How greytHR is solving HR, payroll problem for SMBs

In a conversation with SMBStory, greytHR co-founder Girish Rowjee details how the HR Tech platform is assisting small businesses across Tier I, II, and III locations across the country adopt tech solutions.

How greytHR is solving HR, payroll problem for SMBs

Thursday December 08, 2022,

6 min Read

The Human Resources (HR) department is responsible for everything that revolves around the employee life cycle in an organisation. 

If we look at the Indian business landscape 20 years ago, small and medium businesses (SMBs) did not find much use from HR tools. The reason may vary--from absence of absolute solutions to low adoption of technology. However, if we look at the work culture today, HR automation is not a mere requirement, but a necessity to manage business operations efficiently. 

The Indian human resource (HR) technology market reached a value of $850 million in 2021 and is expected to reach $1,510 million by 2027, showing a CAGR of 9.9% during 2022-2027. 

Envisioning the growth of the sector, Girish Rowjee along with his co-founder Sayeed Anjum started Greytip in 1994 as a premier HR and payroll solutions provider to help large enterprises.  However, it didn’t take long for them to pivot their business and cater to the SMB segment. 

“In the 90s, when the internet started to become more prevalent and companies were opening up to adopt tech solutions, there were many businesses in India that were developing software solutions. However, their prime focus was to cater to international markets since they were more adaptive. Serving SMBs was not anyone’s focus and this is where we stepped in with our companies’ flagship technology platform, greytHR,” says Girish.

An engineer by profession, Girish says that SMBs need tools and solutions to solve their needs.

“The SMB market is fragmented, but they form the backbone of the economy, and hence we diverted our focus from large enterprises to small and medium businesses in India and are doing so for more than 25 years,” he adds. 

In a conversation with SMBStory, Girish details how greytHR is assisting small businesses across Tier I, II, and III locations across the country adopt tech solutions.

Edited excerpts from the interview: 

SMBStory [SMBS]: What problem is greytHR solving for small and medium businesses?

Girish Rowjee [GR]: Many features in greytHR are designed keeping small business requirements in mind. In addition to the software, we contribute an ecosystem strategy where we concentrate on assisting small businesses in running effective HR and Payroll activities.

Within greytHR, we have a fully functional structure that serves medium to large sized organisations. We see that there are a large number of Bharat economy companies that need good HR & Payroll tools. There are many needs around attendance management, compliances, complex payroll, multiple pay structures, etc. We also provide regular product training and webinars. These are companies in manufacturing, healthcare, education, manpower outsourcing, etc.

From HR management, accounting and record-keeping, statutory compliance, governance issues and risk to employee experience, we provide tech solutions for all these with our software. 

We have done significant work in this area and are able to address the needs of these organisations. Today, out of our over 18,000 customers, more than 16,000 are small businesses. We also provide local language support and training to ensure that our users are able to comfortably use and get maximum value.

We have ~1,000+ medium to large enterprises who use greytHR today.

SMBS: Why did greytHR shift its focus from catering to mid and large enterprises to SMBs?

GR: The SME segment in India is very large, and we have a lot more to explore. Providing SMEs with tools related to HR has been our main aim. 

SMBs had a mindset that tech solutions are expensive. Through greytHR, we want to convey that there are good IT solutions available at an affordable price, and we are trying to change their mindset. 

SMBS: Even though the SMB mindset has changed after the pandemic, many of them are resistant to digital adoption. How is greytHR tapping the market?

GR: Both before and after the pandemic, HR Tech has been a key enabler in assisting firms in adjusting to the ‘new normal’. It was important to discover measures to maintain employee engagement and help them feel a sense of belonging to the company as more employees worked remotely. 

We observed a substantial change in customer behaviour, with small businesses increasingly adopting the online strategy, despite their preference for an in-person encounter.

There have been multiple ways in which HR Tech has impacted this area. Apps on mobile have been a good medium to communicate easily with the employees. They are regularly updated and get to know what is happening. A lot of HR work like attendance tracking, performance evaluation, recruitment, etc., also happens on mobile apps. 

As this need is felt strongly and tools are available to cater to this, HR Tech adoption has also increased significantly. Organisations now want mobile-enabled HR apps. This has led to a significant increase in demand for us. Even traditional organisations that would generally not use mobile HR apps are now looking at get their employees on these apps. In our case, greytHR’s mobile app has crossed a million downloads.

Overall, there has been a significant upward trend in HR Tech adoption from both small & medium businesses across Tier I, II, and III locations across the country.

SMBS: What are the major challenges faced by greytHR and how is it planning to scale?

GR: The biggest challenge has been finding good talent and tech resources, which I would say is common in the industry. 

We aim serve one lakh SMEs with our end-to-end HR platform in the near future. We believe the market in India is very large and this is still a small number in that context.

From a customer location perspective, we have seen a lot of traction coming in from not just the large cities or tech businesses. A large number of traditional businesses and organisations in Tier I and II locations are also adopting HR Tech.

As an organisation, we believe that we need to help our customers, especially SMBs, solve the full problem and help them run good HR & Payroll functions. We are working on providing a lot more than just software tools. We believe this is a key aspect that will enable us to be more useful for our customers and help growth.

In terms of increasing the pace of growth, we have adopted a multi-channel model to achieve this. We are working with a number of reseller partners in various cities who are aiding us in connecting with customers. 

We have also established tie-ups with banks like ICICI Bank and HSBC with whom we are providing bundled solutions. We are part of the Amazon India Digital Suite, which is also helping us reach out to a large number of sellers who are typically SMBs.

International markets are also a focus area for us. We are present in more than 22 countries and are planning to expand in emerging markets like Egypt, Nigeria, UAE, and Afghanistan. 

Edited by Megha Reddy