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WorkJam, a platform companies like Kroger, Shell, and Target use to engage with frontline workers, has raised $35 million in a round of funding from Silver Lake Waterman.

Founded out of Canada in 2014, WorkJam serves as a communication conduit that allows headquarters to liaise with those working out in the field, from health care professionals and manufacturing personnel to grocery delivery drivers and anyone not tethered to a physical desk.

Modular

The WorkJam platform constitutes various “modules” that businesses can pick and choose from, depending on their needs, including managing shifts and tasks; clocking in and out; training; surveying and polling; messaging; and more — all from a single app.

At its core, WorkJam is setting out to improve “productivity and employee retention,” WorkJam CEO Steven Kramer told VentureBeat. “WorkJam enables companies to use the labor they have more efficiently,” he said. “When frontline employees feel more connected to and heard by their employer, it fosters engagement. When employees feel like they have opportunities to find extra shifts, take training to increase their skillset and value, be recognized for good work — all of these things add up to a more engaged employee that is more motivated and satisfied with their work.”

For example, with the WorkJam Task Management module, companies can broadcast and assign daily tasks directly to frontline employees with the skills necessary for those tasks. And through its Open Shift Marketplace module, they can communicate all their available shifts to their frontline workforce — including open shifts at nearby locations. “This enables powerful increases in labor utilization efficiencies,” Kramer added.

Above: Open Shifts in WorkJam

The Montréal-based company also recently launched WorkJam Everywhere, allowing companies to integrate WorkJam’s various components into third-party platforms through APIs. This means companies can plug an individual WorkJam module — for example, timesheets or scheduling — directly into Microsoft Teams.

This effectively means WorkJam has decoupled its backend from its front-end, in what Kramer said was akin to “omni-channel and headless commerce,” but for human capital.

“By embedding WorkJam functionality into existing systems, businesses get the operational benefits WorkJam customers have enjoyed for years with limited change in management,” Kramer said. “Prior to developing WorkJam Everywhere, customers could only use WorkJam’s platform to deliver WorkJam’s functionality — now they have a choice as to how they want to deliver it.”

Above: WorkJam inside a Microsoft Teams instance

This level of flexibility means global companies can deploy WorkJam in different ways, depending on the workflows of their regional offices. So one department might use WorkJam inside Teams, while another unit that doesn’t use Teams can just use the WorkJam platform directly. Similarly, a company might wish to embed WorkJam in other platforms, such as Salesforce, SharePoint, Blue Yonder, or even their own home-baked systems.

Working capital

There has been a flurry of activity across the workforce management sphere of late, with Workday acquiring Peakon for $700 million to capture real-time employee sentiment data and Skedulo securing $75 million to help companies manage and analyze their deskless workforce.

WorkJam, for its part, had previously raised $62 million, the bulk of which came via its series C round last April. With its latest $35 million cash injection, the company is well positioned to cater to the estimated 80% of workers — some 2.7 billion people globally — who don’t work from a desk.

It’s worth stressing here that there is a clear distinction between frontline workers and remote workers — WorkJam hasn’t pivoted or refocused its efforts to cater to the pandemic-driven distributed workforce. Remote workers are still desk-based, and they already have a suite of tools at their disposal.

“We started the company with the idea of what it would look like if frontline employees had a digital workplace like desk workers do,” Kramer explained. “What productivity, employee engagement, retention, labor utilization, and process innovation would be possible with this? Our No. 1 focus has been to enable enterprises to orchestrate frontline operations. In fact, when desk workers went remote, the lack of tools for deskless workers went on full display. There is a technology gap in most businesses that ends up making operations fall apart at the location level of a business — WorkJam solves this.”

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