MacStadium is the leading provider of enterprise-class cloud infrastructure built on Apple Mac computers, providing scalable, reliable, and secure private clouds and dedicated servers for workloads that require macOS. MacStadium is trusted by iOS developers, mobile testing teams, and DevOps engineers around the world. By combining patented technology, proprietary configurations, and unparalleled expertise in Apple hardware, MacStadium can meet the needs of any business from growing startups to large enterprises that require infrastructure for their app development needs.
After a number of years working in HR and recruiting, Teresa founded Hire Ventures, Inc. “I had worked with a lot of companies in the tech and telecom industry during its big boom, and later with tech startups, which is where I really found my passion. I founded Hire Ventures to serve early-stage technology companies, to help them lay their HR foundation and implement processes that will enable growth and sustainability.”
After starting Hire Ventures, Teresa engaged with an early-stage telecom start-up she’d worked at in the past for a number of years, which led to working through growth, reductions, acquisitions and major corporate changes. One of those acquisitions brought CEO, Greg McGraw, into the company. After selling that organization, he went on to lead multiple other entrepreneurial ventures and engaged Teresa with Hire Ventures to provide recruiting and HR consulting services at several of them. Fast forward to 2017, he brought her in to MacStadium.
Like Teresa, Michael worked in the telecom industry for many years as he built his career in finance. In 2011, MacStadium was incubated inside of a data center at the telecom company he was working for. “Since then, MacStadium has grown like crazy. I remember getting our first customer in 2012. Today, we have over 10,000 servers across five data centers—that’s two in Europe, three in the US—and nearly 100 employees worldwide.”
Chrissy’s HR career began with a passion for Political Science. “I wanted to be a lawyer—until I realized how much it would cost to go to law school! Instead, I decided to find another avenue where I could still integrate my passion for law, and human resources is a great field to ‘practice law.’ So, I got my MBA in HR.” Since then, Chrissy has worked as an internal human resources business partner as well as in external HR consulting roles, but quickly learned she preferred the former. In 2018, that led her to lead HR in-house at MacStadium.
Ever since MacStadium spun out into its own company in 2012, they had been using TriNet. In May 2017, they got a new round of funding and sought to use that to spur growth and hiring. “At that point,” Michael recalls, “we started wondering if we were outgrowing the PEO model, since we were growing past 30 employees.”
Michael and the MacStadium team knew they wanted to look into a new solution, but he wasn’t sure he was cut out to manage the search himself. “Up until late 2017, the CEO and I were the ones managing all our HR processes. We were out of our depth, but we weren’t quite ready to hire a full-time HR professional. So, we contracted Teresa at Hire Ventures to help us get our HR foundation in place and manage hiring.”
When Teresa came on board, she validated MacStadium’s theory that it was time to transition from TriNet. “A PEO like TriNet just doesn’t make sense once you pass a certain employee count, and with MacStadium’s growth projections, it was definitely time to switch.”
As CFO, the cost of a new HR system was key for Michael. “TriNet is really expensive. It’s fine when you have 10 or 20 employees, but when we started pricing out our options at 40 employees, we realized that we’d really outgrown the PEO model probably a year prior. You pay per employee and don’t get any volume discounts, so as you grow it just doesn’t make sense. Plus, they nickel-and-dime you to death. Extra payroll runs, expense reports, everything. It really adds up.” Cost savings and a better pricing model were at the top of MacStadium’s wishlist.
What MacStadium valued about their experience with TriNet was having all of their people needs—HR, payroll, benefits, performance, and so on—managed by a single provider. It would be a big win to find a platform that still offered that experience outside of the PEO model.
Teresa recalls that both administrators and users found TriNet challenging to use. “In TriNet, you don’t have the ability to do a lot yourself in the system. Employees expressed a lot of frustration around things they couldn’t do, and the delays involved in TriNet delivering things they needed.” Michael added that the interface itself also left a lot to be desired. “TriNet is really an antiquated system. It’s pretty clunky, and not user-friendly.” All users would benefit from a more modern, user-friendly system with expanded capabilities for self-service.
