Umbel Maximizes Employee Experience and Impact Through Streamlined HR

August 26, 2016

Umbel is a leading data software company that empowers sports, nonprofit, media and entertainment companies to make their data meaningful and actionable. Its vision is making data the most valuable asset a business can own. Founded in Austin, TX in 2010, the company is experiencing rapid growth and counts numerous NFL, NBA and NHL teams, and the iconic Austin City Limits Live at Moody Theater and Bonnaroo as its clients. But at the end of the day, Umbel understands that one of its biggest assets is its employees.

Everything from the company’s location to its robust benefits offerings and numerous employee perks speak to the value Umbel places on its workforce. The company is headquartered in downtown Austin’s new Seaholm District. Its modern, open and inviting office space is actually a converted power plant from the 1950’s.

Umbel Exterior 2

“It’s an amazing space that our employees love and are always enthusiastic to show off to clients and new recruits,” says Jonathan Spillman, Vice President of Operations for Umbel. “And the location is great – we’re steps away from everything downtown.”

Many Hats

Spillman has numerous different responsibilities at Umbel, including HR, which means that a typical day for him is anything but typical. “Every day is a little bit different for me, I am involved in HR, finance, legal activities and a whole bunch of other day-to-day stuff,” he says. “That variety is one of the reasons why I continue to really enjoy working here – it’s always a new adventure.”

Spillman understands just how important benefits are for attracting and retaining employees. He also knows firsthand how complex and time consuming the HR function is. And that’s why in 2014, the company switched from an expensive PEO firm to Zenefits for its onboarding, PTO, insurance, FSA and 401k needs.


“Prior to Zenefits our HR efforts were cumbersome. There were a lot of paper documents, a lot of time spent helping employees fill out different forms when they started,” Spillman recalls. “And it was also more expensive. We were outsourcing a lot of the HR functionality and that came at a high cost.”

Spillman estimates that Umbel, with its current headcount, is saving more than $80,000 per year by using Zenefits as compared to what the company would be paying with its previous PEO firm. The company is also spending less time on the formerly “laborious” process of onboarding new hires, to the tune of two-to-three fewer hours per new employee.

Find out how Jonathan is putting those earned hours to good use in the #SmallBizSnapshots video below, then keep reading to discover how Umbel has improved the employee experience through the help of the Zenefits platform.

Employee Focus

As Spillman explains, a sense of place, a diverse workforce and a community atmosphere define the company’s corporate culture.

“Our founders are from Austin and we have a lot of deep roots here. Our 70 employees are a very diverse group. We really encompass a lot of what Austin embodies as a city — the music scene, a love for the outdoors, everything downtown has to offer.”

Umbel employees

What excites Spillman most about working at Umbel is the people. “I work with very smart, talented people who are passionate about their jobs,” he says. “Being part of a small business to me means that everybody has an impact and everybody has the ability to really influence how the business can grow and flourish.”

So it’s no surprise that Spillman is thrilled with the positive employee response to the switch to Zenefits. The benefits dashboard has given Umbel employees much better insight into the coverage information they need on a daily basis, and when life events happen.

“We’ve had a number of different life events recently — marriages, births, enrollments of new significant others, and it has been super easy with Zenefits,” recounts Spillman. “Making sure you have the right coverage when one of these life events happens can be daunting, so it’s comforting to employees that it’s a very simple process to get everything in place.”

Competitive Advantage

“My favorite Zenefits feature is the onboarding functionality for new hires,” Spillman says. “Not only is the whole process a lot more efficient and effective, our onboarding program is competitive with much larger companies. As a result, we attract talent that normally would be focused exclusively on those bigger companies.”

Spillman also reports a very positive experience with Zenefits as the company’s insurance broker, particularly in the areas of support and technology solutions.


“It’s been a great experience working with Zenefits as our broker and benefits advisor,” he says. “The level of support has surpassed my expectations. But it’s when you couple the technology that Zenefits has, with the support, that it becomes head and shoulders above what you get at a PEO firm.”

More Efficient, More Effective

“Zenefits has really helped us focus on our mission here at Umbel. Making benefits simple for employees helps them make more impact on the business,” concludes Spillman. “And for me personally, it’s freed up my time to concentrate on improving operational efficiencies in other parts of the company. When you’re a small business, everybody has a big influence.”

Read more HR success stories: 


Deanna is the Director of Content Marketing at Zenefits, where she enjoys bringing our mission to 'make entrepreneurship easier' to life through programs that champion the voice of small businesses and empower them to thrive in today's economy.

Category: Small Business Success Stories

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