It’s no secret Charleston has a vibrant and flourishing tech scene.  In fact, some would say this city is in a relationship with tech – as in, a moved in together, swapped keys, and introduced-them-to-friends relationship.  It’s getting pretty serious some might say.

However, what most may not have noticed is the trend of HR Tech in Charleston.  I, for one, am super stoked about it.  I get to partner, recruit, and champion these companies that are also right in my backyard? Sign me up!

Now, I may be partial since I’ve spent the better part of the last 13 years in the “people” business, but how can you not love the apps and tools that make finding, on-boarding, engaging, and rewarding your employees easier?

So why is it that Charleston breeds these amazing people-focused companies?

The Answer’s Right Outside Your Door

Walk down King Street one afternoon, or sit at the bar on Shem Creek, or heck, walk into any local coffee shop and you’ll get it.  Charleston is all about relationships. The most important thing in a relationship are the people in it. The connections, the commonality, the fit – that’s what makes it real and successful. Companies are a living, breathing hive of relationships – an interconnected brain focused on the same goal. From the stranger sitting next to you at Shem Creek to the local barista you visit every day- we kick it old school in our tech world…it’s all about the people.

So, it’s not surprising that the nation’s friendliest city is becoming a hub for people-focused technology startups.  And we’ve got to give Charleston’s HR Tech King, BenefitFocus, it’s proper respect: Wow! Shaun Jenkins and his team have built a publicly-traded company all of Charleston should be proud of.  The platform which was built over a decade ago has brought the previously painstaking open enrollment process into the 21st century, with a quick and simplified benefits enrollment that make this HR vet want to ring some cowbell.  But benefits are just the half of it, how do modern-day companies take their people through the full employee lifecycle: attract, on-board, evaluate, engage, and then reward?

Hire Your Heart’s Desire

Let’s start at the beginning of the employee lifecycle, which for some companies can be the most daunting: recruiting.  Job Market Maker (who recently secured $200,000 in funding from SC Launch) has modernized the way Applicant Tracking Systems act and produce data.  Their team has cracked the code (<—see what I did there?) of lost applicants, and mastered the art of data-driven recruiting.  And that’s one thing a CEO or CFO can’t ignore: good ol’ straight-up-now-tell-me data.

And the best data doesn’t just tell all, it can tell you who – after all, recruiting is about finding that special someone.  Echovate is like a well-oiled, personality test meets match-making, data hiring machine. Let’s say you have a badass Developer… we’ll call him Patrick.  If you had 10 Patrick’s, you would rule the technology world.  Echovate provides you with a detailed summary of what makes Patrick tick and allows you to hire the applicants that mirror Patrick’s badassness (what, it’s a word!)

Welcome Aboard

Alright, so now you’ve interviewed and hired your new Team Member – woo-hoo!  Time to kick back and hit cruise control until they start.  Not quite.  Any great company knows that as soon as that offer letter is signed, it’s your job to continue to dazzle and amaze.

Enter PeopleMatter, with the ability to on-board, train, and schedule (get this) without paper.  You heard me right, gone are the days of fumbling with printed out W-4s, 1-9s, time sheets then scanning, backing up on your floppy disc, then filing it all in a brick and mortar file cabinet. This is especially amazing for high volume, fast-paced environments like restaurants, retail, or anyone who loves software over killing trees.

After you’ve got those amazing people in the door, at their desks, and crushing it, you need to make sure their well being, and their families’, are taken care of. Plansource bring benefits administration, human capital management, and insurance exchanges together to make it easy for companies and employees navigate these often confusing waters.

And you can’t forget about retirement plans, because whether you like it or not, every rockstar on your team will eventually buy some white shoes and head to Florida. Questis, who recently received an angel note round of funding totaling $2.8 million, can add financial wellness to your company’s benefits menu. Their software will help your employees consolidate accounts, choose an investment strategy, and plan for the future, whether they want to retire at 50 or 70.

Engage Me, If You Will

Now the big day, you’ve got your Team in the door!  Everyone’s excited, you bring in bacon-maple donuts, and maybe even do a team lunch – it’s like the first day of school.  But wait, after their first day how do you continue to keep that spark alive 30, 90, 180 days later?

How about a hug?  Oh right, we’re not hiring Care Bears. How about culture-driven software? Teamphoria is a robust platform that uses recognition, communication, and interactive performance evaluations to drive engagement and, exponentially increase retention.  Plus, it’s just feels good to say it – Teamphoria!

And you know what else feels good to say? Cha-ching!  That’s right, the beauty of Charleston has incubated and fostered these amazing people tech companies that have VC companies and every HR professional praising the pluff mud.  And while the future is bright for this People Tech community,  I’m thinking it’s time we put a ring on it…after all, not even Beyonce was built in a day.