As the workplace changes rapidly, SHRM leads the way
The workplace as we know it has changed for some time. Beer taps in the office, reimbursed gym memberships, coworking and remote working have all increased in recent years. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home has been sped up, with many companies like Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft saying they will allow some employees to work from home even after the pandemic has ended.
the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) is the largest association of professional human resources members and is based here in Alexandria at 1800 Duke St. SHRM has over 300,000 members who affect the lives of over 115 million workers worldwide.
The organization’s workplace innovation lab, ParagonLabs, launched the inaugural Better Workplaces Challenge Cup last December. The goal of the competition is to find tech startups that work to solve the biggest challenges facing workplaces today, including ‘diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, communication and l ’employee engagement, health and wellness, leadership development, performance management or other issues that impact the workplace,’ read a SHRM press release.
SHRM’s motto is “Better workplaces, a better world”. When Guillermo Corea became Managing Director of ParagonLabs last July, he and his team began to think about how to apply the motto. “What are some of the initiatives we can take to support our mission to create better workplaces to create a better world? We are a laboratory for innovation in the workplace, so we obviously have a link with innovators, with companies or startups trying to innovate in space, so it made sense to offer a pitch competition. Mainly because of what happened last year with the pandemic and how the workplace has changed, ”Corea said in a recent interview.
The startups took part in 17 local tours between February and April in partnership with the local sections of SHRM. Three finalists from each local round were chosen to advance to the regional rounds in June. Five finalists will then present themselves at SHRM’s annual conference and expo in Las Vegas, which will be held in person and online from September 9-12. The winner of the challenge will receive a cash prize of $ 50,000 and / or other investment opportunities and prizes.
Competitors are judged on how their idea helps employees and employers thrive together, brings value to HR professionals, and whether it is a viable business. CultivatePeople, Fringe and Savi are the three finalists for the DC SHRM region.
CultivatePeople was founded by Lola Han from DC and helps employers find fair compensation for employees using their product, Kamsa. “The tech hiring market is hotter and more complex than ever. Participating in the Better Workplace Challenge Cup was an opportunity to give companies visibility on solutions such as Kamsa they need to attract talent while ensuring that employees are compensated competitively, ”Han explained. Customers include MasterClass, Peloton and Porsche Digital.
Fringe helps employers provide lifestyle benefits to employees. Benefits can range from meal or streaming subscriptions to bonuses or ridesharing services that employees can access and choose from on a single online platform. The goal is to produce happier, healthier, and more productive workers who get benefits they actually want to use. “The Better Workplace Challenge Cup has been a great way to showcase what Fringe is doing to top industry leaders through SHRM. We are delighted to participate! Said Jason Murray, co-founder of Fringe.
Savi helps people pay off student debt faster and save money by providing new loan repayment and forgiveness options. The startup works with Fortune 500 employers, member groups, financial institutions, and nonprofits that offer the service as a perk. “We have been connected to SHRM for a long time, both based in DC, and we are delighted to have been selected to participate in the challenge. Student loans are a pressing financial issue for so many Americans, and we’ve seen employers dramatically increase their employee student loan benefit offers in recent years. SHRM has understood the need to innovate in employee benefits and the challenge is just one way to continue to move the industry forward, ”said Savi co-founder Aaron Smith.
Corea hopes that next year’s Better Workplace Challenge Cup will be global, which will allow even more ideas to solve workplace challenges. SHRM has a strong presence in India as well as offices in Dubai and Singapore. “We hope that these technological innovations that we are seeing will certainly have a very significant positive impact in the workplace,” Corea explained.
You can learn more about the Better Workplace Challenge Cup and other ParagonLabs initiatives and virtually watch upcoming regions here.