Looking for fresh, new ways to grow your business? Whether adding skilled employees to your team is a goal or maybe upselling existing customers and attracting new ones is more of a priority, it can be challenging to find the “magic” solution. If you’re an HCM service provider who can relate, read on! Longtime Workforce Ready partner Innovative Business Solutions (IBS) may have cracked the case. What began as an initiative to give back to their local community has turned into a large-scale, ongoing growth opportunity for the California-based service provider.
To provide more information on IBS’s unique opportunity, Human Resource Product Manager Alice Hinton, SPHR, described in detail how it started, “Our company’s co-owner Bob Reynolds was approached by an HR course instructor and fellow community board member from a local community college, looking to modernize her curriculum to become SHRM certified, which at the time, was completely paper-based.” With interest sparked after an initial demo of the Workforce Ready HR module, Alice and her team went to work building out lessons to apply cloud-based technology into the college course’s framework. As a result, students now receive hands-on experience using an HRIS system to prepare them for a tech-driven HR industry.
Alice commented, “Our owners thought this would be a good way to give back to the local community and to possibly drive job candidates to IBS who were taking these courses and had a solid background of the Workforce Ready platform.” And although they’ve received new employee candidates as a result, they never imagined that partnering with the local community college would open a ton of other doors, including increased exposure in the community and revenue-generating opportunities such as upsells and new client business.
For example, one of IBS’s longtime clients with over 400 employees (projecting to grow to 1,000) was looking to switch from the service provider’s old in-house platform to something new but was hesitant to convert to a cloud-based HCM platform like Workforce Ready. Since the community college’s HR instructor happened to be a consultant for the business, she was able to get IBS in front of their client and demo the HR product, which turned into a win. “We retained our client who was at risk and implemented them onto Workforce Ready in July. We were able to salvage the account, in part, because of the work we did at the college. It showed us the power of community networking,” Alice said.
Another example involved IBS’s largest Workforce Ready client with over 900 employees. After conducting an in-person demo on Open Enrollment as an upsell opportunity, Alice was approached by someone in their HR department who told her about her experience getting trained on the Workforce Ready platform through taking HR classes at the local junior college. Admitting her prior experience with Workforce Ready was ultimately how she got the job with IBS’s client who was already using the system, she became a huge advocate for IBS and their platform.
Alice commented, “We’ve now added about 5 new features to the platform for this customer that they didn’t know how to use previously because of this employee’s knowledge of the system from the college’s HR courses.” For Alice, it proved that IBS’s college course initiative is helping to drive candidates to their existing clients and creating “champions” in the community who can help support them and modernize the local business landscape.
Alice also talked about other ways their involvement at the college is driving momentum for the HR product. “I went to an HR conference last week and the community college had a booth there where our clients were talking about the features they were using in the HR module. I came back with 32 new projects that are revenue generating. They all wanted new features, which we charge anywhere from $250 to $1,000 for each feature add-on. And it all started from the hub of these conversations,” Alice said.
When asked to offer advice for other service providers who might be interested in partnering with local colleges, Alice had a few suggestions. “To start, I’d check out websites of local colleges and pull up HR-related course descriptions to see if they are already using some sort of HRIS platform with their students. If not, find a faculty listing and reach out to those teaching the courses. If they’re interested, try to set up a time to meet in person and demo the product for them,” she said. Alice mentioned it’s a win/win for both the college and the provider. You’re giving them innovative technology to prepare their students for today’s modern workforce while creating different avenues to grow.