Most organizations are data-driven. What does that mean? That data is used to inform decision making and strategy. For example: Sales departments use data for forecasting, revenue and operating costs. IT departments employ it to examine networks. But, how do companies best analyze data regarding one of the most important aspects of its work — people?

Cincinnati-based startup Talmetrix looks to answer that question.

“When it came time to provide input on critical business opportunities or decisions, HR was usually on the short end of the stick compared to our other functional peers at the table,” Talmetrix CEO Chris Powell, who has more than 20 years working in HR, said. “There simply weren’t the HR tools available to provide relevant data and timely insights to inform decision making.”

“We really co-create with our customers and that’s how we have been able to achieve what we have.”

“Our whole focus is helping organizations capture and connect talent data, so they can make better talent decisions and investments,” he said. It’s a purpose that even informs the company’s name, which is a combination of the words “talent” and “metrics.”

Talmetrix helps companies via its in-house cloud-based software, which uses instruments to both capture new and existing employee feedback to understand cultural and employee experience factors that can lead to improved employee retention and business productivity.

The gathered data is then aggregated and used to create actionable plans for the company, ultimately allowing it to “analyze talent and business data to identify trends, understand correlations and predict retention, employee engagement and customer satisfaction outcomes,” according to Talmetrix’s website.

This wasn’t always Talmetrix’s focus, especially in 2008 when founder Chris Ostoich (who would later go on to co-found LISNR) launched its earliest iteration, BlackbookHR.

Photo courtesy Talmetrix.

Back then, Cincinnati wasn’t a destination for talent, and Ostoich felt an employee engagement survey company could help start to bridge the gap. At the time, it provided users with more than 150 questions that measured “12 different factors that influence an employee’s degree of engagement,” a WCPO report on the startup stated.

BlackbookHR had dreams of scaling, but Ostoich thought it made more sense to do so with a product then just as a consulting firm. So, in 2013, the pivot began; he created his first cloud-based software and employee-engagement platform, which would be become the company’s flagship tool, and reached out to Powell join the team as an advisor (and eventually investor). In 2014, BlackbookHR became an employee-feedback and analytics company, and Powell took over as CEO.

Fast forward to 2016, when BlackbookHR rebranded  to Talmetrix, as Powell believed that the the company needed a name that was more akin to its work.

Which brings us to today. “Talmetrix customers around the world, including the City of Atlanta, Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Assurex Health, view employee engagement as more than just checking the box,” Powell said in a release. “We take the guesswork out of employee feedback by capturing new and unique workforce insights, with a service model that puts the heavy lifting on us, not our customers. Talmetrix customers quickly go from ‘guessing’ to ‘knowing.'”

This work has brought Talmetrix financial engagement and acclaim. In 2013, the startup won the Human Resource Executive Magazine’s Top Product award and a 2014 HR Technology Conference Awesome New Startup. Additionally, CincyTech, Cintrifuse and JumpStart have served as investors in the company.

However, perhaps none of the attention the company has garnered is more important than from clients, who often renew every year, Powell said. Roughly one third of their clients have been with them three or more years, he added.

“We really co-create with our customers and that’s how we have been able to achieve what we have. The people and companies that have been willing to lean in and do pilots and become long-term customers have been absolutely phenomenal,” said Talmetrix Chief Strategy Officer Jason Ruebel.

Editor’s Note: Chris Powell will keynote Cincy Inno’s April State of Innovation event on HR and talent acquisition. Get more information here