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Looking for a hero? Look up Payroll Hero

July 1, 2014

HR in Asia was able to catch up with the co-founder of Payroll Hero, a Manila-based HR startup that’s enhancing payroll administration with image recognition technologies.

“Optimizing work productivity with Happiness” is a key principle that Stephen Jagger incorporates into his newest venture: Philippine-based PayrollHero.com. An entrepreneur since high school, Jagger’s Payroll Hero helps brings modern technology into an important HR process – Payroll Administration – essential for the function of any business.

Payroll Hero aids in tracking and monitoring employee positioning, work check-in schedule thus replacing the more traditional punch card systems. It does this through the use of facial recognition technology – tracking employee faces using biometric facial recognition. It not only does this but also provides an integrated solution package offering time, attendance, scheduling, human resource information system, analytics, and payroll services.

In addition to the F & B sector, Payroll Hero has also announced plans to focus on customer acquisition of clients in the retail and outsourcing sectors, given the reliance on hourly-paid employees. This require close monitoring, a function that Payroll Hero easily fulfills. HR in Asia was able to catch up with Jagger in an email chat, to share more about Payroll Hero’s future plans with us.

How did you come up with the concept of Payroll Hero?

“My business partner (Michael Stephenson) and I setup an outsourcing company in the Philippines in 2008, and within that company Mike saw the need for a time, attendance, scheduling, HRIS and payroll platform in the Philippines. There’s more of that available in this video.

What challenges did you face in developing and implementing Payroll Hero initially?

“It is a complex product, focused on businesses but with a keen eye on how employees interact with it. We wanted to make a platform that solve the business problems, while engaging employees and adding happiness.  Of course things like culture, language, customs and the sheer size of the project were challenges, we worked through it. Working to find the niche that made the most sense and being able to say no to potential customers was hard, but in the end, the right thing for us to do.”

What were your initial thoughts about the feasibility of your product? 

“We have always been pretty bullish on the space that we are operating in. We believe that southeast Asia has a lot of opportunity and that cloud software is coming at the right time.”

Did you face any problems trying to acquire customers?

“Of course. It is always a challenge adding new customers as a startup. But we pushed through with a slow and steady focus and worked to incrementally change how we did things til we found what worked.”

Why did you choose to base it and launch it in the Philippine, rather than back in Canada?

“PayrollHero was built out of a need in the Philippines when we started the outsourcing company there. But we do have an office in Whistler, Canada.”

What are the advantages of the Philippines as a startup destination, relative to other places in Asia?

“I can’t really say. I’m not sure, as I have no experience in other regions.“

Which geographic region do you intend to focus on as your market for the new few years, say from now until 2017?

“We are focused on emerging markets, starting with Southeast Asia.”

Beyond the current outsourcing, F & B and retail sectors, do you see this working in other areas, such as in the logistics and manufacturing sector?

“Yes, there is lots of opportunities, but for now, we will stay the course and work to be the best in the small niche. We will expand our offering to other sectors as time goes on.”

Do you see other potential areas in which you could deploy the solutions package you currently have, beyond the HR space?

“We are currently focused on HR, Payroll, Business Intelligence and Company Culture  as prospective areas where we can deploy our solutions package.”

How do you respond to critics who say it impinges on the privacy of workers, to collect so much data about their movements?

“I don’t think it does. We enable employees to get paid for their time in an accurate and fun way, while giving them data analytics so that they can continue to improve as they move from one promotion to the next.”

What do you feel are the defining moments of Payroll Hero?

“Signing up The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf was a big step in validating our idea. They were our second customer and a big help in improving the platform.”

Most memorable moment as an entrepreneur?

“Tough to pick the most memorable, there are lots of great memories. Mike and I have been business partners for over 14 years and PayrollHero is our 4th company. Lots of great memories.”

Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs out there?

“Get started now, there is no better time than right now to become an entrepreneur.”

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