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Gusto, the company formerly known as ZenPayroll, has come a long way in the past three and a-half years. After its early focus on simplifying the payroll process for businesses, it expanded into providing assistance with employee benefits. Today, it has announced the next step in its evolution with the launch of new tools for the HR space.

In addition to the new features being announced, Gusto also revealed that it now serves more than 40,000 customers, a 33 percent increase from May.

The move into HR could be considered new for Gusto, though some of the industry tools it offers have been available on the platform for some time. But today’s release is a formalized program that comes with several key new features, such as a personal approach to on-boarding new employees. Administrators can now send an email with a virtual “welcome wall” prior to a new hire’s first day, providing them with all the information needed for a successful start at the company.

Gusto employee profile

Above: Gusto employee profile

Image Credit: Gusto

Because new employees have to complete quite a lot of paperwork, such as filling out their I-9 and W-2 forms, Gusto has compiled all the standard documents into a vault-like service. This is a centralized place to find and download forms and eliminates the need for administrators to manually enter the data into multiple systems.


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Companies can also take advantage of a company directory and an employee benefits advisor — previously Gusto launched in May an employer benefit selection tool — that utilizes an algorithm to recommend which of the benefits provided  best suits an employee’s needs. This tool walks new employees through the enrollment process, taking into account their preferences, and can look up physicians and dentists (although that’s not available yet, according to Gusto).

Lastly, Gusto is now offering a 401(k) service and has teaming up with Guideline to support employee retirement plans. Employees have one place to manage their affairs and contributions, and all deductions are synced automatically. Through Gusto’s revenue-sharing partnership with Guideline, participating companies pay $8 per month per employee.

Managing 401 (k) accounts in Gusto.

Above: Managing 401 (k) accounts in Gusto.

Image Credit: Gusto

“We know HR people wear many hats, and, until today, they’ve had to log into multiple systems to manage compliance rules, process paperwork, and access employee information,” said Josh Reeves, Gusto’s chief executive. “Gusto gives them one home for HR, payroll, and benefits so they can spend more time welcoming new teammates and empowering them.”

For Gusto, these new tools are part of its mission to be a true “people platform.” Reeves claims that everything in his company’s road map has been informed by “hundreds of thousands of conversations, feedback, surveys, and focus groups.” He believes that incumbent services are viewing customers’ employees the wrong way: “They think of human beings as ID numbers. They’re not. They’re human beings.”

A "welcome wall" email sent through Gusto's HR offering.

Above: A “welcome wall” email sent through Gusto’s HR offering.

Image Credit: Gusto

This personalized strategy seems to have paid off for the company, which is seeing continued growth. Reeves shared that Gusto’s clientele across the U.S. ranges from 1 to a “few hundred” employees. Gusto’s “sweet spot” is up to 150 employees, but there are a lot of companies with between 50 and 75 employees that appreciate its all-in-one platform. Reeves admitted that a lot of Gusto’s new customers are coming from Zenefits, a competitor that has been dealing with some difficult recent developments. “Customers want to work with a company they can trust,” he said.

Reeves doesn’t see any end in sight for Gusto, saying that he hopes and plans to have millions of companies on board in the future. His vision is to “build the people platform and everything a company needs” to accomplish that. “If we keep serving our customers well, they won’t leave us.”

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