1. Tell us about your role at PTO Genius?
As Co-Founder and Co-CEO of PTO Genius I am involved in all aspects of the business – from strategy, through sales and marketing, finance and even product. Currently I spend a lot of time thinking about how we can consistently add value to our clients and their workforce during COVID-19 to support their rapidly changing goals and needs.
2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
My co-founders and I (Ulises I. Orozco and Emilio Pineda) had all previously exited companies. As we each took time off to recharge for personal growth and development, we became refreshed and said, why don’t more people do this or feel this way? After doing research, we learned it’s a big problem (over 55% don’t use all their PTO). We said there has to be a way to help people do more with their time off. There wasn’t, so we created it and now we’re on a mission to help those people.
3. How do you think technology is upgrading the HR Sector?
HR technology is giving HR professionals the tools they’ve always wanted – tools to reduce time spent on administrative tasks so they can focus on more strategic initiatives, such as finding top talent, staying on top of compliance, improving performance management through analytics and looking after a company’s most important asset, it’s people.
HR now has the technology and the voice to help shape a company’s culture as it prepares for the ever-changing business landscape.
4. How has digitization empowered HR professionals?
Over the past several years, the HR discipline has undergone a rapid evolution – from a race to the cloud, to a war for talent, to improving the employee experience Digitization has helped make HR more efficient, effective, and connected and HR professionals now have the bandwidth to be the architect of digital transformation.
5. What tips would you like to give, for better employee engagement?
As the saying goes, “You can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” To improve employee engagement, we must first understand the current employee experience and so that means we need feedback. From there, we can learn how to onboard more thoughtfully, better prioritize wellness and enhance recognition of employee contributions. Employees are more likely to be engaged, happier and more productive when they feel that the company has their best interest in mind, thus creating a win-win culture.
6. What are your predictions about the future of the HR industry?
COVID-19 has changed the workplace forever (or at least for the foreseeable future). HR has never been more important than it is today and HR professionals are working around the clock to ensure we all have a safe and positive work environment and looking out for mental and physical well-being. Strategic thinking will become in-house HR’s new core competency, and with the stock of the HR professional rising, look for practitioners to join the C-suite instead of just visiting it to help shape company culture and drive growth.
7. What advice would you like to give to other technology Start Ups?
First, make sure you have a product/market fit. If you’re going to take the plunge, make sure it’s with a product or solution that makes sense and there’s a demand for it. Second, surround yourself with a team smarter than you with expertise in different areas and make sure there’s buy-in for all big company decisions. Third, find experts in the field you’re going into and speak with them. Pick their brain, be vulnerable and do be afraid to ask for help or guidance. You don’t get if you don’t ask!
8. What is the Digital innovation in HR technology according to you that will mark 2020?
With COVID-19, HR technology has never been more important as HR departments are re-thinking the norm and adjusting to today’s landscape. For some that means helping their workforce adapt to working from home or at the office safely, while for others that means digging deeper on developing company culture and improving the employee experience. In 2020, look for advancements in AI to help with the hiring process as well as diversity & inclusion, technology to enhance performance management, and cloud-based HR that focuses on self-service technologies and employee wellness.
9. How do you prepare for an AI-Centric world?
Ask yourself where AI fits in your organization and then educate yourself. Understand how it can help position your company to stay ahead of the curve and the competition, and then start small.
As you implement cutting-edge technology like AI, focus on the human element and dedicate time to train employees and help them get comfortable with these changes. There is a fear that robots will take our jobs. Automation, by shifting jobs, can actually increase our effectiveness and create the capacity to do new work, which in turn increases our capacity for prosperity.
10. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent time?
We are very excited about what’s in the pipeline: Later this year we’ll be onboarding several large customers and also adding new products to an already robust platform. On the horizon are several, substantial strategic partnerships launching in 2021 that will expand the PTO Genius footprint into new markets.
11. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
Our team is made up on incredibly talented individuals who are both dynamic and diverse. They are the reason we are where the company is today and we work together to support each other. Our foundation is based on the best-selling book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. With that, we are a transparent team that holds each other accountable and constantly pushes beyond our comfort level. Working side-by-side with the PTO Genius team has been an amazing and rewarding journey for me so far and I look forward to the challenge of growing our team with the same, like-minded individuals.
12. What movie inspires you the most?
The Pursuit of Happiness because it helps give perspective and shows what hardwork and dedication can lead to. I get fired up every time I watch it!
13. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, so can you share with us some of the fun pictures of your workplace?
With COVID-19 everyone is practicing social distancing and working from home. We have taken advantage of that as an opportunity to build stronger team rapport and deepen relationships through weekly and daily huddles. It’s great to see the occasional video meeting interrupted by a spouse, child or furry friend!
(Enclosed Pic: The founding team at SHRM’s 2019 Annual Florida Conference.)
14. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
I am a minimalist and like structure. One screen is dedicated to business apps (email, calendar, etc) and the other is for everything else which is just the essentials as I’m not a gamer or on social media. Other than that, I use Calm for daily meditation which helps me quiet the mind to better focus on priorities.
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