For decades, how the Philippines does human resources management mostly remain unchanged. They’re due an update.
While game-changing trends in human resources management are happening in many parts of the world, many HR practitioners in the Philippines still dwell on the same challenges of two decades ago. But with shifting priorities, more flexible workflows, and an increasingly younger and technology-inclined workforce, gaps in how human resources management is practised in the country need to be filled.
But decades of laws, policies, procedures, and paperwork has made it difficult and costly for companies to shift their HR department’s focus from administrative paperwork to being drivers of culture and employee development.
Enter these four entrepreneurs who, aided by technology and driven by need, are taking on the uphill battle of changing the HR landscape in the Philippines.
Jorge Azurin (Horsepower.ph)
We want the entrepreneur to focus only on getting business and increasing revenue. We will handle the back-end for him.
When serial entrepreneur Jorge Azurin was the Regional Director of Freelancer, one of the most commonly discussed issue he came across is the need for affordable health insurance for the self-employed and freelancers. In a country where the second largest segment of the workforce are the self-employed and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) account for 80% of total enterprises, Azurin saw the need to ensure the well-being of these sectors. Together with co-founders Diego Ramos and Hannah Crisostomo, Azurin created Horsepower, a startup that provides not only affordable health insurance packages for the self-employed and SMEs, but also provides a facility for payment and reporting of Philippine government-mandated benefits.
An active driver of the Philippine startup community, Azurin also founded or headed a number of IT companies. He mentors and seeks partnerships with entrepreneurs, seeds startups, and has founded a platform for matching angel investors and startups called 1000 Angels.
Paul Rivera (Kalibrr)
I knew the wave was going to hit the Philippines, but I did not know it was going to hit this big and this fast. So I was riding a global wave of outsourcing.
After setting up a customer service team in Bangalore and a stint with Google Adwords team, Paul Rivera came back to the Philippines to set up his own business. His experience in setting up a team and working in the BPO industry brought Rivera to the realisation that there is a skills gap in the industry brought about by a flawed sourcing and hiring process of call center agents. Wanting to solve this problem, Rivera and co-founders Dexter Ligot-Gordon and Danny Castonguay started Kalibrr – a recruitment platform that uses artificial intelligence to match people to jobs.
Rivera’s vision is to create a platform where emerging markets could connect and where people can get their first jobs. Having seen the unfavourable effects to the company that a gap between employee skill set and job skills requirement, Rivera intends for Kalibrr to be a platform where jobseekers could not only find a job but also train and assess themselves, ensuring that companies hire the best talents.
Peter Cauton (STORM Technologies)
I realized I stumbled into an elegant solution to solve a big problem.
In his decade in corporate human resources, Peter Cauton saw glaring problems in benefits administration: they are mostly the same across companies, they are costly to update, and they are not relevant for a growing number of employees. An advocate of flexible benefits, Cauton left his corporate life in 2008 – as a new father during a recession, no less – and jumped in to focus on his struggling startup with co-founder Paolo dela Fuente. It paid off. That struggling startup is now STORM Technologies, a HR solutions firm that uses technology to help companies provide 100,000 employees with flexible benefits and incentives.
A passionate advocate of Filipino entrepreneurship, Cauton also helped found several startups. He started a blog that encourages Filipinos to take that great leap into entrepreneurship aptly called Juan Great Leap. Still oftentimes referring to himself as the “HR guy,” Cauton now focuses on expanding STORM’s reach across the Philippines and Asia, as well as developing more HR solutions for employee engagement.
Patrick Gentry (Sprout)
The Philippines is number 88 in the world in terms of ease of doing business and we can simply make that better if we’re able to do this
Working remotely for a Silicon Valley startup, Patrick Gentry was invited by a friend to visit the Philippines. His planned two-month vacation changed when he got interested in the BPO industry in the country and he stayed to start an outsourcing firm with the same friend. In his two years in the country, he realised that there is an opportunity to fill the gap in terms of automating administrative tasks like payroll, as most small and medium business still do it the old-fashioned way: on paper.
Along came Sprout, a cloud-based software-as-a-service startup that Gentry founded with his wife Alexandria to address the paperwork woes in payroll. Sprout automates repetitive payroll and human resources tasks resulting to shorter and more accurate processing. With Gentry’s vision of gaining a strong foothold in the region, Sprout has joined the accelerator program of Silicon Valley VC Acceleprise. Apart from Sprout, Gentry is also founding shareholder of KMC Solutions and founder of natural farming website The Unconventional Farmer.
Feature image credit: jirsak / 123RF Stock Photo
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