For the second year in a row, Aspire held its annual user conference in Tempe, Arizona, and the company's founder, Kevin Kehoe, opened the welcome reception with a magic show and comedy act. After that, it was down to business.
Kehoe said the theme for this year, and for Aspire’s year in general, is transformation. “We’re looking to transform business with the means we have (technology), a set method of operating and a little bit of magic,” he said.
CEO Mark Tipton said users employed a combined total of 43,000 people in 2019 and logged 35 million hours of work during 4.5 million job visits on the software.
“We will certainly be a disruptor to this industry,” Tipton said. Part of Aspire’s 2020 roadmap involves the roll out of a new pay solution. Aspire DailyPay will offer employers a way to give employees an advance on their pay almost instantly.
“When you’re trying to attract the same talent as the guy down the street and your guy would get paid tomorrow versus two weeks from now, it will make a difference,” he said. The on-demand pay advances are controlled and approved by the employer for no extra cost. There is a small fee for the recipient of the money, though.
The funds are transferred through a payroll debit card and Aspire users currently using Integrated Payroll Systems are eligible for the add on.
Greg Herring of the Herring Group offered some insight into how companies can enhance their culture with information they already have. He suggested using KPI’s to show your employees that their company is winning, or to at least know what it would look like to be a winning company.
“You don’t want incentives to be like a lottery,” he said. “You don’t want them to feel like they just have to hope they’ll get it.” For example, if you create a list of win/loss percentage for everyone on your sales staff, the competition will create itself among the employees.
And, in order to create incentive plans, it’s imperative that you have accurate data to base your benchmarks and data that you can actually take actions on. “You need to give the employees permission to control the outcome,” Herring said. “If the incentives aren’t aligned with the company goals, the people will win but the company will lose.”
Lt. Colonel Rob Teschner, this year's keynote speaker, spoke about his experience in the Air Force and how he was able to transform himself to move up through ranks by understanding the value of teamwork.
“Real teamwork leads to transformation,” he says. “Transformation leads to true excellence, and true excellence is enabled when you can learn from failure.”
Lt. Colonel Teschner recalled that in the beginning, his training gravitated towards the idea of being alone in his fighter jet once he was a certified pilot. It turns out, being a fighter pilot is everything but a solo job. “Teamwork must be learned,” he said. “Real teamwork takes effort. Team excellence begins with team purpose." Teschner commanded the mission that deployed the day after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, just four years after graduating from him training program.
This lesson also followed him into his personal life after years of ignored illnesses turned into a serious tumor on his colon. “I was trying to fly solo at home, too,” he said. Teschner waited years to even admit his health issues to his then-fiancé. While surgeries surrounding his illness ended his career in the Air Force, Teschner still had a legacy behind him and went on to become an F-15C instructor pilot at the U.S. Air Force Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
“You have grow and learn through your failures,” he said.