In 2010, former tech industry employment lawyer, Janine Yancey, founded Emtrain to help businesses stay ahead of compliance — one of the most complex (and ever-growing) areas of workforce management. But her vision wasn’t about checking boxes, it was about creating an early warning system that could ultimately change workplace behaviors. And it couldn’t be more essential than in the fraught social climate of 2020.
Today Emtrain helps companies from Netflix to the New York Times use real-world video scenarios and interactive learning to foster honest conversations about the most uncomfortable issues: from workplace sexual harassment prevention, and unconscious bias, to code of conduct and cybersecurity.
Her fresh approach to relevant, timely and well produced content— tied to real, actionable data, helped Janine drive not only better company behaviors but her own business growth. To ensure that she, in turn, was doing well by her team, in 2017 she looked for a one-stop technology to help her manage people operations from on-boarding to benefits and payroll.
Janine chose Zenefits.
Two years later, she hired the company’s first head of people operations, Kate Tucker, to support the team.
Tough Conversations that Allow You to Move Forward
Armed with an MBA in HR and organizational development, and a background building teams at global consulting firm EY and at a family owned Winery, Kate was excited to leverage her wide-ranging background.
“I am passionate about people operations, open and honest conversations, and delivering meaningful impact to a company on a growth trajectory,” says Kate. “At Emtrain, we deliver data and insight about team behaviors that gives leaders information to make smart business decisions. We go beyond standard compliance. We also provide really relevant content to help advise managers and business leaders on topics many compliance companies don’t want to touch. We address issues that are happening right now.”
For example, one of Emtrain’s micro lessons opens with a fictional scene of someone editing a “Black Lives Matter” note on a company white board, to read “All Lives Matter.” It’s the opening prompt for an uncomfortable—but critically important conversation.
“For us, it’s not just about building a business, it is because it’s the right thing and it matters.”
Ensuring Team Needs in the Changing Market
The company’s ethos and purpose is compelling to customers, employees and investors alike.
In 2020, Emtrain secured capital funding to power its trajectory — just as COVID hit the US. They’d planned expansion of their team, but are now consciously assessing the market. “Even though our business has done better than most and we’re optimistic about our value, we’re hiring at a slower pace than we’d originally planned,” says Kate. “We want to ensure we sustain and grow.”
So, her priorities for Emtrain’s 50-person team include:
- Connection. “We are still all remote. Now, we are using our own platform in new and innovative ways. For example, when we considered re-opening the office, there was a lot of good input on our Slack channel. But when we used our micro lessons, we learned that only 6% of the team was ready to go back.”
- Development. “Some people have been here 9-10 years. We are looking to actively give current staff opportunities to take on more as we consider hiring. For example, we welcome team ideas for content creation: speed is key here as we want to reflect what is happening in the market.”
- Mental and emotional safety. “We want to lead with our own team, the support we’re delivering to our customers. So we’re especially thoughtful about how people are hearing and seeing messaging remotely; how someone responds to a message for example on a Slack channel, could impact another’s emotional well being. There is so much more going on now with many less outlets to be ‘seen and heard.’”
Where Zenefits fits in at Emtrain
Beyond Emtrain’s heavy culture, organization development and wellbeing efforts, Zenefits delivers a trusted foundation for the rest.
Zenefits has earned its reputation as a great all-in-one tool for people operations at small businesses.
Director of People Operations,
“Its benefits administration, for example, is powerful and easy for internal users and administrators alike. And their broker partner, OneDigital, has been fantastic. It’s been such a great experience—especially during the pandemic—to have both of them, sharing information as things continue to happen in the market.
“I also regularly use Zenefits’ Workest news site. I skim it weekly and go there as we consider new policies and for more context on what others have done successfully.
“But the biggest advantage for us in the last few months has been Zenefits’ reporting. Quick snapshots of the size of team, compensation by function, and much more have been impactful for our CEO and our Board. Before, I would have had to do that myself: spending hours in excel to build each report manually. That built-in reporting and visualization capability has been amazing for me — saving me a ton of time with tremendous insights.”
High praise from a company that has built its business on data insights and meaningful ideas exchange. In fact, Emtrain’s ideas, like its notion of a “workplace color spectrum” which encourages individuals to personalize the heat level of a discussion topic or comment, look to be on track for a green future.
And, as far as Kate can see, Zenefits will be the right fit for that future.