February 27, 2018

Startup Q&A - HelloTeam Helps HR Teams Manage and Engage

Company culture.

Tanya Bakalov, HelloTeam
Tanya Bakalov, HelloTeam Founder and CEO

It’s a trait a potential employee looks for when applying for a job. However, on the company’s side of things and depending on the size of employee ranks, it can be difficult fostering a captivating and interesting company culture.

HelloTeam, formerly known at BetterSkills, is an HRtech company that has created and developed an employee engagement platform designed for companies with large employee bases.

We interviewed HelloTeam Founder and CEO Tanya Bakalov how the company is creating a more personalized experience. She also shared how and why the company decided to undergo the rebranding process.

CB: I’m a big fan of the phrase “origin story.” What are the origins of HelloTeam?

TB: I was a co-founder of another startup that grew to 500+ people with multiple offices and remote employees around the world. In the beginning when we were building the company we all sat in the same office and could easily know a lot about our backgrounds, who was who, who had a specialized skill set and could jump on a project. We also didn’t need any formality around how we managed goals or performance because everyone was in the same proximity to their manager and the executives of the company.

Once we crossed that magic mark of 100 employees, however, it started becoming exponentially harder to maintain and grow our culture. At that time I didn’t know this was going to become my next mission in life - build a beautiful and modern platform that allows every employee to be seen, heard and valued and allow every people leader to have the tools needed to retain the company’s most precious asset - its people.

HelloTeam Product Shots

CB: HelloTeam recently rebranded from BetterSkills. Why the change in name? How did the rebranding process go?

TB: We underwent a complete rebrand, inclusive of a change in name, logo, color scheme, product refresh, website redesign and overall messaging. We decided to change our name to something that did two things. Firstly, it doesn’t necessarily assign you to a certain bucket, BetterSkills had the connotation of learning and development and we had to overcome that impression and secondly, we wanted something very fresh and extremely inviting. It is much more fun to log into something called HelloTeam! Our product really focuses on connection and engagement and we needed a name that was reflective of that.  

CB: How does the name change tie into the rebranding?

TB: A lot was based on wanting our name to feel welcoming and new while having a hint of what we could be up to. Our goal is to increase engagement, everything great flows from that. Teams are able to stay connected whether they’re in Boston or Singapore.

HelloTeam's dashboard allows everyone to connect with everyone.

CB: What is the ultimate goal of HelloTeam?

TB: We want to be able to give employees at every level within a company a deep connection with their company and fellow workers. We believe that people who are seen heard and valued lead to a more engaged, connected and inspired workforce. Our software should deepen and encourage engagement leading to better results, increased retention and data-backed people strategies.

CB: Explain what your company does. If it’s a particular software/platform/service/etc. how does it work? Any use case that stands out to you?

TB: We are a modern talent management and engagement platform. Our solution has been leveraged for a couple of interesting use cases. One fast-growing start-up in the Boston area realized they had a large disconnect between their local employees and their decentralized employees. They are growing at such a fast rate that no one can easily find out who does what, who sits where, etc. They’re using our system to bridge that gap and ultimately increase productivity through greater engagement. Another interesting use case is a consulting firm. Consulting firms historically have difficulty fully understanding two major aspects of their staff: availability and skill set. Our solution easily provides consulting firms a view of what current projects an employee is tasked with along with all of the skills they possess. This not only allows employers greater efficacy in assignments but allows them to accurately and quickly present options to their clients.

CB: How big is the team? Looking to hire any particular position in the upcoming months?

TB: Five employees stateside, and seven in Bulgaria. Our Bulgarian team provides our design and development needs. We are actively hiring. We are specifically looking for two business development representatives and several interns for the summer to assist in general sales and marketing activities.

CB: Is the company bootstrapped or seeking investments?

TB: We are VC backed by a couple of prominent firms - one right here in Boston and one in Philadelphia.

CB: Has your company participated in any trade shows/meetup events in the Boston area? What about events outside of Boston?

TB: Outside of Boston we had a booth at HRTech Conference in Las Vegas, October of 2017. Inside of Boston, we’re always attending events where we have the opportunity to connect with people-leaders.

Colin Barry is a contributor to VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash
Images courtesy of HelloTeam.