Employment Hero’s first Chief People Officer reveals why startups need people champions


Hot on the heels of an $8 million Series B funding round, Cloud-based HR, payroll and benefits platform Employment Hero has recruited former Google executive Alex Hattingh as its inaugural Chief People Officer.

In Conversation with Dynamic Business, Hattingh – an HR specialist who has also served CBA, Yahoo!, St George Bank and Lendlease in senior roles – revealed what drew her to Employment Hero. She also discussed her plans for the Sydney-based HR tech company and the value Chief People Officers can generate for startups.

DB: What circumstances led you to join Employment Hero?

Hattingh: I implemented Employment Hero as our People & Culture platform in my prior role over three years ago, so I’ve known Ben Thompson (founder and CEO) and his company for a while now. Following the company’s series B capital raise, Ben started conversations with me about investing in the Chief People Officer role. The opportunity to head up People & Culture internally for a business with aggressive growth plans and a culture I knew was amazing was a perfect fit for me. I wanted to be part of it.

DB: What about the startup resonates with you?

Hattingh: As someone who values high engagement and performance, I’m drawn to organisations with a mission and a purpose that resonates with me on that level. Employment Hero’s mission is to transform how businesses manage their HR functions and so make employment easier for employers and more rewarding for employees. Moreover, with the financial rewards that we offer, we are providing all Australians who use our platform the opportunity to be better off financially. To be part of a company changing employment for Australians on such a large scale is very powerful.

DB: What are you ambitions for the company’s culture?

Hattingh: I have been fortunate enough to join an incredible culture with highly-engaged, high-performing people who find purpose in what they do. I will build on this using everything – from the Employer Value Proposition, to recruiting the best talent and applying our own platform to develop, engage and retain our people. Together with the leadership team, I will also use Employment Hero to make our people happier in their roles by ensuring they feel valued and receive recognition. And finally, we will also be using our platform for employee feedback to drive engagement.

DB: How can startups benefit from having a CPO?

Hattingh: Having an expert and champion for your people as part of the leadership team ensures that culture and your people are always part of leadership discussions and strategy execution. The entire leadership team and every employee owns culture. By having a Head of People & Culture you have the expertise to implement a people strategy that aligns with your strategic business plan. For startups, having a trusted confidant within the team for other leaders is of value.

DB: Will working with a startup be a change of pace for you?

Hattingh: I love the startup scale and pace. While Yahoo! & Google were massive companies, they are highly dynamic and move at speed. If you’re not agile and willing to change, you won’t succeed.  I am thrilled to be moving at the pace that Employment Hero is moving at.

Related: HR tech startup Employment Hero lands SEEK as an investor during $8m Series B funding round, HR start-up Employment Hero lands ANZ deal and HR start-up Employment Hero lands third Series A investor and sees funding balloon to $4.5m