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30 Fastest Growing Private Companies to Watch 2021

Curtis Marks, CEO of Click Boarding, Speaks to The Silicon Review: ‘We Help Leading Enterprises Achieve a Higher ROI by Building Personalized Onboarding Experiences and Focusing on Retention’


“We’ve made it our mission to create exceptional experiences across the employee journey.”

As companies struggle to engage new employees while efficiently adhering to compliance standards effectively, Click Boarding makes HR's job easier by replacing disjointed and inconsistent onboarding processes with a single, secure and streamlined platform that delivers the engaging welcome new employees expect.

Click is a modern onboarding platform that excites H.R. and new hires by blending great employee engagement, new hire forms, and onboarding tasks into a simple, flexible and compliant solution.

The company was founded in 2013 and is based in Minneapolis, MN.

Interview Excerpt: Curtis Marks

Please can you provide a brief overview of when you started Click Boarding and what market need it solved at the time?

Click Boarding was originally started when I ran Verifications, Inc.—the fifth-largest
pre-employment screening company in the U.S. Besides, the FCRA got stricter about when people could be offered a job, which further abetted our plan of setting up Click Boarding. The more rigorous FCRA meant the more thorough background check, which became part of onboarding (hiring followed by the mandatory background check, obviously).

There was nothing to manage that flow and experiences these employees were having by getting multiple phone calls, multiple emails from various companies asking for more information in the background. It was very confusing for them; therefore, it wasn't thoughtful what they were going through. That was our way to do better—organize the flow of information to the new employee once they've been offered the job.

We literally would have them go to a website and have them navigate themselves through it. The fall-off rate was huge, unfortunately. When we measured it, people would be in there for not more than 30 - 40 seconds. They didn't know where to go.

We took them through everything from engagement to accomplish and also helped the employer to give them everything they needed to have done. So, it was bidirectional.

So since that time, kind of given that's how we've built out our focus area, I clicked to date, how has the H.R. tech ecosystem evolved from your perspective?

We found that the applicants knew they are soon to be new employees. They were demanding consumer software. So, they wanted something easy, friendly that they could navigate through easily. They also needed to make sure that we were mobile to do it on the phone. Almost 70 percent of the candidates coming through are using their mobile phones.

We also knew that it had to be a guided experience going back to it and that it needed to stress engagement. Because still to this day, when I think about people coming into their first day of work, I mean, it's no different than your first day of high school. You're nervous. You're excited, but you want to be informed. You don't want to be overdressed. You don't want to be under dressed. You want to know what time is expected to come and go. This is how the employees feel when they do go into a first job.

If they don't receive any communication whatsoever, it gets scarier. Our job is to inform them what's going to happen, what to expect, and at the same time, getting all their paperwork filled out. So an employee's first day isn’t just about showing up and just filling out paperwork, whether online or other.

How have you seen this shift between engagement and compliance in the world of onboarding? How is that shifted over the last couple of years?

We belong to the background screening environment where it is all about compliance, which never scares us. However, the majority of people associated with the software industry are worried about it. The two (engagement and compliance) have to be tightly coupled because you have to go through and make sure that the engagement you're doing is compliance and that you're getting the right information from them in a proper way. So, yes, the two processes are entirely connected.

Given the challenges of COVID-19 and the move for everyone for digital transformation, are there new themes in the market we're listening to?

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything!

If you're on a Zoom call with your teams, you sit there, and you’re trying to judge who that person is, but it's not that one-on-one interaction where you're sitting around the water cooler just talking about life. They're new employees; therefore, it’s unnatural for them to engage in a conversation with people they have never seen before, physically. How do they connect to other people within the organization is challenging! So, this changes the complete dynamics of understanding how engaged this employee is.

I don't think a remote workplace is going to be much more accepted and much greater. You're going to see people who will come to work two to three days a week and be at home for a couple of days. How will we ensure that person is engaged and specifically that new employee—for the first 12 months? A study reveals that if you can get someone to stay that first 12 months, you've got a much higher probability of having a long-term employee.

What do you do for engagement?

For engagement and retention, we came up with a product called Click Engage. It measures new employees’ engagement for the first 12 months who are at work. We measure that through different data-driven questions that we provide them with on intervals that the end-user wants.

What I mean is when someone's coming to a new job; they're probably nervous but still excited. They made a change for a reason joining a new workplace. Their engagement level should be very high as much as their excitement. Therefore, we look at that as a baseline of data, and then we continue to measure through data-driven questions. Is there engagement in the first 12 months? Is that going up, or is it decreasing? And if it's dropping, Click Engage lets us notify the H.R. manager, supervisor, or whomever they have reported.

The new employee might have an issue with a particular person, so their engagement will be dropping. Maybe the manager that's managing this new employee is not doing a great job. What can we do, or what do you think we should be doing when it comes to this? Based on the data coming from the questions that we ask them, we can ascertain what they might need more of to see if we can't meet that particular employee's needs because that's so important. The pandemic and its immediate effect on employee engagement is harshly dire. The solution: Employees must return to work.

Given where you're going with your product, how can Click help your clients deliver ROI to their business?

Usually, workers will not be productive after the first six months, but for six months, they're drinking from the fire hose or trying to figure out everything that's going on so they can start adding well. After six months, they're not engaged, and they're not feeling good about what they're doing daily.

Now, you've lost six months of paying for someone. You've lost their recruiting fees to hiring them, recruiting fees to hire the next person, and you have another six months to get them up. So you've just lost one year of salary. Not even touching about the opportunity cost of why you hired that person; we're just talking about non-production at that point. You've probably just given away one hundred thousand dollars of the company's money.

That said, we ensure this does not happen to any of our clients. That’s how we deliver ROI to our clients’ businesses.

How do you think organizations need to evolve to post-pandemic to keep retention rates high and attrition rates low?

I think companies are realizing more and more that their most valuable asset is their people. Hiring the right people and retaining them makes a company valuable.

When you talk to most CEOs today, the number one thing on their mind is how to attract great people and how to retain them? That's really where the value of a company is, no doubt. As the pandemic has evolved, most employers have embraced the ‘Work from Home’ model of working. This model of working too has two sides: positive and negative.

Working remotely is comparatively flexible, but losing top talent at the cost of flexibility is not worth it.

“We’ve dedicated ourselves to developing the easiest, most empowering way for H.R. to deliver modern onboarding experiences that beat employee expectations, maintain superior compliance, and help everyone, including H.R., achieve their potential.”