An Interview with BirdDogHR CEO, Todd Skokan

CEOCFO: Mr. Skokan, what is the idea behind BirdDogHR?

Mr. Skokan: BirdDogHR has been in business since 1997 and we are widely known in our core verticals as the leader in recruitment and applicant tracking solutions. Today, BirdDogHR offers a comprehensive talent management software and managed services solution. It’s delivered to our clients through the cloud in a SaaS delivery model and we complete the solution by including what I consider to be a high touch customer care and implementation process. For years, our clients have relied upon us to simplify their recruitment process. This is especially important in high risk and high compliance industries like our core verticals. Many of our customers are also federal contractors so they need to be able to report on recruitment outreach to specific demographic groups. By offering a complete talent management solution we have taken that idea of simplifying the recruitment process even further into helping them easily manage the entire employee lifecycle—from recruitment to retirement.

CEOCFO: What do you understand fundamentally about recruitment and human capital that perhaps others do not?

Mr. Skokan: We focus on serving federal government contractors, and the construction, engineering, manufacturing and supply chain management industries. We have over 750 customers in those segments. Other companies can use our solution and they do, but the BirdDogHR Talent Management System is built for companies with rigorous compliance needs. There are very demanding federal requirements from several different reporting agencies and our customers must be able to generate reports to support those requirements. Requirements include where they post their jobs, who applies for those jobs and why an applicant wasn’t hired. For us, making sure that the BirdDogHR recruitment software provides that piece of mind to our customer base is job one.

In March 2015 BirdDogHR officially expanded beyond recruiting and applicant tracking to release a complete talent management solution including recruitment and applicant tracking, employee onboarding, employee performance, employee learning and succession management. This is the result of a critical need for an easy-to-use, compliance-driven talent management solution for our core verticals. To enhance our solution I assembled a management team with extensive expertise in the broader human capital management space. This is also unique to the industry that we serve as all of our senior leaders have at least a decade of experience in human capital management. Over the years we have seen the right way and wrong way to approach employee engagement. This is my 20th year in human capital management. Therefore, we have applied that expertise to create a solution and message of simplicity. Keeping the solution simple drives everything that we do at BirdDogHR, the message, the solution, the product roadmap as well as implementation and customer care.

CEOCFO: Do regulations change often? Is this in industry where the government wakes up one day and says, “Let’s do it this way”?

Mr. Skokan: I will be kind to the government and say yes. There have been some executive orders that have been signed, and in the last two years, if I am not mistaken, there have been at least two revisions to the reporting requirements that a federal government contractor would have to adhere to.

CEOCFO: Do you see the government doing more enforcing? Is that more of an impedus for people to turn to you, because you are able to be proactive?

Mr. Skokan: Yes as a matter of fact, just in the last six months or so, the federal government has hired an additional six hundred auditors. It is not uncommon that at least every other week, we receive a phone call from one of our customers that an OFCCP auditor has just walked through their door. They ask us “What report do I need to generate to show that we are in compliance?”. That happens more and more frequently as the auditors are checking processes and documentation.

CEOCFO: How do you help in the immigration scenario?

Mr. Skokan: BirdDogHR has a very developed services offering that we provide and we also partner with multiple background check and drug screening companies. Right now we work with Wolfe Inc located in North Carolina. We resell their products for drug screening and background checks. We are also expanding that to a group called the eVerify to further enhance our employment verification process.

CEOCFO: Would you tell me more about the newer services you offer? What is involved and are many of your current clients taking advantage?

Mr. Skokan: As I mentioned, we have introduced four new modules to our solution. This is in addition to the recruitment module that we have had for many years. The onboarding module bridges a gap and automates the paperwork process associated with bringing in a new hire. The learning module enables a company to centralize and manage the employee’s development - the tracking of their education, be it online, in the classroom or third party events. The performance module gets all employees on the same page with corporate goals and allows for personal goal setting too. The result is an automated, documented review process. Lastly the succession module enables an organization to focus on building future leaders and business continuity. This is very important especially for small businesses to put focus on building the next generation of leaders for the company. To bring it all together, we have the reporting available and offer over 100 reports today. Managed services is also a popular solution that we offer. This means we actually serve as an extension of our client’s HR department.

CEOCFO: Do you see a trend towards companies outsourcing more of their HR and paying more attention to the whole picture?

Mr. Skokan: We are seeing that outsourcing is becoming more and more popular. Our clients are small businesses and sometimes they don’t have an HR department or the department is very small. It makes sense to outsource the work that is required during peak times of the year instead of adding more full time employees.

From a complete talent management perspective, yes we are seeing a bigger focus on this as unemployment has decreased and the pool of available talent with the right skills is shrinking. Succession used to be one of those employee management strategies that only the largest companies could pay attention to and actually administer internally. Now we see companies with a hundred employees realizing that they must pay attention to career planning and succession management in order to attract and keep top talent. Since we have introduced these additional modules in March, about 15 clients have already signed up for the additional modules.

CEOCFO: Why was this the time?

Mr. Skokan: I think there are a number of factors that are converging. If we look at construction, engineering and supply chain management, there is a bigger and bigger gap between the Boomers that are retiring and the Millennial workers available to replace them. That gap of available workers will be around 30 million people between now and 2020. Skilled trade jobs also have the greatest gap of any segment yet companies in that segment have some of the greatest opportunity for growth. FMI just recently came out with a report showing growth within the construction industry expected to continue at a rate of at least six percent to eight percent annually through 2019. The timing for an expansion of human capital management software in this space, the timing for the growth of the industry, and the need for a qualified and motivated workforce just could not be better from our perspective.

CEOCFO: What is more comprehensive about the BirdDogHR Product?

Mr. Skokan: The real difference is that we help customers manage the life cycle of the employee from beginning to end. This is completed under one roof with one company. Our competition offers pieces of talent management, but not a complete solution that is focused on construction, engineering and supply chain management with strong compliance reporting as required by federal contractors. There are also organizations that offer managed services and do outsourcing, but they do not offer the SaaS software to manage the process. At this moment, we believe that we are the only complete software and managed services provider for federal contractors, and the construction, engineering and supply chain management industries.

CEOCFO: What is next? What might be different a year from now at BirdDogHR?

Mr. Skokan: One thing that is constantly evolving for us is the fact that we are always expanding and improving our product. Our customer advisory board is helping us do that. I can tell you that we will continue expand our product offering, especially our managed services. We are about to release a responsive mobile interface for job seekers that use our software. We know that the job seeking habits of the younger generations including X and Y and the Millennials, involve using mobile devices to conduct a job search and manage their careers. We are ready to accommodate those habits to suit the new generations of workers.

CEOCFO: Would you tell us about some of your partnerships? It seems that you work with many different people to bring a full package together. Why does that work so well?

Mr. Skokan: We have a direct sales force but I can tell you that our partnerships influence more that 50 percent of our company revenue. We have over 35 partners, including organizations like AGC of America, which is a fantastic endorsement for the value of our service to their members. AGC along with others listed on our website really do a fantastic job of providing a warm referral to our organization and those introductions have a high conversion rate of becoming customers.

CEOCFO: Put it together for our readers. Why choose BirdDogHR?

Mr. Skokan: We are a comprehensive talent management solution provider, a one-stop shop if you will, for organizations with stringent compliance requirements. You will find that the expertise that resides within our walls is second to none. We have chosen very specific verticals to focus on, which goes back to the roots of our organization 17 years ago. These roots give us that outstanding expertise to not only be a comprehensive talent management provider, but to wrap around the managed services for the high consequence industries that we support.

Interview conducted by Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine.