The COVID-19 pandemic shifted the world of work, hitting the fast-forward button on several workplace trends. Trends like remote work, work-life balance, more control for employees and automation of processes are now being demanded for productivity.
It is now more important than ever for companies to keep their employees happy and productive. In the ever-evolving landscape of HR technology, one company stands out for its mission to simplify and digitise HR operations in Africa.
Pade HCM, founded by Seye Bandele and Lekan Omotosho, is a top human capital management (HCM) startup trying to help employers keep their employees happy. In this story, we delve into Pade's journey, achievements, and vision, offering insights from our interview with the co-founder and other senior leaders at the company.
Pade HCM's story began against the backdrop of a pressing need for digital transformation in HR processes across Africa. According to a report by Africa HR Trends, as of 2018, a staggering 80% of companies in Africa identified poor digitisation as a significant challenge in their HR operations.
Pade's co-founder and CEO, Seye Bandele, a former marketing lead at Yudala and Konga, recognised this pressing need. Together with Lekan Omotosho, a software engineer with whom Seye had developed a relationship with collaborating on projects with the government of the Federal Capital Territory and other state governments in the country, embarked on a mission to build a platform that would make HR operations simpler, more efficient, and less time-consuming for businesses across the continent.
"Our goal is to help businesses become more efficient, freeing up their time to focus on strategic work," Bandele told Bendada.com over a call. "Professionals should not spend valuable time handling HR tasks that can be automated with little human interaction."
In 2020, they started researching the problem, tearing down existing solutions to see what worked and what didn't. They noticed the products available tended to focus on large corporations, and there was no offering for small and medium-scale businesses which are the drivers of the economy, so they built an MVP with which they got their first client. Over the next six months, with feedback from that client, they fine-tuned the product before officially launching in July 2021.
Early this year, in a bid to drive the company's growth, and product development, the company secured $500,000 in pre-seed funding in a round led by Zrosk IML, Zedcrest Capital, Microtraction, and Resilience 17, with participation from several angel investors. It would be the catalyst for a new suite of products.
Not too long after the seed round, the company announced another key milestone, with the launch of Pade 3.0. This upgraded version introduced several features aimed at aligning employee performances with business objectives.
Using methods like OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) or the Balanced Scorecard, organisations can assign objectives to team members and connect them to overall company strategies or goals.
Getting “Pade” before payday with the Earned Wage Access feature
The key to success as a business revolves around focusing not only on your customers but also on your employees. But why should employee happiness make a difference to your business?
Happy employees feel pride and accomplishment in their work and like what they do. This sense of meaning has a positive feedback loop—that sense of satisfaction reduces stress, which can positively affect productivity.
Happy and engaged employees also tend to miss work less, perform better, and support company innovation. When employees are happy, loyal, and engaged, company profits are much higher—and turnover is much lower.
With the current state of living in Nigeria where inflation keeps skyrocketing, and the economy keeps plummeting, a major way to keep employees happy is by providing access to their salaries. For the average Nigerian employee, keeping up with the times is an uphill task as the cost of living keeps rising.
To help employers keep their employees happy, Pade is introducing another standout product called Earned Wage Access (EWA). EWA provides employees with access to their earned wages when needed, instead of the typical end-of-month remuneration, helping to reduce financial stress and enhance retention. Bandele passionately highlights its significance, stating, "EWA enhances employee engagement and productivity. It's a win-win for both sides," he said.
EWA was developed as a result of a growing trend seeing employees demand much more freedom from their employers, not just in how they earn, but in how they work and where they work.
The EWA app users have features such as the ability to track company goals and objectives that have been set by their managers and measure how their performance is contributing to the goals.
Furthermore, employees can pay their bills from the Pade app, get access to their payslips and request for their leave. So rather than hounding for their payslips, employees will be able to generate it themselves.
Finally, there's financial education to educate employees on how to manage and multiply the money they are making.
Speaking on the newly launched product, Ore Badmus, PadeHCM’s Product Marketing and Communications Lead told Bendada.com that: "Pade is committed to making sure that employees get happiness and fulfilment from their jobs by empowering them with more access. This also entails educating them on how best to manage their money, so they can have their most desired outcome.”
Since its inception in 2020, Pade HCM has been on a journey to empower African businesses with the tools they need to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Pade has made substantial progress, serving over 100 companies and managing the profiles of more than 13,000 employees. The company's payroll product has successfully processed over $40 million, and its impact has spread across 54 countries.
"Our software helps organisations with onboarding, payroll, compliance, performance management, asset management, disciplinary actions, and exit processes, providing reliable HR management solutions in all areas," Bandele explained, highlighting the comprehensive nature of Pade's offerings.
Pade HCM’s recognizes that Africa presents the largest opportunity for workforce growth globally. Despite its young and rapidly growing population, Africa’s economic growth and development have lagged behind other regions. "Our key focus is to deliver Africa into profitability," according to Seye.
Pade wants to be the backbone of the workforce in Africa and see to it that the lives of African employers and employees are improved. With the numerous disruptions that are happening in the world of work, the company is on a mission to revolutionise HR practices in Africa. It seeks to simplify HR operations, digitise processes, and empower organisations to thrive in the ever-evolving world of work.