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Employee management for your everyday business

Employee management for your everyday business | Austin Kerr - Humanagement

What does Humanagement do?

Austin: Humanagement is software almost as an ecosystem for managing employees. So it has many of the standard HR features that a lot of software like Bambee HR has. And then it also has a robust automatic system for training employees and tracking production or business metrics.

When I was trying to build the software, I focused on a bit of a bigger problem than I felt the software I found was trying to solve. But, overall, the software is trying to solve the difficulty or time involved with managing employees. So many people who start businesses start businesses because they’re good at something or because they’re looking for the freedom that being an owner can give them.

What they’ll usually find is a year or two in. Once they pass that first marketing hurdle, the next challenge is employees. And so when they get to that phase, that’s where many companies get stagnant. They get stuck as the business can’t be on just one person’s shoulders.

Software built to help people

So Humanagement is a software built to help people in that position make managing employees easier, give employees a better experience, and help you build a better culture. One of the specific problems that we solved, and the first problem we solve for any company that comes into the software, is making recording policies and training employees. So if you have a business, you need policies about sick days, reprimands, and how raises work. But putting all those things into Word docs often gets lost or confusing to keep track of. So when you edit them, it becomes confusing.

Who’s read what? Who’s read what version? That version control in alignment with people at the station or acknowledging that policy becomes very confusing. So in Humanagement, you can just put your policies in. You can assign it to divisions. It’ll do all the assigning and recording of people having read it, and then when you edit those things, it’ll alert people to those changes highlighting the specific text. Hence, they get a very clear understanding of those policies. And it’s not that burden is not on the employer.

What is the onboarding process?

Austin: The first thing someone does when they enter the software is import all their employees. Once their employees are in that software, they would create some articles or video policies and then assign those to the divisions that employees are in. And then it just will take care of the rest. So you don’t have to think about it too hard. One of the problems that I found with some of the other HR software, especially, is that you had to put a lot of time into the setup.

And so when building my software and knowing that I’m trying to target those people with, you know, 15, 20, a hundred employees, they’re really busy. And also, a lot of people who have these growing companies don’t necessarily have the experience of having already built a company. So giving them a bunch of options adds a lot of confusion. So what I did was I did a lot of surveying of business owners, and I found what the most common options were, and I made all those defaults.

You can, of course, change some of these things and make it more customizable to you, but for 99% of the cases, someone will be able to go into the software, add their employees, add some policies, and then they’re off after the races. Many other features are employee-based, like managing PTO time or employee requests for promotions. When you add your employees, they’ll be set up, so you don’t have to do extra work there.

What are the best Humanagement best features?

Austin: The training section is a feature a lot of people like. Managing requests is unique to my software. It’s very omni-purpose, so you can use it for paid time off. You can use it for people asking for promotions, or you can use it for any request. So, for instance, let’s say you have a company, and there’s a hiring manager, and they want to hire someone.

In most companies, getting approval to hire someone is a confusing process, especially if they’re looking for a higher rate than was previously agreed upon, right? So using my request platform, you, that HR manager, can send that request to somebody and say – hey, I want to hire this person.

Here’s all the data. And then that person who gets it can approve it, and it’s official. So that there’s no ambiguity, they can also take that request, and if they go – oh, well, since it’s a higher amount, I want to send it to our CFO, and it’ll track all of that, and the originator can see as it flows through the company. And so it brings a lot of clarity to something that usually is a big time suck. And, when you’re a business owner, time is money, so it also saves a lot.

Keep metrics on employees

Another thing that it does well is managing production. So you can keep metrics on employees. Some people use Excel. They’ll want to keep track of their gross income or subscriber base. But when you just use Excel for that, you don’t get the clarity of the data. You only see some numbers. So with Humanagement, there’s an easy-to-use system for just keeping track of. You can also enter them manually. You can integrate them with other software. It can become more robust and confusing, but you don’t have to have it that way.

How do you plan to differentiate because there’s a lot of competition in HR software?

Austin: I do focus a bit more on small businesses. There are some enterprise clients that I’m in talks with as well. The software is pretty flexible, but many of them are. HR software out there has kind of ignored small businesses. They’re not trying to focus on that. They want, you know, one client with 1500 employees and can pay them, you know, X amount of money. But those aren’t the people who need the help.

Building the software, I came from a background of many HR and leadership roles in startups and some large companies and especially in the startups. I found just how lost you are when you have a startup. A lot of times, you’re not hiring people who have tenured years of experience building similar things, you know. You’re usually hiring people who are scrappy, and they have a lot of passion, and they care.

Build a great company that people love to work at

And so what sucks is so many businesses fail, and those people who were scrappy. They had ideas and motivation and ended up becoming more washed out and they became less motivated. So when they get into those bigger corporations, they don’t have all the lusters they used to. And so I think it’s really important that people have the opportunity to create a business set up to build a great company that people love to work at.

