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GryphonHR: Improve the Employee Onboarding Experience while Increasing your Employment Compliance

Marc Villella

President & CEO



Marc Villella


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor

CEOCFO Magazine

Published – October 18, 2021

CEOCFO: Mr. Villella, what is GryphonHR?

Mr. Villella: GryphonHR is an HR compliance platform designed to monitor and simplify an organization’s compliance with employment eligibility requirements, both initially, upon employee hire, and ongoing, as the requirements for that employee may change during the course of his / her employment.

CEOCFO: What is the key to simplifying compliance?

Mr. Villella: The key to simplifying compliance is providing efficiencies wherever possible with compliance requirements, and reducing the burden of compliance which takes time and energy away from a company’s core business. In doing these two things, any individual responsible for compliance can act upon what is required and get back to doing what’s important for the business to be successful.

CEOCFO: In today’s environment where regulations seem to be changing daily particularly around COVID, how do you keep up and help your clients with the changes?

Mr. Villella: There are a few ways that we handle that. First, we have relationships with several law firms that specialize in employment compliance. They handle a lot of the leg work in understanding what is changing, when and who its applicable to, and what the overall impact is. We review that information and then take action and share the relevant points to our clients. Second, we also have with key contacts, in different government departments, who have access to regulatory information and work with them to understand and determine actionable changes that we need to develop into the platform to ensure we are managing and presenting the changes accurately and in a timely fashion.

CEOCFO: What types of organizations are using GryphonHR?

Mr. Villella: Right now, staffing companies are a key industry group for us because they do a lot of hiring. Retail and restaurant industries are also key segments as these high-turnover hiring industries need to make sure they’re staying on top of compliance requirements as it pertains to employment eligibility. Another strategic line of business for GryphonHR is our channel partner program. The GryphonHR technology platform was built from the ground up with channel partners in mind, so we have seen some early success with signing up other business partners in the HR space including background-check companies, payroll providers, and Professional Employment Organizations (PEOs), and providing them with a value-added revenue stream to their businesses. It’s a great “win-win” for everybody!

CEOCFO: Are many companies looking to add services for a stream of revenue and do you find many companies in your industry are looking to partner or are you a bit ahead of the curve?

Mr. Villella: As far as with the Form I-9 in particular, yes. We find a lot of businesses that do look to partner, particularly with other HR service providers, because they are already providing a subset of services to their clients in the hiring, talent acquisition and screening areas, and their clients would love to simplify their processes and reduce the number of vendors they work with. If they can have a single service provider handle everything, then that is great.

The challenge with the Form I-9 again is that it is complicated and the rules change regularly, so maintaining compliance with what the clients need to do and then helping them get it done, can be a challenge for the channel partner. If they can partner with a provider such as GryphonHR that handles it for them, AND they make money instead of lose money, they have a compelling reason to partner and offer up the service to their clients.

Historically, as far as channel partners go, there aren’t many vendors handling Form I-9 and E-Verify compliance sufficiently, and of them, many could not offer a solution that was could be resold to other clients. This gap in the market was one of the main reasons I founded GryphonHR. In speaking and working with these partner organizations in the past, I had a unique opportunity to build a platform that was designed to support the many unique requirements for customization, configurability and branding that they demanded, while still providing a comprehensive employment eligibility platform that can scale globally with them.

CEOCFO: What is involved in implementation?  How do you help an organization ease the pain in making a change?

Mr. Villella: The implementation is dependent upon the size and type of client. For example, if we are implementing a large, enterprise client, they typically have a larger, more complex organization structure that we need to build out and implement within the platform. In addition, they typically want a lot more systems integration with other internal HR or IT systems such as Active Directory, or an HRIS systems. For these clients, we handle the implementation within the platform for them, and we work with their IT folks to determine, and address the best approach for systems integration.

For our smaller clients, with less complicated organization structures, the implementation really revolves around understanding how many users they are going to have, what physical (or remote) worksites do their employees work in, and then putting that information into the platform. There are a number of different configuration options for different process behaviors, so we can accommodate most clients through simple, straightforward configuration.

A key implementation component for all of our clients is assisting them in determining if the government’s E-Verify service is applicable to them and/or if they are interested in using it. For clarity, E-Verify is a federal government system that takes information from the Form I-9 and compares it against information stored in the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s databases to validate that the document information that you collect on the Form I-9 is in fact accurate and matches with what they have on file. The benefit to using E-Verify is that it helps to ensure you are not hiring individuals who are not authorized to work in the United States. In some states, use of E-Verify is required by all employers, or employers withing to perform services in the public sector. Use of E-Verify, however, cannot be done as a “pre-hire” employment check since the information used to process the transaction comes from the Form I-9 which is only completed after the employee has accepted an offer of employment.

