Experience is always the best teacher, and John Waldmann did not know that it would lay the foundation for his company, Homebase, when he worked an hourly job in high school. He launched the business to ease the hardships his friends and family members faced working in local businesses but now over 100,000 companies recognize its usefulness. Homebase has recently raised $71 million in its Series C fundraising round, bringing the total valuation to around $500 million. The CEO is determined to use the funding to expand the list of services that Homebase offers, so let's tell you more about this ambitious entrepreneur.
1. His Sold Tuxedos While in High School
Waldmann today can boast of being the founder and CEO of a company worth millions of dollars, but he has not always been working with such substantial sums. The first job he got in high school was working in a tuxedo shop as a salesman. It was quite an eye-opening experience into how the hourly jobs work because he learned about the challenges of working and being paid hourly. Consequently, by the time he started Homebase, he already knew what employees encounter in similar situations.
2. What Led Him to Found Homebase
According to John Goodman, Waldmann got the idea to start Homebase while at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He witnessed how his childhood friend, Hunter Brooks, was having a hectic time scheduling and tracking time for the hourly employees in his restaurant. His sister, Emily, on the other hand, worked as a bartender and could not plan due to a lack of proper schedules. With time, he discovered that his sister's case was not an exception. Most single mothers who were hourly employees did not have schedules to plan transportation and child care. For this reason, Homebase was born.
3. He is an Author
Waldmann loves sharing knowledge with the public, and he does so by crafting blog posts for various sires. Four years ago, he wrote an article on employee retention. where he detailed the four best ways to keep your team members. In 2016, he enlightened readers on three ways to save time and money weekly through a blog post that Lightspeed published.
4. Why He Came Up with Homebase Hiring
Even after Waldmann created Homebase to help small businesses with scheduling and managing hourly work, he still recognized that business owners had difficulty getting the right employees. He saw that the local companies would wait for walk-ins, look for prospective candidates on Craigslist or sift through numerous emails to get the right person. Waldmann wanted to make their work easier hence he built Hiring. By 2018, the hiring tool had over 130 job posts crafted by the company's in-house hiring experts, who ensured that employers got the best matches.
5. He Likes Keeping Employees Happy
When Waldmann created Homebase, he wanted the app to help businesses with their unique needs. Therefore, he ensured that it could remind workers through a text alert of an upcoming shift, track if the employees are taking their breaks as they should, or logging overtime hours. That way, the app ensures that a business avoids unexpected labor costs and is compliant with labor laws. Still, the CEO wanted more than just keeping business. Therefore, in 2016 he told TechCrunch that he wanted the app to go a step further and ensure that employers would use the app to set a schedule that put employees' preferences into consideration to make employees happier.
6. He is Thorough
Even after identifying that local businesses were having a hard time getting suitable candidates, Waldmann did not rush to create Hiring. Instead, he began finding out all he could about the challenges faced. According to Homebase, the CEO and his team visited dozens of small business owners to interview them on how they found the suitable candidates, managed interviews, and organized the resumes received. They tested four prototypes in different cities with that information before they embarked on building the hiring tool.
7. He Believes Candidates with Short Stints on Resumes Should Not Be Overlooked
Most employers are always on the lookout for those prospective candidates with short stints in their resumes. They believe such employees cannot hold a job for too long and will therefore make the company incur more hiring costs once they quit after a short period. However, Waldmann advises employers to seek the reason behind the short stints; some employees could have been fired or needed to take some time off work to care for sick loved ones.
8. He Opines There is a Maslow's Hierarchy for Tasks at Work
We know of Maslow's hierarchy for human needs, but Waldmann thinks that even tasks follow such an order. Consequently, in the article he wrote for Medium, the CEO said that spending so much time on administration tasks leaves very little time for higher-order work such as scheduling tasks based on employees' preferences. He added that most problems encountered at work are by-products of inadequate planning tools hence lengthy payroll cycles and last-minute scheduling.
9. He is Not a Fan of Social Media
Waldmann may like sharing his insights on how business can better their operations through the tools his company offers. However, beyond writing for blog posts, the CEO enjoys keeping a low profile. For this reason, his Instagram is a private account; he has only made 30 posts and has 256 followers.
10. He is Appreciative of the Role Small Businesses Play in His Company
In 2020, Waldmann took a minute to write an appreciative blog post during Small Business Week, saying how thankful he is for the local businesses that made communities vibrant before the coronavirus pandemic. He said most people took for granted the sacrifices small enterprises make to keep their customers satisfied, so it was time to say " thank you." Waldmann added that the public is lucky to have local businesses that are resilient enough to think of ways to remain open regardless of the demanding situations to continue serving the communities throughout the good and bad times.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee