Welcome to HR Mavericks
Small business HR leaders know the difficulties of hiring, managing, paying and engaging frontline employees and creating an exceptional employee experience where people can excel.
On this introductory episode of HR Mavericks, the weekly small business HR podcast, host Garrett Jestice, CMO at Eddy, and Travis Hansen, CEO at Eddy, explain how this new podcast will help small businesses streamline their HR processes and improve their employee experience for frontline workers.
What we talked about:
- Why Travis decided to start Eddy and where the name Eddy came from
- Why small, local businesses often struggle with HR processes and employee experience
- How weekly episodes of HR Mavericks will feature tangible ideas from small business HR professionals and thought leaders
Ideas for future topics for guests? Reach out to Garrett on LinkedIn and let him know!
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You’re listening to HR Mavericks, a weekly podcast, featuring leading small business HR professionals who share their experiences and insights to help you know how to turn your HR processes and employee experience into a strategic business advantage. Let’s get into the show.
Garrett: Welcome to this first introductory episode of HR Mavericks. I am your main host Garrett Jestice. I’m the Chief Marketing Officer at Eddy, a payroll and HR software provider, and I’m super excited that you have decided to be with us today. I want to share more about what listeners can expect from this show, but before we do that, I want to introduce my guest today who’s going to help provide a little bit of background on why we are doing this podcast. So I have with me Travis Hansen. He’s the CEO at Eddy. Yes, he’s my boss, but also a super interesting guy, a former professional athlete, a serial entrepreneur who started lots of different businesses, and even an amateur surfer, which I think we will talk a little bit about today.
Travis welcome! Thanks for joining.
Travis: Thanks for having me Garrett. Super excited about the podcast and happy to be here.
Garrett: I’m excited about it too. Before we get in again to talking a little bit more about what people can expect from future episodes, I thought it would be good if we just share a little bit of background on your background, which I think is good context for why we’re starting this podcast. Then we’ll get into a little bit more about what people can expect. So I guess to jump into that — tell our listeners a little bit more about your background, how you went from professional athlete to serial entrepreneur, the CEO of a software company.
Travis: Yeah happy to. My dad, was born and raised in Idaho, my mom in Washington. They met that BYU-Idaho. Came down here to attend college and my dad was getting an accounting degree, and so I came from an amazing family. My mom passed away from pancreatic cancer when I was at the young age of 18 and last thing she asked me was “Man, would you go on a mission?” and I ended up serving a mission and went to Chili Santiago. Came back. I was 10 days after serving a two year mission and I went to LA Compton for a tournament and drove baseline—and all that pan and empanadas, I was a little overweight—I grabbed the rim, dunked it, and it broke the backboard. And as I fell, the rim landed behind me. I ended up having stitches. My dad took me to LA hospital where I sat for about 6 hours trying to get stitched up and from there I didn’t have any real hard times getting a scholarship offer.
I found my way back to BYU, to be home near my family and play in front of them. Had a great career. Met my beautiful wife, LaRee, during those times, and then got lucky. I got drafted in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks—go Hawks for all those Atlanta fans out there—and then played another 10 years for Real Madrid and Dynamo Moscow Russia. So it was a blast. We feel very grateful. We moved 13 times in 21 years. Our 21 year anniversary is this Tuesday. We have 5 kids and it’s just been a great ride.
Garrett: That’s awesome! Congratulations! It’s cool hearing that story and that background, so I guess the takeaway is if you want to make it to the NBA, you got to be able to break the rim off the backboard, is that it?
Travis: Not necessarily, but it definitely helps. I got lucky.
Garrett: That’s good. So then you’re a professional basketball player in the NBA and also overseas in Europe for about 10 years you said. How do you go from that to, you know, an entrepreneur? What you’re doing now. Tell us a little bit more about that journey.
Travis: Yeah it’s interesting! You know, my dad was an entrepreneur. He owned Hansen Insulation, a local insulation company, and so I learned a lot watching him and how he operated. When I came home after being done and retiring from playing basketball, I didn’t know what to do with my life. I think a lot of people fall in that season of life. Potentially people are in that season of life right now where they don’t know. And I was lucky to go find mentors. People that are older than you, they’ve seen a lot more than you, and have experience. They have a deep well to draw from and provide knowledge and advice, and I found one named Blake Roney.
