Online marketing is an essential tool for web-based start-ups. That is according to John Dennehy, managing director of HR Locker, a new supplier of web-based human resource systems to SMEs.
Established last September, HR Locker is
working with the Dublin City University research centre, LINK, to develop an effective online marketing strategy with good search engine rankings and social media tools.
“Marketing is now, without doubt, the most important thing to get right for any online business. Understanding the relationship between online and off-line marketing is critical,” said Dennehy.
With a British launch planned for later in the year, Dennehy the company is also in talks with VC investors.
Funding the business
“I had been funding the business myself, but in the long run we need more financial security. We will announce a venture capital investment in the company very shortly,” said Dennehy.
HR Locker is designed to help business owners to tackle HR issues in an increasingly legislated environment.
“HR is not something people really think about in the early stages. People tend to prioritise pressing demands like sales, finance and product development. However, we are all entering a new environment with greater regulation,” said Dennehy.
“The National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) is having a significant impact in bringing about greater awareness of employment law. In many cases, employees are better informed than their managers.”
HR Locker allows users to collate handbooks for staff, outlining policies and procedures.
Handbook in less than 5 minutes
“From our own research, 70 per cent of SMEs in Ireland do not have legally compliant HR policies and procedures. Now, at www.hrlocker.ie, any company can generate a legally compliant staff handbook in less than five minutes for e200.
“Employees can log in, read or print the handbook and provide an electronic signature to confirm that they have read, understood and agree to abide by it. That solves two problems for the company. It has covered itself by providing the essential policies and procedures and management now have a record of that all staff have or have not signed it,” said Dennehy.
HR Locker employs five staff — two developers, a tester and a graphic designer — at its offices in Cork. The company also sells www.assemblypoint.com, an online HR tool for calculating timesheets and annual leave and keeping track of staff absences and employee records.
HR Locker partnered with human resources specialist, Graphite HRM, to design the system. “Our biggest problem was that we are a technology company and needed HR expertise,” said Dennehy.
“I approached Simon McRory, the managing director of Graphite HRM, to provide that expertise. He saw the potential straight away and agreed to provide all the HR content for our service. We could not have launched the service without them.”
HR Locker has opted for the software-as-a-service model to sell its products.
“Infrastructure is a challenge for any web-based business. Previously, companies needed a lot of hardware and software expertise to build up a robust infrastructure. We did not want to build that up internally so we launched on Windows Azure, Microsoft’s new cloud computing platform,” said Dennehy.