Interview with Ben Thompson, CEO at People Management Platform: Employment Hero

Employment Hero is a fully integrated recruitment, HR, payroll and employee benefits cloud-based software. The platform connects and empowers over 6,000 businesses and their collective 250,000 employees worldwide with a suite of powerful employment features. We take the hard work out of people management so employers can grow their teams and businesses with confidence.
HR Software, Payroll & Benefits Platform • Employment Hero

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

Technology has been a love of mine since I was young. It started with digital watches and VCRs and evolved with my first computer – it’s been only up since then. I started my career in Sydney’s finance scene and moved to the UK to work with startups. When I moved back to Australia I found my way into employment law which I found incredibly rewarding and learned a few fundamental truths, no one starts a business to be an employer, and most are ill-equipped to manage employment properly.

Employment law is complex. The reality is, in most parts of the world, if you’re an employer and you get it wrong, it can ruin your life. And I saw this happen all the time… I was sick of seeing hard-working small businesses lose everything just because they didn’t know any better. With SMEs making up 90% of the world’s businesses, they’re the backbone of our economy and yet often get left to figure things out by themselves.

When I was thinking about this, another thing became clear – I didn’t want to work for anyone else. So, how could I help fix the complexities of employment for SMEs, combine this with my love of technology and build the dream from the ground up?

And so the idea of Employment Hero was born. I joined forces with CTO, Dave Tong, and the two of us went on to establish Employment Hero in 2014. From inception we have experienced an incredible 100% YoY growth for Employment Hero, winning multiple awards along the way. In 2020, we launched the platform internationally and added a new PEO service, Global Teams, as part of the product offering.

Employment complexity is a universal problem. No one starts a business to be an employer and most are ill-equipped to manage employment successfully. We understood this and developed a platform with the tools to help. Our goal is to deliver these tools to every employer and employee on the planet and make them as great as they can be.


How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of employment management software by roughly five years, as teams adjusted to remote work.

On top of that, we doubled the number of our full-time employees to 200 last year, and we launched versions in New Zealand, the U.K., Malaysia and Singapore.

During the pandemic, we also launched a new service called Global Teams to help manage distributed workforces. It serves as a professional employer organization (PEO), enabling companies to recruit new remote employees around the world, as well as automating regional compliance paperwork. Global Teams is integrated into the main Employment Hero platform, so remote employees have access to the same resources as their colleagues.

This will be more important than ever as life returns to ‘normal’ after this pandemic. Already we are seeing reports in the UK of a shortage in digital skills – well Global Teams hopes to help both employers and employees get the roles they deserve based on their skill set, not just their location.

During the pandemic, we also launched a COVID-19 resource hub, including tools for the government’s JobKeeper payment scheme in Australia and regular employee wellness surveys. We also ran biweekly webinars with industry experts about employees’ rights to leave and pay, mental health and employee assistance programs, cashflow management, employer duty of care for remote work arrangements and live employment law.

As a company, we knew we had to do whatever it took to help our clients and the wider small and medium-sized business community through COVID-19 so we also introduced engagement and productivity features, like one-on-one coaching and other tools to improve communication and feedback for both employees and employers alike.

What can we hope to see from Employment Hero in the future?

We are also proud to say we secured over £25 million in Series D funding this year led by return investor SEEK, with participation from previous backers, OneVentures and AirTree Ventures, as well as our newest investor, Salesforce Ventures.

We’ve never been in a better position to step up to the global playing field. Employment Hero has established itself as one of the best, all-in-one HR, payroll, and benefits platforms in Australia, and we have a proven market fit for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). What better time to bring our powerful remote work solution to more of the world.

Funds raised from the Series D will support our continued growth in these markets and facilitate a significant push across Southeast Asia, reinforcing Employment Hero’s company’s mission to make employment easier and more rewarding for every SME worldwide.

These funds will allow us to continue building powerful features to simplify employment. It also enables us to reach more of the world. I started Employment Hero to help as many SMEs as possible and this is the next step in that journey.