Focus on people, not paperwork
eSight Eyewear is a mission-driven tech company that enables the legally blind to actually see. With campuses in Toronto and Ottawa, the company has doubled to 90 employees in the past year and plans to double again soon.
With so many new faces joining the team, eSight needed to change the focus from paperwork to people and culture. Here’s how they streamlined their onboarding and HR management to save hours of paperwork per employee.
It seems like the hottest topic in HR today is developing ‘people and culture’. But few businesses know what that actually means or how to do it.
There are a few reasons why. For one, developing people and culture is unique for every single organization. Also, and perhaps more importantly, it takes time.
Time that the average HR manager—overloaded with paperwork and employee requests—simply doesn’t have.
So how can you get on board the People and Culture train without working 80-hour weeks or going plain mad? By cutting down hours spent on tedious, time-consuming tasks. Like HR paperwork, for example.
That’s exactly how eSight’s Sarah Crandlemire changed her focus (and her title) from Office Manager/HR Coordinator to Manager, People and Culture within just one year of implementing Collage.
Here’s how she did it.
Step one: Assess the situation
When Sarah first joined eSight in April 2016, the company’s HR was plagued by a lack of structure and process.
“Employee records were stored on Google Drive or in physical folders, and vacation was tracked via email and spreadsheets from Ottawa,” she explains. Having to go back and forth or search through emails wasn’t just impractical, it was taking up hours of her time.
Realizing this, Sarah focused on establishing core HR functions early-on. “I started researching an HRIS within four months of being here,” she says. “We signed up with Collage early and it ended up being one of the best things we implemented last year.”
“We signed up with Collage early and it ended up being one of the best things we implemented last year.”
Step two: Overhaul onboarding
“Shaping culture starts with bringing in the right people from the right backgrounds, so that’s the first thing I’m working on,” explains Sarah.
For interviews, eSight uses a structured interview process, which has become even more important as they grow and hire faster than ever.
“We have specific questions that we ask every single candidate, no matter what level you are entering the organization,” she explains. “Everyone in the eSight family [how we refer to our team] is extremely empathetic, hardworking, and mission-driven. We just have to build on that as we grow and keep adding the right people with the right skill sets.”
Efficient onboarding is the crucial next step.
Roughly 20% of the eSight family use their product, meaning they are legally blind. It’s part of the company’s mission to level the playing field and hire diverse individuals from all walks of life. Whether legally blind or not, each new hire has a lot to learn about the company’s core values, customer base, and specialized product.
“With digital onboarding, we can focus the first day on training and accommodation instead of all this paperwork. That’s completely changed from our old process and saves me around two hours of admin work for every new employee.”
“[Digital onboarding] saves me around two hours of admin work for every new employee.”
“It used to be me going through all these paper forms, signing off on group benefits, and then manually putting it all into Google Docs. Now that’s been fully removed and taken care of by Collage even before day one,” explains Sarah.
“From the new hire’s point of view, if it helps make their first impression of us a good one, that’s already a huge win.”
“…if it helps make their first impression of us a good one, that’s already a huge win.”
Step Three: Tackle Time Off
eSight’s manual process for tracking time off was also chipping away at Sarah’s time.
“Half the time I didn’t know where employees were. After we got to a certain size as a company, I couldn’t manage the emails. There were just too many cracks.”
Now, employees can request vacation and sick leave through their employee portals, and everything is automatically tracked and calculated.
“Another feature we really like is that when someone takes a sick day, it appears on their calendar. It’s helped us with transparency and reducing emails just asking ‘where is so-and-so today?’”
Finally: Focus on People and Culture
In August, Sarah officially took on the role of Manager, People and Culture. “This is something I’ve been moving towards, and as our company grew, there became more demand and need for it.”
By spending less time on paperwork and vacation tracking, she can focus on what really matters: “we’re adding more structure, incorporating more traditions, putting the right people in place and growing their skills.”
In short: developing people and culture.
What’s next for the fast-growing company?
Determining HR metrics, including metrics for company culture and performance management, are on the roadmap. eSight also plans to double again in the next year, meaning more employee records and requests than ever. Luckily, that won’t mean more time-consuming work for Sarah.
“The feature that people have commented on the most is that you have the chat option. It takes the onus off of me to answer every HR question. It also gives them more ownership. If they want privacy, they can direct their health benefit or other HR questions directly to Collage.”
“Everyone in the eSight family is extremely empathetic, hardworking, and mission-driven. We just have to build on that as we grow.”
Thanks to Sarah Crandlemire and the eSight team for their time and support!
To learn more about eSight’s breakthrough technology – either for yourself or a loved one – visit eSight Eyewear online. If you’re an organization who wants to help level the playing field, either by employing or pledging to employ an individual living with vision loss, contact email@example.com