He took me out to lunch. He said ‘So what are you going to do with your life? I loved watching you play, but okay, what’s next?’. And I said I don’t know and he’s the one that put the seed and planted it and said, “Look, you would be really good at business and I think businesses are the one of the most charitable things you can do if you build them the right way and treat people right. It’s hard to compete with nurses and school teachers and moms, but building businesses really can be one of the most charitable things you can do. That was the first time I’ve ever heard that, and you know, I love helping people. I believe helping people is where true happiness comes, and I never correlated business with giving back and business with helping others and I loved it. I was addicted to it and we’ve been in business ever since.
Garrett: That’s awesome, I love that—that business can be one of the most charitable things you can do. I bet a lot of our listeners that come from an HR background will really resonate with that right? I think that’s why so many people who get into leadership often choose a career like HR, because they want to help people. They want to help people succeed in their roles. They want to help companies succeed. So I love hearing that. So you have since started a couple of different businesses. You have your hand in some investments, in some real estate, started a lending company, and then you decided a couple years ago to start Eddy, which is an HR and payroll software company. Tell us a little bit more about that decision. Why did you make the decision to go into that HR space?
Travis: Yeah, really good question. I came home and I got into real estate. You know, I watched enough 30 for 30’s ESPN that I didn’t want to be another athlete that was broke after running ladders and getting yelled at my whole career. And so I really wanted to protect the money I did make, and so I got into real estate and then, after that, kind of did some passive investments, trying to dance around and learn business. I didn’t really—I still—don’t know much, but I’m learning and I got really obsessed. I read like 92 books in one year and listened or read everything, met with anybody, and did some investments. Started a fin-tech company and started a tech company and both of them, honestly, it was about the people. I really don’t think you build a company, you build a team. And the team is who builds a company. It is all about recruiting and putting together a right team and that’s a lot more art than science, especially in sports.
You know, money doesn’t solve everything, you can’t just go and buy the best players, it’s a lot more personalities and characteristics, and how to get those teams to really perform and be productive together and be unified in their mission. And that’s HR. That’s strategy. That’s what you need in software is one of the things that efficiently should help you do it the right way, and there was nothing out there. We used a ton of different HR systems and we needed one bad. I always wanted to be in SaaS. I always wanted to build a software company and we needed an HR software that allowed us to build a legacy system and to protect the company, but also to provide an incredible experience to the employee.
Garrett: Yeah, that’s awesome. I want to come back to that in a minute, but I also want you to share just a little bit more about where the name Eddy came from. This was something that I thought was so cool when I first met you and started learning about the company before I joined. So where did that name Eddy come from?
Travis: Well we knew we wanted to call it and name it a name. We resonated with us in the team ‘Alexa’ and certain products that actually have names. We always thought it would be cool to say, ‘throw it in Eddy’ or ‘have Eddy do it’. And I’m a beach bum. You know, after playing basketball, I’m a surfer. I love the sun. I love the beach. I think a lot of people can relate with that. How much happiness it brings you just being there by the beach. And Eddie Aikau is an incredible story of the ultimate water man. He was a surfer, a life guard, a family man, a friend, a traveler, he was a musician, and he was born and raised in Hawaii and was the second oldest of 5 kids and was completely addicted to surfing and the ocean. But he also—he was very talented—but he’s also addicted to helping people. And during his career as a lifeguard at Waimea Bay, he managed to rescue and save over 500 people throughout his young life.
One night an accident happened, people were stranded in the ocean and they said ‘Eddie will go’, ‘Eddie would go’, and that was a saying where no one else would dare jump in the ocean with all the waves, with all the storms, and paddle out to save people. And Eddie did. Unfortunately, one night he lost his life doing it and trying to help people. So we named Eddy after an icon, someone that you know gave his life and all his talents in trying to make other people’s lives better and trying to save their lives.
Garrett: Love that. That’s such an inspiring story. I think, there’s so many similarities to small business, HR professionals right. They’re the solo person, who is often there trying to save lives and help people have an awesome career and to help the company be successful. And sometimes they are the unsaid heroes—the people behind the scenes that are making it all happen. So I love that. I think that’s great.
So going back to what you were saying before about your inspiration in starting Eddy, I wanted to just dive into that just for a minute and just share some of my own thoughts. So you know we kind of come to this question of like. Why are we starting this podcast? That’s some good helpful context on you, but why a podcast and, you know for me, really that comes down to we just want to surface tangible tips, firsthand experiences to help small local businesses, improve their HR processes and their employee experiences. That’s what we hope to accomplish with this podcast. So we’re going to be interviewing actual HR, small business, HR professionals and thought leaders every week and talking about topics that are just relevant, top of mind for them.