So that’s kind of why I focused on that, and that’s why I wanted to build it – because people were ignoring the CEOs, the people managers, because the world of software, when it comes to software for small businesses, most of it is marketing software. Like that’s the thing that people have kind of gone. When you have a small business, the first challenge is always marketing. That’s always the first challenge. If a business fails in the first six months, it’s because it couldn’t get any sales. But if a business fails in its second or third year, it’s always because it couldn’t manage employees well.

What is the price for Humanagement?

Austin: We charge $5 per user per month – a user and employee are interchangeable. So if you have a 20-person company, you’ll pay $5 for 20 employees. So that’d be $100. It’s pretty simple. There are some add-ons, so if you want to manage a purchase request, specific people are asking to spend $10 extra per month, not per employer. That’s just a flat $10. And then, if you want to do video recording for your policies, just for the storage wise, that’s an extra channelized month. But again, that’s flat.

When you bring on software like Humanagement, it’s a kind of a game changer. And it’s something that a lot of the customers are aware of. They’re like – this will change how I do many things, which is good because they have problems. But, on the other hand, it can be a little bit intimidating because when you make a big change like that, obviously, you’re going to have employee complaints or, you know, grumbles as they get used to the new way of doing things.

So one of the things that we did was you can now disable all the different features. So there are about 11 different features that the software has, and you can disable the ones that you want. If you are using a paper clock in, clock out, and you don’t want to tackle that yet but want to use the knowledge base, you can disable clock in and clock out.

And then later, once your employer’s a little more acclimated, you can easily activate it, and then the employees can see it. So I try to think of it from that perspective: how do I make this easy and fluid for someone to jump in and improve their business?

Is there a free trial for Humanagement?

Austin: So there is a free trial and a free version, free trials for 30 days. You can add whatever employees you want and obviously use whatever features. For the free version, some features and stuff like that aren’t going to work for you. In the free version, it would be disabled, but for the knowledge base, it also has a public version.

So if you have any of your policies and want to make them public, it’ll give you a page where people can view them. They can even mark them as red, and it’ll just ask for their name. So you can use that on that free version and share policies that way. And then, you can upgrade when you want more features to keep track of training and make it more automated.

When did they start the company?

Austin: I started about two years ago, and we didn’t raise any funds because, fortunately, I also do some custom software development, and I’ve been able to use the income to fund building this business. So we are now bootstrapping, but I am considering raising funds. And I think it’s something I would want to do in the future, but I only want to do it once I have a thousand companies in the software. So I want to ensure that because I see some companies get funds, and then they spend it like they earned it, right?

They’ll make hires, marketing decisions, all that stuff based upon having all of this money having, you know, a hundred thousand dollars when they don’t have a hundred, they’re borrowing that, and they haven’t built the future of the business. So I want to ensure that I know exactly where to spend that money to continue the growth pattern I’m already on. And I want to make sure that I’m getting a premium for the ownership I give off, not, you know, where it’s just an idea.

Biggest challenge as a founder

Austin: From a software perspective, probably the most complex feature was the software for tracking production. There are a lot of features to it. I do a lot of things with data as far as – if you have stats you’re tracking weekly, being able to convert it to days. So I don’t necessarily need to get into the software side of it, but it was challenging, especially because I came into it while we were still working.

My mindset was that I was trying to build the software, so I would hire people or bring people on or whatever, like developers, because I would say – hey, I’m trying to build this. Can you help me? And I would interview five people, ten people, and then I’d pick the best one out of that 10, and then I’d go. So I found that that screwed me a lot because there’s a great book called Good to Great, where he talks about many things that have made the great companies of the world great. And so one of the things he talks about is that business owner has to challenge themselves, and the real responsibility is. So although I have a lot of experience in hiring, when I was building this, I was more focused on the product.

Got lost in statistics

I wasn’t focused on the hiring. I wasn’t focused on building my team. My focus was on building the product, which is a bit foolish because I love HR. But, I realized that I wasted probably at least six to nine months of me showing up that money and working with developers who weren’t the right fit for me. They were not bad developers but weren’t the right fit for my product. They didn’t. And so when someone doesn’t get your product or is not as passionate about it, you have to lead them into it instead of pushing the envelope on innovation and all that sort of stuff.

So I got lost in statistics, which then took so long. So after reading that book, because a friend suggested that I relook at it, I went – okay, I’m not building a product yet. I can’t build a product because I don’t have a team, I can’t build a product. So right after that, I interviewed about 130 people because I changed my viewpoint from looking for the best set of 10 to looking for the best I would interview until I found that person who wasn’t my right fit.

I wasn’t willing to give up completely unreason. But, once I did that, the progress from the software, the amount of features they’ve been able to add, the amount of just clarity of vision and not being so worried about that side of things, being able to focus on marketing has been amazing. So that was probably the biggest challenge.

Hiring advice for bootstrapped founders

Austin: I want to echo what I just said: hiring is your first challenge. If you aren’t experienced with hiring, watch some YouTube videos, look at some blogs, and understand that throughout your business. It is part of why Humanagement is what it is. Yes, of course, your first challenge will be marketing. I mean, if you go before that, the first, first challenge is getting a product or service that is worthwhile. So once you have a product and have built enough, your next challenge is marketing, right?

