In The Ongoing Talent War, Is Retention More Important Than Recruiting?

For Max Farrell, the employee-employer relationship had been fundamentally flawed long before the “Great Resignation” made it a pressing topic for most companies.

“For the longest time companies just ‘recruited away’ their turnover challenges, which we’ve always seen as a really backwards approach to growing a business,’ he told Hypepotamus. 

His startup, Chattanooga-based WorkHound, has been helping companies with frontline transportation workers retain their current talent pool since 2015 with its data-driven feedback platform. 

“Companies now realize that retention is the new recruiting,” Farrell added. “Companies have to make a commitment to taking care of their people otherwise they won’t have any to show up for work.” 



Funding is also following this retention-focused trend. 

WorkHound announced today it has raised a $12 million Series A funded wholly by New York-based Level Equity. ​​Sarah Sommer, a co-founding partner at Level Equity, said the firm was drawn to WorkHound’s “leadership and team talent, scalability, and impact potential.” 

Farrell said that the team has been “lean and scrappy to date” and that the new injection of funds will help them build out their team and product roadmap.

Part of that is expanding verticals. While WorkHound started with a focus on professional truck drivers, Farrell said that the platform will grow to help manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain, and logistics companies retain talent.

Retention is big business. And startups like WorkHound are part of a growing number of tech-focused solutions in the talent retention space. 

Many of those are rethinking incentive structures inside the workplace. Companies like Atlanta-based Cooleaf are tackling the retention problem through its experience platform that measures employee sentiment. 

Recently, Atlanta-based TTV Capital expanded its reach into the employee benefits space when it led a $5.4 million seed round in Seattle-based PTO Exchange. As its name suggests, the “self-directed” platform makes it easy to swap accrued PTO days into liquid assets.

That might look like turning PTO days into student loan payments, donations, or travel rewards.

“We’ve seen the changing nature of the employee-employer relationship over the past five or six years, and you’ve seen a lot of change in the nature of payroll and benefits,” TTV Capital partner Sean Banks told Hypepotamus. “When a concept like PTO exchange came around…that was very, very appealing to us.”

TTV Capital has invested in the WorkTech space and the growing trend of early-wage access through its previous investment in Instant Financial.