HR Tech Evolution: Creating Platforms that Prioritize Adaptability and User Experience with Jack Altman

Embedded Partners

Welcome to the SMB Tech Innovators podcast, powered by Gusto, where we explore the intersection of financial services and vertical SaaS strategy and discuss how software combats the rising complexity of running a business. We aim to share stories, advice, and best practices from the leaders and investors behind today’s cutting-edge platforms. In this episode, Jack Altman, Co-Founder and CEO of Lattice, discusses the tech evolution of HR tools and the significance of creating platforms that prioritize both adaptability and user experience.

Highlights include:

  • The dynamic nature of HR strategies and the pivotal role of customer experience in HR Tech Evolution
  • The emergence of embedded HR tools and the transition toward an open ecosystem
  • Embedded payroll and the myriad benefits of a unified tech stack
  • The essence of integrations and Lattice’s approach to prioritizing them
  • The untapped potential of data in HR
  • The indispensable human element in HR and the delicate balance between data and intuition
  • The nuances between horizontal and vertical SaaS
  • Jack’s advice to budding founders on the transition to a multi-product offering emphasizing strategic considerations

The Dynamic Nature and Role of the Customer Experience

While at Teespring, Jack identified problems with company culture and employee management. He founded Lattice to address these issues. He realized that with solid management infrastructure, feedback mechanisms, and employee engagement, companies could stay strong as they grew. Lattice began with an OKR tool but shifted focus to performance reviews, which helped the company expand.

The Tech Evolution of Embedded HR Tools and Transition towards an Open Ecosystem

Jack explained Lattice’s strategy, emphasizing the need for HR to cater to diverse requirements as companies grow and scale.

  • Adaptive HR Solutions: Lattice focuses on the evolving needs of companies as they grow, offering adaptable HR solutions that cater to different stages of organizational maturity.
  • Changing HR Landscape: Addressing the shifting requirements, Lattice is adding payroll systems, benefits structures, and performance management to help companies scale from small teams to larger entities.
  • HR Technology Evolution: With insights into the evolution of HR tech, Lattice emphasizes the importance of dedicated systems, like HR Information Systems (HRIS), for managing employee data effectively.
  • Tailored Solutions: Lattice is creating specialized tools for managing employee records, analytics, onboarding, offboarding, workflows for managerial changes, document handling, security provisions, and global scalability.
  • Holistic Talent Management Suite: By prioritizing enhancements to its talent management suite before focusing on integrating HRIS functionalities, Lattices simplifies tech stacks and connects talent data seamlessly.

Embedded Payroll and the Benefits of a Unified Tech Stack

Lattice’s progression towards an HRIS emphasizes the need for dedicated systems managing employee data. The alignment between talent management and HRIS systems aims to simplify tech stacks, focusing on seamless connectivity between talent data and core employee information. Jack emphasized the advantages of embedding world-class systems within HRIS, promoting centralized experiences, and reducing end-user complexity.

"We want to partner with the world, choose systems right for you, and have them be highly interoperable." Jack Altman, Co-Founder and CEO of Lattice

Prioritizing Integrations and Lattice’s Approach

The conversation highlighted Lattice’s approach to integrations, driven by customer needs and data insights. Jack underscored the significance of offering integrations that catered to popular products in payroll, benefits, and ATS, positioning Lattice as a holistic HR solution. The open ecosystem approach empowers customers to choose tools that best fit their needs, fostering greater flexibility and adaptability.

Untapped Potential of Data in HR

Jack is enthusiastic about the unexplored potential of data in HR. He draws parallels with other departments, such as sales or marketing, which use nuanced data insights to their advantage. Jack emphasizes the power of HR data in correlating interview processes with performance results, determining the engagement levels of top performers, and understanding the relationship between onboarding experiences and employee engagement. He envisions a future where this data will empower HR leaders with profound insights.

Balancing Data and Intuition in HR

Acknowledging the ‘human’ element in HR, he addressed the misconception of HR as solely ‘squishy’ or devoid of data-driven insights. He advocated combining data-backed strategies with the intuitive and human aspects of HR, acknowledging the inherent mix of science and intuition in the field. At Lattice, they support the idea of providing HR professionals with tools that blend data with earned intuition, leading to a more comprehensive approach to HR.

Nuances between Horizontal and Vertical SaaS

Exploring the differences between horizontal and vertical SaaS, Jack discussed the advantages of each approach. While horizontal SaaS offers a broader reach, vertical SaaS caters to specific industries with tailor-made solutions. He emphasized the potential for vertical SaaS in scaling to significant revenue but highlighted the need for a different go-to-market strategy, particularly in transitioning to larger contracts.

Strategic Considerations for Multi-Product Offerings

The podcast concludes with strategic advice for founders venturing into multi-product offerings. Jack highlights the balance between focusing on a core product versus expanding offerings, citing the importance of assessing the complexity and longevity of the initial product. Jack encouraged founders to evaluate customer demands, competitive dynamics, and market alternatives while considering the opportune timing for multi-product expansion.

"I start from a lens of: what is the best experience that can be delivered to a customer?" Jack Altman, Co-Founder and CEO of Lattice

Podcast Takeaways

In this insightful podcast episode, Jack’s perspectives on the evolving HR landscape, the strategic trajectory of Lattice, and advice for budding entrepreneurs provide valuable insights into the paradigm shifts within the HR tech industry.

  • Lattice’s journey from inception to the launch of its HRIS reflects a commitment to meeting evolving HR needs.
  • Strategic collaborations with Gusto and Greenhouse underscore Lattice’s goal of offering comprehensive HR solutions.
  • The balance between human elements and data insights lies at the core of Lattice’s vision.
  • Jack’s advice to startups encourages a nuanced approach to multi-product expansion based on market dynamics and internal capabilities.

Listen to Revolutionizing HR: A deep dive into Lattice’s vision with Jack Altman podcast.Learn more about Lattice and connect with Jack on LinkedIn.

Updated: January 7, 2024

Brian Busch Brian is currently Head of Marketing at Gusto Embedded; the only payroll API with 10 years of experience and actionable data behind it. Before joining Gusto, Brian held leadership positions at Cloud Elements, Kapost, and Captricity. He holds a BS in finance and a BA in philosophy from Boston College and an MBA from the Cal Berkeley Haas School of Business.
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