And going back to like what you said, the inspiration for wanting to start Eddy, this company. You said you had this challenge where there’s lots of different HR solutions out there, but you just didn’t find one that had the right fit for what you needed. I think a lot of small businesses face that challenge. There’s some unique challenges that small businesses face—especially like local businesses that have frontline or deskless workers. They have a lot of people out in the field. There’s some unique challenges there that those types of businesses face in really optimizing and improving that employee experience. Would you agree?
Travis: Absolutely. Yep, HR has been overlooked. It’s been frustrating to even see in our own company how, naturally you don’t give them the resources they need, but they’re, so strategic and so core to your success. Your success is dependent on people and those people have to be unified and they have to be happy and the happier they are the more productive they are and that’s not easy. And then on the HR side, you have to protect the company from rogue employees or from people that you know just are interesting and don’t have the company’s best interest at hand, and so HR really plays a really really important role.
I’m a HR nerd. I got a confession. I just love it. I love everything about HR. I love employee experience. I love performance management. I love payroll. I love just getting in the weeds and trying to figure out this really interesting problem of what is HR. Why does it exist and how can we strategically make it better and help make local businesses better?
Garrett: Yeah, I think that’s fascinating and I totally agree. I’ve seen that working with you closely. You know you are that HR nerd, always diving in and wanting to learn more about it. So you know going back to what we were talking about with small business HR, especially, I think what’s interesting Is I’ve learned a lot more about this space and talking to a lot of small business HR professionals out there. They’re really two major challenges that small business HR professionals face. Often the first is that they have limited resources. Often they’re a solo, HR team. It’s a single person responsible for all HR responsibilities for a company and there’s so much that falls under that HR umbrella. So how do you manage your time so that you can get all the administrative HR tasks done and know how to do that efficiently, but then also be able to focus on the strategic HR stuff like building culture and improving the employee experience?. So that’s number one one of the big challenges I’ve faced and that’s some of what we’re going to really be talking about on this podcast in future episodes.
The second is what I mentioned a little bit before, especially local small businesses that have a lot of deskless or frontline workers. Some of the statistics that I found about this is just crazy that you know 80% of the world’s workforce doesn’t sit at a desk all day like the rest of us, they’re out there in the field, they’re on the front lines. You know, these are electricians, their plumbers, their carpenters, or you know, they’re people in retail sales or waitresses or nurses. And most of these frontline workers are employed by small businesses, especially here in the U.Ss, but there’s some challenges that come to really creating an excellent employee experience for people who aren’t at a desk, who are out in the field. And there’s also some challenges that come with finding the right tools to empower those people.
You know I thought it was interesting again: 80% of the world’s workforce doesn’t sit at a desk all day, yet only 1% of software venture funding goes towards tools that are specifically made for deskless workers. The majority of software tools out there are for people who are sitting at a desk all day. So again, there’s some big challenges that come with being a small business, HR professional and hope to really address those in future episodes of HR Mavericks. So for all of you listeners out there, we hope you tune in to future episodes here. We will do our best to make sure that it’s tangible firsthand experiences. Tangible tips you can take away from small business HR professionals to help you improve your HR processes for your small business and help you improve the employee experience for your frontline workers. So thank you all for listening to this first introductory episode. Travis, thank you again for joining and helping share a little bit of context and background here and we’re excited for future episodes. We’ve got some good ones coming up.
Travis: HR Mavericks! Let’s go! Thanks for having me Garrett. Super excited to see the next episode.
Garrett: Appreciate it. We’ll talk to you later. See ya.
Travis: Thanks, see ya.
Today, enduring companies know that their people are their most important assets and they invest in helping them excel.
But often small businesses with limited HR resources struggle to manage their people, payroll, and processes efficiently and create an environment where frontline, deskless employees thrive.
That’s why we created Eddy. Eddy is the all-in-one HR Suite built for local businesses that streamlines tedious HR processes and improves the employee experience for frontline workers.
With Eddy you can hire, manage, pay and engage employees with one easy-to-use software. No headache required.
You’ve already done the hard part by creating a great business. Now let us help you take it to the next level.
Visit eddy.com today to request a demo.