CEOCFO: How do you support your clients on an ongoing basis?

Mr. Villella: We strive to support our clients by providing ongoing compliance guidance, great customer service, and continuous feature and improvement updates that simplify their daily tasks. In regards to ongoing compliance guidance, we’ve already touched on that a bit. Our relationships with outside attorneys and government agencies help us provide relevant guidance to our clients. Great customer service starts with great employees who understand that without our clients, we wouldn’t be in business. These customer service rockstars work tirelessly to ensure they provide the best possible service they can to our clients. Lastly, we regularly release product platform updates that are focused on compliance, and based upon customer requested features and improvements. Using these two guiding principles to manage our product roadmap allows us to deliver continuous updates that are targeted to what our clients and partners want, as well as what they need to have to maintain compliance.

CEOCFO: What have you learned from your customers and what might be different today than it was a year or three ago?

Mr. Villella: What I have learned the most is as technology has changed over time, the customer demands from technology continue to grow. No longer is it acceptable to just present the information or features they’re asking for, but those features and information need to be: 1) mobile-friendly, 2) meet the strictest security requirements and 3) they want the overall employee and user experience to be extraordinary. Historically, our customers were more focused on just ensuring that basic requirements were met in what that they were looking for. Now, however, they are going beyond that and it is not sufficient to just meet the basics.

CEOCFO: Do most potential client already have a system in place and going to replace it or do people still not have the right tools and you are working with people where this is a new idea for them?

Mr. Villella: I would say that one to two years ago most people did not have a tool or system in place. Today, it is a little more balanced, some do and some do not. I think a lot of smaller clients are still managing a lot of their paperwork on their own; especially, if they do not hire a lot of people. With the Form I-9 in particular, it is complicated and a lot of other systems out there do not have the right level of diligence put into the solution, so they are not completely compliant. That said, either customers are choosing not to use these incomplete solutions, or they are looking to replace them because they have run into an issue, or experienced a situation where they were gotten fined or audited, and decided it was time to make sure they are getting their Forms I-9 in compliance.

What we have seen since the pandemic, is the shift to remote work and a lot of providers in the marketplace still cannot provide a compliant Form I-9 process as it relates to remote workers. What I mean by that is part of the Form I-9 process, completion of Section II in particular, requires the employee to physically meet with another individual that the employer has authorized, to review the employee’s identity and work eligibility documents and validate they look genuine and legitimate. Once reviewed, the authorized individual needs to complete Section II of the I-9 and sign off on the review. The government has temporarily relaxed these requirements during COVID, but at some point, in the near future, they are going to go back to having to meet physically again. A lot of the staffing companies, smaller ones in particular, have found out that the process or solution they are using today for completion of the Form I-9, is not compliant, or is burdensome, when it comes to remote workers, so they need a solution that better assists them.

CEOCFO: How do you reach out to potential clients?  When you are at a conference with other providers, how do you get attention?

Mr. Villella: To reach out to potential clients, we use social media and some targeted marketing lists to reach out to folks with C-level or VP related titles of HR organizations. We also reach out through LinkedIn and past relationships that we have. I have several relationships with HR industry veterans, so I am working with them to identify clients and individuals in the right roles and see what they are doing today to address any needs.

The HR Tech Show was our first tradeshow. Not for me personally, but for GryphonHR. To grab attention what we are trying to do is make sure we are providing information to prospects so they understand what some of the risks are with the Form I-9 and E-Verify. “What are they are doing today?” “Are they still completing it with paper?” “Do they have another system?” We are also sending out pre-show direct mailers, emailing prospects and leads with show-related promotions, and personally inviting customers and partners to stop by, or to schedule in-person meetings while we’re there.

CEOCFO: Why choose GryphonHR?

Mr. Villella: Choosing GryphonHR is about ensuring that you are meeting your HR compliance requirements - in particular as it relates to employment eligibility. We are going to provide you with a simplified, easy-to-use process that will enable you to handle both your in-office, or remote workforce, with the best possible onboarding experience while ensuring you are hiring individuals who are eligible to work in the United States.

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“The key to simplifying compliance is providing efficiencies wherever possible with compliance requirements, and reducing the burden of compliance which takes time and energy away from a company’s core business. In doing these two things, any individual responsible for compliance can act upon what is required and get back to doing what’s important for the business to be successful.”
Marc Villella