When you think about the workforce sector you might not immediately see how product fits into the equation. But just like any other sector, the modern workforce is changing rapidly to embrace the advantages of the latest technology to improve processes and efficiencies – making the lives of both employees and employers easier.
The modern workplace is the backbone of our economy – from start-ups to government agencies and large enterprises – and the employees that work within are the engine that keeps the business running.
In order for a business to manage an efficient, happy and engaged workforce, there are a huge number of processes required – from payroll to rostering, health and safety, and employee development. This is where the power of product is vital, in developing the right technology and solution that can cater to businesses throughout the employee lifecycle.
ReadyTech is one company whose products are making an impact on the way Australian and New Zealand businesses are managing their workforce.
ReadyTech exists to help communities thrive. From education and workforce management to local communities, government, justice systems and beyond, they create people-centric technology that helps make the complex simple.
In the Workforce Solutions sector, they offer a variety of cloud-based workforce management solutions that keep HR and payroll data up-to-date and ensures more than 2400 Australian and New Zealand businesses recruit, develop and pay the right people, at the right time, every time.
Their Ready Workforce platform is an all-in one cloud solution that empowers businesses with payroll, HR, time and attendance and leave management anytime, anywhere. The intuitive and powerful software caters to the full employee lifecycle, from recruitment to retirement.
The soon-to-be-released Ready People is a newly developed employee self-service app that serves to equip employees with the flexibility to request leave, access payslips, and update personal information on-the-go. The app is designed to free up resources and reduce the admin burden on the payroll and HR functions.
We spoke to Sharon Schwarzkopf, Head of Product at ReadyTech, to get more insight into how a product team working within workforce functions.
We have a portfolio of four products in the Workforce Solutions business from outsourced payroll services, online recruitment or an all-in-one employee management software, each of those products has a dedicated team working on it.
Within each product team there is a product manager, up to eight developers, quality assurance, and – where appropriate – a team-dedicated product designer.
This team structure does depend on the current objectives and needs for that specific product, such as increasing employee engagement or getting to product market fit for a specific industry. The product managers drive the team roadmaps according to set objectives aligned to company objectives, as well as the product strategy overall.
Any product managers collaborating within the product development team work closely with cross-functional stakeholders, speak to clients, participate in pre-sales discussions, understand the customer problems to be solved, drive product deliverables, and importantly work closely with marketing for go-to-market (GTM) activities.
These product managers are driving inbound and outbound activities, so they are part of the product team and the GTM teams.
We currently don’t have any business analysts or product owners, as we moved to a structure whereby all those roles now roll up into the product manager position. We learned that enabling the product manager to drive value all through discovery, delivery, and optimisation, allows for better exposure and empathy to customer and stakeholder needs, bringing the user voice right into the day-to-day activities.
They are, although the recent growth we have had in the product team allows us to now focus on product-led initiatives. These functions are set to grow into product development teams that drive value across the portfolio.
All our products cater to the same base users and personas: the finance, HR and recruitment managers. This allows us to collaborate across products that each serve a different need, but piece together all the learnings, solutions, needs and feedback to help us continuously improve and develop the product for the end user.
Within Workforce Solutions, the product team is responsible for making sure we create value for our customers in solving their problems. This includes listening to feedback and customer needs across the business, while balancing both upselling and expansion in the workforce sector, and – just as importantly – innovating and reimagining the future of ReadyTech.
If you imagine the way people are working now – whether they’re in the healthcare sector, logistics warehouse or an office. Compared to a couple of years ago, it’s vastly different and still changing.
Employees’ habits are changing, the way they want to work and have access to information is different, and that’s why we must listen and adapt to what real ‘value’ is to our customers and try to anticipate and deliver it.
It’s a real balancing act in keeping customers happy, prospects excited, and staying relevant in the industry – and it’s what drives our long-term strategy as well as our day-to-day activities.
Of course, and that’s what makes this role both challenging, motivating, and rewarding. The constant tides and changes in the needs of these forces make the product team’s work very dynamic and exciting.
In a B2B business such as ReadyTech that is expanding and growing rapidly, the product team needs to stay at the centre of things to better understand which problems are most worthy of solving for our customers – solving the right problems with the right product solution that will make the biggest impact and be scalable.
We also need to work in close partnership with the other teams, such as customer success, marketing, support, development, sales, professional services and leadership. If we can connect the dots of needs voiced by these teams and make decisions based on structured feedback, data and insights, then the product team is in an ideal position to deliver value to our customers.