Welcome to another edition of WTF-2020 How to Pivot in the COVID-19 Shit Show with your host on the TotalPicture Podcast, Peter Clayton. Today, we’re focusing on an HR Tech Startup called Roots.

You know who’s gone bonkers since Covid-19 besides the usual suspects like Amazon and Instacart? Slack. Think about it. What if you could run your entire HR organization on Slack, with no bulky software or candidate tracking systems? In today’s remote work world where Slack is king, that’s the vision my guest today Kevin Corliss, CEO of Roots (formerly Treehoppr — huh? WTF? Treehoppr?)

Here’s what’s cool: Kevin’s startup offers a set of modular and employee-friendly HR solutions for Slack that track time off, manage candidate referrals, and measure employee engagement. Built for the remote workforce, Roots is used by the largest remote-first companies like Gitlab and Toptal. Founded in 2017 by two friends navigating the corporate world, Roots is dedicated to reshaping HR, to ridding the workplace of bureaucracy for the sake of bureaucracy, and to positively impacting employee wellness, productivity, and retention.

Here’s the Press Release:

Roots Launches Flexible HR Management and Analytics Platform, Aimed at Improving Employee Engagement

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., October 20, 2020 – Roots, the employee-friendly HR management and analytics platform, today announced the relaunch of its platform, propelled by a round of seed funding led by several of its customers. Trusted by top technology brands including Gitlab, Toptal, Carta, and Miro, Roots’ launch comes with the introduction of a new Slack-based application called Silo Measurement, designed to map and measure an employee’s social connectivity within an organization. Together, Roots’ suite of applications offers scaling startups, remote organizations, and enterprise HR teams a more streamlined method to manage critical HR processes and consolidate employee HR data into one central location.

Today, most companies, from startups to enterprise, utilize a slew of HR tools and point solutions to manage day-to-day operations. Not only can this practice create data silos which make it difficult for HR functions to keep a pulse on their teams, but it’s cumbersome for employees, leading to less engagement with HR systems. Roots combats this lack of engagement by meeting employees where they work, with Slack-based applications that are designed to be intuitive and minimally disruptive. By consolidating HR processes in Slack, Roots decreases the adoption risk for HR solutions while creating a data hub that is easy for admins to sort and analyze, leading to a better understanding of employee engagement and helping to create stronger, more connected companies that last.

“We created Roots to act as the foundational HR layer on which all organizations grow,” said founder and CEO Kevin Corliss. “As our platform continues to evolve, we remain focused on our ultimate goal: to help HR leaders organize, manage, and engage their workforces through better systems and data, so they can optimize company culture and build community within their businesses.”

Roots, which recently rebranded from Treehoppr, offers three innovative plugins — PTO; Candidate Referrals; and Silo Measurement — all of which integrate seamlessly with Slack to reach employees and HR teams where they work and communicate. Together, the Roots platform creates a powerful hub for employee engagement and for monitoring and managing ongoing employee health. The individual applications span critical areas of HR and employee connection, including time off management, hiring, and social connectivity:

  • PTO by Roots – As the #1 Slack app for time-off management, PTO ⚡ by Roots is leveraged by scrappy startups, remote teams, and companies with unlimited paid time off to allow employees to integrate leave requests into Slack and avoid the transition between systems and platforms. The application also reminds employees of their upcoming time off and helps them assign roles and tasks for co-workers, giving all parties involved greater alignment and peace of mind. PTO ⚡ by Roots is used by 1,200+ teams across 65 countries, and boasts a 92 percent engagement rate.
  • Candidate Referrals by Roots – According to CareerBuilder, over 80 percent of employers rate internal referrals above all other candidate sources. Roots’ Candidate Referrals plugin sources open job listings from existing recruiting systems and creates automated announcements in Slack for employee visibility, allowing for seamless sharing and submission of referrals. Candidate Referrals can be integrated with a company’s existing applicant tracking system to allow for easy information sharing, and keeps track of employees who are frequent referrers as a sign of high employee engagement.
  • Silo Measurement by Roots – Forty percent of employees say that they feel isolated at work, which results in lower organizational commitment and engagement. As Roots’ newest plugin, Silo Measurement allows HR leaders to visualize cross-functional exposure of each employee in an organization by measuring engagement in Slack channels they have been added to. Being able to identify siloed workers allows HR leaders to help connect employees with their peers and shared interests, strengthening company culture and avoiding excess churn.

“As a long-time user of the Roots platform, I believe in the company’s vision and their ability to execute that vision,” said Ben Congleton, CEO at Olark, a Roots customer who personally joined this investment round. “As a remote-first organization, Roots’ applications have made our entire organization more connected, and they are just getting started. I’m enthusiastic about Roots’ momentum and excited to see the impact they can make as the whole world transitions to remote work.”

The company plans to expand its platform and introduce additional Slack-based applications to reach all areas of the HR function. The Roots’ platform is designed to be adopted in totality, but all plugins are available for singular use and purchase.

About Roots

Roots, formerly Treehoppr, is a leader in employee-friendly HR management, providing intuitive software to help businesses better monitor and engage their workforces. The company’s Slack-based applications streamline HR processes and consolidate data into one central location, allowing teams to deploy HR solutions and manage their workforce in “a la carte” fashion. Roots is used in over 65 countries by customers like Gitlab, Toptal, Miro, and Carta. Find out more at tryroots.io.