Fine Line Between Employee Safety and HCM

April 29, 2015, Posted by Phil Wohl

On April 27, Enviance, a Battery Ventures portfolio company, acquired our client Remedy Interactive, a leading provider of SaaS solutions that improve employee health, safety and productivity. For over ten years, Remedy Interactive has been enabling its customers to reduce injuries and risk, while fostering a culture of safety throughout the enterprise.

This transaction represents Catapult’s 6th HCM-related transaction and it exemplifies one of our key themes: the expanding scope of HCM software.

Traditionally, Remedy Interactive had sold its suite of products almost exclusively to safety directors at Fortune 500 companies. But in recent years, the company noticed that when meeting new prospects, the safety directors were often joined at the table by executives from the HR department.

While it’s true that the HR department is not typically tasked with keeping employees safe, it makes all the sense in the world that HR executives would take a keen interest in solutions that improve employee morale, productivity and retention.

Every large company claims they care deeply about employee health and safety. But employees are smart— they know how to separate words from deeds. For example, to really understand her employer’s commitment to safety, an employee may ask herself:

  • When I report an injury or discomfort, does my employer attempt to quickly find a solution
  • Is there an easy way for me to notify my employer about a potential hazard and do I have confidence that this hazard will be remedied?
  • When an accident occurs, are there clear procedures in place to investigate it and make sure it doesn’t re-occur?

If the answer to these questions is “no,” chances are high that this company will have an employee churn problem.  Employee safety impacts not just retention, but the recruiting function as well, especially in industries with high injury rates such as Oil & Gas, Manufacturing and Transportation. Nothing is worse for an employer brand than a high profile accident that causes injury, death or environmental damage.  Just ask BP or ExxonMobil.

As more and more large enterprises begin to involve the HR department in the vendor selection process for safety management software, we expect the large HCM suite vendors to take steps to build (or more likely buy) this functionality. Taking a look at the HCM suite titans, only SAP offers a safety solution today. It’s certainly easy to imagine a day in the near future when companies like Oracle, IBM, Workday, ADP and Infor all add safety management modules to their HCM portfolios.

While the HCM suite vendors formulate their strategies around employee safety, leading private equity firms are continuing their aggressive forays into the EH&S market, as evidenced by the recent acquisitions of Sitehawk (Level Equity), MSDSonline (Actua), HSI (DW Healthcare Partners), Enviance (Battery Ventures) and now Remedy Interactive.

About the author

Phil Wohl is a Partner at Catapult Advisors, an investment bank providing M&A and capital raising advice to leading software and internet companies.