If you don’t take that even from building the product that your first hat is to build your team, you will have a harder time doing everything else. Marketing, building the product, and then later managing them. Becoming much easier when the people you started with who have that core knowledge are the people you want to keep with you, making work of joy, all that sort of stuff.

Be willing to try

The second thing I would say for Bootstrap is that you have to be willing to try. To be willing to try and willing to fail. And many people say that, and it’s unfortunately extremely true. A lot of ideas you’re going to have will be bad. So you have to keep kind of doing it. And you know, there are two schools of thought and the software world of either building a product that is very, very minimum and then growing or trying to get marketing before you build the product. And I’ve seen that work. I’ve seen it also work where someone builds a product they intend if they’re familiar with a problem. So both, with those strategies, can be successful. But either way, you have to try. You have to start, and you have to go in. You have to try.

What is your story, Austin?

Yeah. So I’ve been doing HR and leadership for about 15 years. Right out of school, I started, was in a band and did some tour managing. I toured around the world for several years. And then, I went into running a theme park, which was interesting because it was kind of a parallel to the seasonal work I had essentially done while managing tours. So from managing tours to managing the theme park, we hired over 500 people in one month at one point. Intense and exciting.

Then, I did some consulting for a while and landed myself at Equity & Help, where I have been for the last five years. When I started there, I was one of the first five employees, and we grew quite a bit while I was there. It’s a real estate investment company, so we had like over $70 million under management. So, um, I learned a lot. Really about that start of culture and what it takes to have employees be dedicated to your business beyond just the payroll, you know?

Being passionate about people

Austin: I’m very, very passionate about HR, but people in general, that’s really what I love. I love people working with people. One of the coolest things about HR – is when someone comes in as a very green, and you can see and mold that person into a career path they’re passionate about. So when you take someone, and they apply for, I don’t know, a customer service position or something, and then you see how you interact with people, great. So you’d say to him – you would be a great fit in HR, let’s, you know, move you over, let’s, do some mentoring. Let’s figure out a path for you that would be exciting, whether that’s at the current company or a different one.

I think that work is such a huge part of people. That it’s so sad how many people have given up on work by the time they’re 22 or 23. They’ve already written it off. They say – work is just something I have to do, and I have to do it to pay bills, and that’s, it’s, it’s a part of my life, I have to do it. And they don’t see that as an opportunity to make a third of their life meaningful, something they’re excited about and care about. And so yeah, HR is one of the places, obviously Humanagement, that I think we can change for many people. Make them have more passion.

Any social media pieces of advice?

Austin: So one of the things that are important for anyone and who’s trying to do anything like the public sense is to be, I wouldn’t say, authentic because that can be a little bit misleading. You must push out something that you are willing to continue to push out for the long term. What I mean by that is that a lot of people say authentic. And what many people understand authentic means is that when you’re talking, you have to appear as if you care about what you’re saying, right? And, of course, that’s true. It would help if you appeared that way. But it’s not about the feeling that you create for other people.

It’s about longevity

Suppose someone is a personal trainer or has a training app. When they do a podcast, or when they do a social media post, when they do YouTube videos, they want to protect that fitting image then. And so they can then try to do that authentically by making sure that they draw some forms from personal experience. Or ensure they’re only on video when they’re having a great day.

But the problem is that if they aren’t that energetic person if they’re not that endless fountain of positivity a year or two years in, they won’t feel up to it. They’re going to wanna outsource that work. They will change the mood and post less just because it’s so much effort. They are not going to because it wasn’t something they could keep up long term. Right. So obviously, like when people are talking things and creating posts like there is something you’re trying to do. Because they’re trying to fit into whatever you’re trying to project.

It’s really important that whatever you are going to do when you talk and be that public personality, that it is something that you are very, very comfortable in and comfortable skin because that is what will take longevity. And it’s not that one post or that one viral. Whatever will bring your business or followers or whatever it is that longevity, it’s them knowing that this is truly who you are. So make sure it is, you know, truly who you are.

What’s your favorite software?

Austin: I would say Gmail, like the whole Google Suite, is well-built software. They do a lot of trial and error, which is great to see from such a big company. It is just a great email platform. It makes communicating with people much easier. I remember the days when you could only really use Outlook or Hotmail. So yes, I would say Gmail.

Connect with Austin

Humanagement: humanagement.io

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/austin-kerr

Podcast Host & Guest(s)

Cristian Dina


Cristian Dina

Managing Partner & SaaS Podcast Host @ Tekpon
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Managing Partner & SaaS Podcast Host @ Tekpon

As one of the founding members of Tekpon, Cristian has worn many hats within the company, but perhaps none shines brighter than his role as the charismatic host of the Tekpon SaaS Podcast. Cristian is a community builder at heart, being the Bucharest city leader for SaaStock Local and the author of the best-selling book King of Networking.

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