 125 million transactions to the tune of $7 billion.
To keep up with this rapid growth and streamline the onboarding process, Payscape moved to revamp its human resources department by splitting it into two. Payroll will continue handling the admin tasks associated with hiring. To lead onboarding and maintain its six-time AJC top workplaces in Atlanta-winning culture, the company brought on Jordan Karst as HR Business Partner to take their culture to the next level.
“We’re growing and quickly becoming a bigger company as we get our name out there. I’m here to develop more structure while maintaining the culture that you see when you walk in here,” says Karst. “We want to support our current and future employees as we grow to the next phase.”
Karst’s new title, HR business partner, is key to that structure. Her position focuses on streamlining the onboarding process, bringing in more opportunities for team building and learning for its employees, career mapping, and further developing the culture within Payscape.
“What solidified it for me is when I came in for my actual in-person interview, following the initial phone call, you can just feel Payscape’s work culture when you walk through that door,” says Karst. “There’s a large emphasis on relationships and family. It puts a whole new spin and meaning on what family is at work. Culture’s a living breathing thing and this new position will help nurture that.”
Karst shares more on how Payscape continues to drive its values through culture, including volunteering, moving toward 360-degree performance reviews, and why it’s important that new employees get to shadow every department.
How does your newly-created position, HR business partner, inform the way Payscape does onboarding of new employees?
Prior to my position, human resources was a one-stop-shop where they handled anything and everything that came their way. With me coming on, the intent was to separate onboarding from payroll and benefits. We want to move away from the traditional thought behind HR.
When you think of HR normally, you know it’s usually not a pleasant experience — they usually come to you when there’s an issue. My goal personally coming into Payscape is to switch that view and be seen as a business partner and someone that you can come to for support and development as you grow within the company.
When it comes to recruiting, department heads usually head the hiring charge. How will you become more involved and streamline the process and message?
We still have a talent acquisition team in place that recruits for our biggest need — sales. With this new structure, each department head is becoming more responsible for their needs within their departments. It’s still a work in progress. As they have emerging candidates, not only do they meet with them, but every department lead checks in during the interview process to make sure they are a right fit.
It’s important that multiple people within the company get to talk with them and double check their culture fit. I will be present throughout the hiring process as well, then lead their onboarding process once hired and be their first point of contact from the offer to their last day here. It’s about enhancing and supporting their employee experience.
My goal is to have whoever walks through those doors to immediately feel like family — like they belong here, they have a place, a purpose, and a reason that they are here.
What does the first day look like for a Payscape employee?
I lead the new employee through the onboarding process prior to their arrival — from online paperwork to a welcome email. I communicate with them via phone the Friday before their start date to go over questions and give them a run down of their new team. During the first week, aside from training, they’ll sit down with each department and live and breathe what that department does to gain a better understanding of what Payscape is and what Payscape does.
Being an outsider coming into this industry, there are a lot of different layers to digest in a short amount of time. Shadowing a sales rep for one day and experiencing what that feels like has been helpful to understand what we do here and how it fits in our culture. My goal is to get whoever walks in through our door to see what all the other departments do because at the end of the day, we’re all working together to do one thing.
What goals do you have in mind going forward as Payscape enters its 2018 hiring spree?
My goal is to drive an enhanced culture through employee feedback and employee engagement. We had a survey go out prior to my onboarding asking more about the current state of the company and employee experience. We’re currently reviewing that data and have established a permanent suggestion box to encourage open communication so we can move forward with necessary adjustments.
These adjustments may include more learning opportunities, team building exercises, and opportunities to unwind as a team with happy hours.
How will you move to make performance reviews more approachable and holistic on both sides of the table — department heads and employees?
We’re working on refining our performance review process. I’m enhancing it further to reiterate how people can progress within their role and provide job enrichment and job enhancement and tie that into career mapping. As we’re entering our next phase of growth, we are going to provide more structure and direction for our employees.
We’re sitting down with department heads to get a basic understanding of what their wants and needs are out of doing a performance review and understand what questions would provide useful feedback for our employees to enable them to grow. Beyond that, we’ll move to reviews throughout the year versus annually so we receive 360-degree feedback, across-the-table communication, on the whole organization.
Philanthropy is a big part of Payscape’s culture and solidified within its values. What other opportunities does Payscape offer employees to get invested in their career?
Community service is a big push that we have across our whole scope — part of our seven values. We have an internal point system that encourages employees to give back and continue to get out there and help with non-profit organizations and programs.
Payscape is not only a fun place to work that’s both very energetic and family-oriented, but something that’s part of our mission statement that we’re big on is the entrepreneurial spirit. Here, employees are empowered to do their work and be their own boss. They’re able to, if they have an idea, to take it and run with it. We’ll support you and help build that up in any way possible.
In the startup environment, human resources has always been on the back burner. I’m here to help enable employees to follow that entrepreneurial spirit and take it where they want it. I want to be a good resource for them and someone that they can bounce ideas off of and someone that they can find support in, in anything that they need. As you onboard into our company and grow your career here, we want to create a partnership with you and build on that.
All photos courtesy of Payscape