While it was clear that they wanted to transition from TriNet, it wasn’t yet clear what new solution would best fit the company’s growth. Teresa led the charge on exploring options. “All PEOs are not made equal—there’s a lot of variation in pricing that could make a certain PEO still economical for MacStadium, so that model wasn’t off the table. We also considered adopting point solutions, which would mean finding a broker, finding a separate payroll system, finding a separate HRIS, and so on. Finally, we considered Namely, which would provide all of the functionality of those point systems under one roof.”
Once Teresa narrowed down the options to a few providers, she brought Michael and the CEO back into the evaluation process to see demos. “It was clear from our first demo with Namely that the customization and functionality of the system were incredibly robust. Not only did it offer the technology for HRIS, payroll, and benefits administration, but it offered brokerage services as well. It offered all the advantages of ‘bundling’ we’d gotten from TriNet, but with a better user experience and smaller price tag. We were sold.”
“As ‘the money guy,’ the cost savings are my favorite part about Namely,” Michael says. “Even at 40 employees, we were already overpaying with TriNet.” Now that their headcount is double that (and growing) Michael can rest easy knowing that Namely’s pricing will support rather than hinder their continued growth.
Chrissy had formerly served as an HR business partner at a payroll and HR software company, so she was familiar with their payroll model. “The learning curve for processing payroll in Namely compared to that system is significantly smaller—almost non-existent. It’s a very easy system to use and understand. Deductions, taxes, all of those things that go into employee paychecks are really simple and seamless to input. Plus, not having to pay for extra one-off payroll runs puts everyone’s mind at ease. Overall, Namely’s payroll system has really been the biggest value-add to me.”
Hire Ventures continues to manage MacStadium’s entire recruiting process. Teresa selected and implemented JazzHR as an ATS, and integrated it with Namely. “I’ve implemented other systems that promise integrations with other systems, but I usually find that they aren’t ‘true’ integrations. The integration between Jazz and Namely is really clean, and makes the talent acquisition and onboarding process efficient and streamlined. Given that MacStadium is a cloud-based company, everything they do is electronic. Namely’s onboarding tool being paperless, while still letting you gather and store all the important information and documentation necessary, has been truly exceptional.”
Especially at a growing company, performance management is a key element of your talent strategy. However, MacStadium was not set up for success to implement a strong program. “TriNet had a performance tool, but it wasn’t very good,” Michael says. “We bought it, but we could never get it working properly. Because of that, combined with the fact that we hadn’t had a full-time HR person or a lot of foundational HR processes in place, we hadn’t been very diligent about our performance processes.”
Today, it’s a different story. “Namely has a much more robust and easy-to-use performance tool—which is native to the platform rather than an add-on, no less. Now that we have Namely’s performance module at our disposal, we’re ready to kick that back into gear.” Chrissy is excited to take on the challenge. “We’re currently reviewing our performance strategy and thinking about what we’d like it to be. I know Namely will be a critical piece in building out our performance processes and saving me time, as well.”
From her many years of consulting with Hire Ventures, Teresa has evaluated countless HR, payroll, and benefits systems. Her advice for finding the best one for your organization? “Review all of your considerations. Don’t think just in terms of transactions—think about the experience. There are a ton of systems out there for payroll processing, benefits enrollment, employee data management, and so on. Don’t just ask if a system can do something. Ask how they do it, and what the capabilities for customization are. What excited us about Namely is that it provides the technology to support all HR processes, with a lot of customization options to make the system work uniquely for MacStadium, and provides a streamlined, easy-to-use experience too.”
Michael encourages any growing company to consider making the same transition MacStadium did. “I’ve spoken to a number of other CFOs who are on PEOs. Especially on the cost savings side, what you think you’re getting out of a PEO may not be the case, even earlier than you’d expect. The next time your benefits come up for renewal, it’s worth pricing out. In terms of cost savings, ease of use of the system, employee experience, and so on, we’ve been really happy with Namely and glad we made the switch.”
Chrissy’s advice is simple. “If you would like to make your life easier as an HR professional, Namely is a great tool. Namely makes technical work easy for both administrators and employees, so you can focus on strategic work.”
MacStadium is one of more than 1,400 companies that use Namely to streamline people operations, payroll, benefits, and time & attendance needs.
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