FunctionHR: Making HR Decisions Based on Data

Data analysis is playing an important role in an increasing number of business divisions. To make sure HR departments can take advantage of analysis too, Julian Huff, Julian Süß and Lukas Brandstetter founded FunctionHR. We talked with them to learn more.

Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do at FunctionHR? Please introduce yourselves!

FunctionHR: We are Julian, Julian and Lukas and we have made it our goal to change the way companies practice human resource management. To do that, we’ve developed applications for employee surveys, people analytics and HR reporting that can be combined to create a platform for data-based HR management. Our applications follow the entire employee journey, from onboarding to ongoing development and employee retention. We do it by combining data from internal HR software systems and public web portals with ready-to-use surveys on our survey platform and by merging them in an integrated data hub. With our HR Keyboard, an interactive, web-based dashboard, users can perform extensive analyses based on advanced statistics and machine learning (“artificial intelligence”). With these data-based findings, we make it possible for our customers to optimize HR processes, increase the quality of decisions made in HR management and improve the work experience in a company.

Julian Huff and Julian Süß met while working on their doctorates in the field of HR management at LMU Munich. They wanted to continue working with data after completing their studies, but for more hands-on rather than academic applications. That’s why they founded FunctionHR and are now responsible for data, analytics and IT. To keep the elaborately coded software from simply collecting dust on servers and make sure it’s actually purchased and used by customers, Lukas Brandstetter became part of the founding team and now takes care of getting our products to our target group by concentrating on sales and growth.

FunctionHR solves four problems at the same time

Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?

FunctionHR: We have noticed that business segments such as marketing already rely heavily on data analysis. But there’s also a growing desire to make decisions based on data in HR. At the same time, many companies face the challenge of

  1. having data on many different systems that is not uniform,
  2. having hardly any data about recruiting and work experience from employees,
  3. not having in-house skills for data analysis,
  4. analysis results not making it to the relevant people, i.e. executives.

That is exactly where we come in: We integrate different data sources, conduct surveys along the employee journey and make it possible for executives to conduct advanced analyses using an interactive dashboard and receive recommendations for action directly in the software.

Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!

FunctionHR: You’re right about individual solutions being a dime a dozen. However, our strength is that we cover the entire process with our software: From generating and integrating data, to conducting analyses or generating recommendations for action and delivering the results to the key stakeholders. Working with data analysis often fails either because the right type of data is not available or the results end up in a drawer somewhere.

But it’s no big deal for our solution, for example, if there isn’t any data available about applicants’ perception of the application process. In such a case, we can simply set up a candidate experience survey and link the results with other data sources. And because we send the results directly to executives and give them recommendations for action, we make sure that the analyses are actually implemented in daily business.

“A lack of willingness to work with data in HR”

Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?

FunctionHR: In the first few years, we tried to get customers on board with a comprehensive people-analytics platform, but quickly realized that a big platform doesn’t help anyone in the beginning. So we took a new direction and have since been concentrating on solving concrete business problems (such as a low level of employee satisfaction, a high level of fluctuation) with individual applications that can still be combined to create a platform.

Our biggest challenge is still the lack of willingness to work with data in HR. While we have seen things start to change over the last two years, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Apart from that, we sort of got in our own way in the beginning and communicated our admittedly complex products to others in complicated way, but that has not been a problem since we went live with our new website.

Munich Startup: How is business going?

FunctionHR: Since taking a new direction, things have been going very well and we were able to increase revenue from our software by five fold in the twelve months before corona broke out. Obviously COVID-19 has put some deals on the back burner, but we’ve noticed that the demand for digital solutions is starting to rapidly increase again.

Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?

FunctionHR: Because we were born and bred in Munich, our thoughts are nothing but positive. Munich offers us the perfect combination of innovation-savvy industrial companies, ecosystems and beer.

Munich Startup: Isar River or English Garden?

FunctionHR: This question has caused major discussions and disagreement. Lukas is all for the English Garden, nothing tops a tour of the Eisbach in summer. Julian Huff prefers the nature and peace and quiet of the Isar. And Julian Süß came up with the equation kitesurfing > Isar = English Garden. It’s great to have something to please everyone here.