Back Is Now Part of Personio: Here’s Why Your Employees Will Love It

In case you missed our major announcement today at H.U.G Digital – we are circling BACK to our commitment to enabling better organisations by saving time, simplifying processes and eliminating time-consuming admin tasks. 

Personio has acquired Back, an employee experience solution that automates people processes and boost efficiency, organisation-wide. Back is a ‘one-stop shop’ that enables employees to quickly find HR-related answers, reach the right person for support and solve common workplace issues – all from within Slack, Microsoft Teams or Google Chat.

Explainer: What is Back?

Back is an employee concierge where you can get support in three ways:
1. Conversations: Ask questions and make requests through your instant messaging app.
2. Knowledge: Get immediate answers to FAQs – automatically receive the right documentation.
3. Journeys: Streamline important moments like onboarding, relocation and offboarding.

The best thing about this news? It will simplify and accelerate the work of your HR department, your IT teams and your employees at large – Back’s existing products for ticketing and knowledge management will be fully integrated into Personio’s offer.

We spoke to Back’s Founder & former CEO Christian Eggert to find out more about what it will bring to customers. Here he discusses seven ways that Back, together with Personio, will help your teams to eliminate yet another layer of slow processes so they can focus on what matters.

1. Internal Systems Shouldn’t Be Hard To Navigate

Before they started Back in 2018, Christian and his co-founder James Lafa worked in fast-growing and larger companies where they were surprised by something: “It fascinated us how well their core business would be running but getting a bit of internal help would turn into a big struggle.” 

The two knew that automating many internal requests and workflows was not only possible, it would provide a better experience for employees and a vastly better work environment for internal support teams.

“The more we started to dig into this, we realised that no one was even remotely solving it, yet it was a universal problem across every business.” Hence, Back was born. Around this time elsewhere, Personio’s People Workflow Automation was also in ideation, but more on that later.  

2. Great Support Shouldn’t Depend on Location

It’s become clear that talent rarely exists in just one single physical place. Even if it does, employees are likely to work from home at least some of the time. Back was built to enable efficiency from anywhere: “We realised we can play a major role in supporting organisations making this transition by sharing best-practice workflows from our customers that enable so many hours to be saved.” 

With Personio joining forces with Back, we will enable teams to obtain the HR support they need to do anything, from anywhere – such as remote onboarding. Christian advises that we need to create ‘people-first’ organisations: “We need to structure our culture and workplaces around people, not locations.” 

3. Routine Requests Should Be Automated

Needless to say, it hasn’t always been an easy path to help companies to automate their processes, Christian explains: “We were surprised by how many excellently run companies don’t have documented internal processes. But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.” He says that today’s great companies are agile and constantly adapting to ever-changing markets.

Christian says that is what Personio and Back should strive for – creating software that adapts to our behaviours and not vice versa. Customers, as ever, will be at the heart of shaping the future of our platform. And sometimes, this leads to new categories of software being created.

Elsewhere, Personio had been on a similar journey with their customers, realising the major need for automated workflows: “What really made it ‘click’ was when we talked to Hanno and Roman about fostering our existing partnership with Personio,” says Chris. The four realised that they share the same mission, company goals, and path for People Workflow Automation.

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4. We Shouldn’t Have To Switch Between Tools

Christian is a big advocate of messaging app Slack – he sees it as “a wonderful opportunity for teams around the globe to grow together.” But he reminds that it requires support teams to fundamentally rethink their approach: “The easiest way for employees to ask for anything is directly on the app they already use.” 

Hence, this is why employees can use these messaging apps directly to create HR requests both in Personio and Back. Christian explains why this is essential for most organisations: “Slack has been a true pioneer of changing work culture across the globe, with Microsoft Teams quickly bringing this new way of communicating into many more established organisations.” 

5. Cross-Team Processes Should Be Easier

To an employee, it doesn’t matter if processes are handled by HR, finance, legal, or IT – they just want to get an answer. Having fragmented processes leads to a bad experience, low adoption rates and frustrated employees. To make these employee journeys work, Christian says companies need a platform that works beyond silos in HR or IT, but collaboratively. 

Getting this right for your employees has become a non-negotiable: “Today, employees expect a great experience when accessing internal apps. This influences not only their productivity but also engagement and attrition.”

Sometimes, we think about people processes being owned by HR. But Christian reminds us that this is rarely the case: For example, getting equipment, (arguably the most important part of onboarding), might be owned by IT. Getting an expense report often lies with finance. And then most approvals need individual managers.

6. Employee Frustration Shouldn’t Be Inevitable

The last few years have transformed employee expectations: “It’s become abundantly clear that acquiring and retaining talent is getting more and more difficult”. Christian says that employee experience is a crucial factor for retention, engagement and productivity. While it may seem like a soft factor, good leaders understand that smooth processes will give them a big advantage. 

“Just think about how many apps an employee today has to juggle between,” reminds Christian. For this, Back has built a fundamental layer that sits between employees, simplifying their experience and connecting the business-critical systems that are involved in internal workflows. To put it simply, Back has been designed to give your employees exactly the help they need, right where they want it – in the apps they work in all day.

7. Apps Should Work in Harmony, Not in Competition

So, what will the future look like for customers of Personio and Back? “It’s quite simple, we will continue on the mission together and bring even better software to more customers.” Christian notes that in the last two years he has seen traditional workflow platforms and HR providers start to compete with each other, which is not good for customers:

Instead, we have the chance to create something truly unique by combining Back and Personio in one platform.

Read more: Why Back Is Joining Personio

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