“Always be transparent with what matters, establish relationships inside and outside your organization and, trust your instincts as well as your team.” –CFO Scott Dussault
Back in 2001, after Scott Dussault had been named CFO of StorageNetworks, it’s unlikely that the 30-year-old finance leader was popping any champagne corks. The company’s management had offered him the position when its previous CFO had vacated the office to serve as CEO in the aftermath of the dotcom bubble collapse.
“The ride up the roller coaster was exhilarating—the ride down was educational,” explains Dussault, who had joined the firm as a controller in 1999 and been promoted to vice president of finance within 6 months.Read More
“We hired 1,000 people in 3 years and grew the company to $150 million in revenue,” recalls Dussault, adding some context to the “ride up.”
In 2000, when StorageNetworks went public, its stock climbed 234 percent in its first day of trading—a frenzied indicator for a company whose customer portfolio was known to be 80 percent Internet-related application vendors and dotcom customers.
The CFO office at StorageNetworks turned out to be where Dussault logged some of the most difficult days of his career as the collapse of the dotcom economy cut short the life of many of his firm’s most loyal customers.
“I had a terrific vice president of investor relations and she and I suffered through quite a few meetings with analysts, but I took those learnings with me,” says Dussault, who credits the challenges that he encountered during the “ride down” or the aftermath of the collapse with leading him to build better and stronger relations with investors and analysts during future CFO career chapters.
CFOTL: Tell us about Workhuman …
Dussault: Our goal is to keep employees more engaged, to make sure that they’re happy at work, to make sure that they feel that they belong and are included. It’s a really terrific message and mission, while at the same time we’re providing real business value to our clients and our customers.
Let me explain what we do. Employee recognition is a $30 billion market. It’s been around forever. But it’s also very tactical. It’s hierarchal. It’s mostly manager-to-peer recognition. It’s typically in a cash format. This doesn’t really help employee engagement and doesn’t really help employee satisfaction. We’re disrupting employee recognition.Read More
What we’ve done is to create a social platform. When you think about human resource applications today, you find that most are administrative applications that solve process problems. Think companies that solve payroll problems or recruiting software. It’s all about process. We’re a human application that solves human problems, which benefits the humans.
The problem that we’re solving is engagement and retention for companies, which is a $1.1 trillion challenge in the U.S. alone. The cost of employee engagement in the U.S. today is about $600 billion a year. Gallup polls show that only about a third of employees are truly engaged in their work, so there’s huge room for the other two-thirds of the employee workforce to actually be more engaged, be more productive, and be better employees and bring their whole selves to work.
The other issue is employee retention. Turnover costs American companies half a billion dollars a year. The cost of turnover is anywhere between 50 percent and 200 percent of an employee’s salary. It’s incredibly costly when an employee leaves. Our platform is designed to create a social recognition, crowdsourced, peer-to-peer program that allows employees to congratulate, thank, and appreciate one another on a continuous basis throughout the year, with a continuous cadence throughout the year, thereby keeping them engaged, keeping them more motivated and productive, and causing them to stay longer.
We’ve been around for 20 years. We’ve got 380 customers. We’ll do almost a billion dollars in billings this year. What we’re doing is actually creating these connections. We’re aligning employees with the employer’s goals, objectives, vision, and values—and that’s pretty powerful.
Workhuman | www.workhuman.com | Framingham, MA