An unsung hero of events big and small, from the NFL’s Super Bowl, to your Cricket World Cup organisers down to your local community event is Australian company Rosterfy.
Rosterfy exists because traditionally in workforce management people were wasting a lot of time and hours stuck in fidgety manual processes. Their platform’s core function is to automate manual tasks like recruitment of volunteers, interviews and workforce screening.
The company is on the cusp of releasing some major product changes, moving into a SaaS platform that makes it easy for workforces and event organisers to have a plug and play solution that easily adapts to their current environment.
In this conversation we talked to their co-founder Shannan Gove.
How’s Rosterfy taking advantage of the shutdown time?
Shannan Gove: “If we look at it like a timeline we spent the first two to three weeks looking after our existing client base making sure they were supported and felt comfortable with where they were and using that time with them about how they can use this down time with Rosterfy to build a better program.
“You’ll see a lot of content from us over the coming weeks where we’ll be interviewing our clients about how they’re using this time to build more engaged workforce programs, stronger recruitment plans.
“We’ve never had this time to sit down and analyse where we’re going and making decisions because you’ve needed to. For us, we’re looking at our sales strategy, the market size opportunity in US, UK, Europe and Asia-Pacific, and then looking at the product. We’ve got this time to enhance our platform given the reality there’s not too many people using it now. There’s leeway to try new things and try and release new feature and functionality into the platform.”
The $2m investment Rosterfy received last October, tell me about the deployment of those funds?
SG: “As part of the investment round we did a global market research of where our biggest opportunities were. Through that we allocated funds according to those opportunities. One example would be the charity/not-for-profit space in the USA is a real focus for us.
“In our head office in Australia we doubled the size of our development team to specifically focus on building out a platform that will solve problems for that market.”
You’ll be rolling out new enhancements to the platform. Take me through the changes and evolution of the product?
SG: “We’re enhancing our product to ensure our clients have a great experience moving forward. We’re also wanting new clients who onboard with us to get the best workforce engagement platform in the world.
“The reason for doing it is to make the most scalable workforce engagement platform.
“We are doing this by having three product lines and they are: Rosterfy Rapid, Core and Enterprise. That’s going to give workforce managers a platform that will be specifically suited to their needs. We work with the NFL’s Super Bowl who would be an enterprise client but your local community triathlon or a small charity raising funds they don’t need the functionality that an enterprise client does.
“So what we’ve decided to do is build out custom built journeys for each stream of clients.”
I’m curious, let’s use a massive event that you have as a client which is the NFL’s Super Bowl, have you been on the ground to observe the effect of your platform at such a big sporting event?
SG: “I was at the Super Bowl a couple years ago in Houston and there’s over 35,000 volunteer shifts across the 10 days leading into the game. If there’s one thing that really struck me was the administrators oversight of their entire workforce. In one day they’ll have 3,500 volunteers checking in at over 50 locations throughout the city. Before Rosterfy that would be a series of spreadsheets and a radio network of check-ins seeing how many people would be turning up. One thing that Rosterfy can do is centralise that check-in view, so you could be sitting in workforce HQ and you can watch your entire site check in live and contact emergencies instantly if someone hasn’t turned up at different locations.”
As the solution is used from event to event, how does Rosterfy become a solution post event?
SG: “It’s a big part of our platform, the term legacy is one of our biggest passions. Most events talk about legacy but seldom a major legacy occurs. When legacy is discussed it tends to be a physical legacy like a new development, new train line.
“What we believe is that the strongest legacy you can leave is a community based legacy and a connectedness based one. What we have done for the past few Super Bowl’s is actually the volunteer platform is used by the city as a community based volunteering legacy. So with the city of Houston for example, all major events that are hosted in town they’re building off the database from the Super Bowl, they’ve used the game as the lift-off point for a volunteering culture in that city and now building off the back of that for all events that comes through the city.
“We pride ourselves on that from a legacy perspective, seeing how diverse the system can be used by others, not just that one event.”
How has volunteer work changed since you’ve co-founded the company?
SG: “It’s changed a lot for sure. When we were starting volunteers were often one of the last thought about aspects of event programming. What has changed, and this has changed the mentality of volunteers and event organisers, is those that volunteer have so many options of what they could do with their time. So, unless you’re giving them a great experience and engaging them really well in the lead up to your event, they will do something else. Or they’ll volunteer once and never come back. That has now flipped the mentality where event organisers need to invest in their volunteer program, the technology that decreases the amount of manual work that needs doing in order to give that great experience and lastly, the time when volunteers turn up are they empowered to do the work that is asked of them and doing work that they are passionate about.”
The work experience and placing genuine value on them is necessary but perhaps overlooked.
SG: “I think a really interesting thing I pick up a lot is people are very reliant on the volunteers that have been there for a long time, and those people can get very burnt out when they don’t have the support of the volunteers around them.”
The changing workforce is something that is occurring. How do you adapt as a solution and company as the nature of work changes, and as volunteering changes?
SG: “The macro changes is that people are moving towards a flexible work/life balance and schedule, and a bit more casual work. With that comes a bit more time to do things that you want to do. For volunteering, it goes back to my point where if you’re not providing a great experience or they’re not getting something out of the work then they will do something else. It all comes back to understanding what do they want to get out it and providing the best value for their time because nothing is more valuable than time right now for people.”