A Chat with Rachel King, General Manager at Cloud-Based HR Software Platform: Breathe

Breathe is a cloud-based HR software platform founded in 2012. Our aim is to remove the needless friction and bureaucracy ingrained into HR admin. We’ve watched the HR role evolve into taking on a much more strategic and impactful role in overall business activity.

That’s why, by simplifying the HR processes, we hope to give SME employers the space to focus on their business goals and ensure they develop a positive, inclusive and diverse company culture. Ultimately, we want to help businesses free up their time to focus on what’s really important – their people.

What do you think makes this company unique?

We put our people at the heart of everything we do. For us, company culture is non-negotiable. We’re committed to creating a working environment where wellness is actively championed. At its core, Breathe is a people-first organisation. What this means is that we safeguard and support our employees. This is reflected in our three core values: people first, growth mindset and a can do attitude.

To support our mission, we create research to not only help other businesses, but also help us to better understand our own employees – a unique aspect of the sector we are in. Our recently published People First Culture Series set out to address big questions around the state of employee wellbeing and how this links to company culture. For example, we found that presenteeism has exacerbated due to the pandemic and work from home and hybrid-working policies. 65% of workers said they are less likely to take sick leave when working from home – this proves there are problems surrounding company culture and working life, something at Breathe we are actively trying to combat both within our team and for other businesses.

How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

Within 10 years Breathe has evolved into a company with an established network of over 675 HR partners and we work with more than 9,000 customers in the UK. Excitingly, in 2020, Breathe was bought by ELMO Group, an Australian HR software company.

Our hard work in the HR sector has been recognised and we’ve won awards, such as being an outstanding company to work for in 2022 and placing in the top 50 in the HR products category at the Best Software Awards 2022.

What can we hope to see from Breathe in the future?

Given the success and quality of information we gained from The People First Culture Series, we will be sharing more reports in the series and supporting SMEs in navigating these changes.

An area that we have found particularly pertinent, especially following the various lockdowns, is the evolving role of leadership in HR and the change in its function as we adapt to post-pandemic work trends. HR traditionally occupied a very specific area of business responsibility. However, now it’s well and truly coming out of its box, as leaders turn to HR teams to make business-focused decisions that move beyond the usual disciplinary action and personnel management activity.

Our aim is to empower employees and deliver businesses with information and great solutions that they can use to take away any HR admin tasks and ultimately better their company culture.


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