at a glance
Founded in 2014, Spryker is redefining enterprise commerce software by enabling transactional business models beyond retail, e-commerce, and desktop. Their industry-leading digital commerce platform is trusted by global brands like Toyota, Aldi, Siemens, and Ricoh.
Spryker chose Oyster and Bob as their go-to solutions to onboard talent from around the world and manage their remote-first, global workforce. Together, Oyster and Bob provide a seamless and integrated distributed HR solution for Spryker’s team of 650+ people working across 50+ countries.
As a company built on innovation, the Berlin-based e-commerce platform Spryker had global ambitions. But just as they were gearing up to expand into global markets, including the U.S., U.K., and the Middle East, the COVID-19 pandemic hit—prompting them to go remote-first and open their doors to the best talent anywhere in the world.
Stefanie Zander, Senior People Operations Manager, explains why they needed to access the global talent pool—so they could build the world-class team they needed to achieve their ambitious goals.
“As a small and unknown company, we needed really good talent, especially engineers. And to get good engineers, we needed to hire globally. We needed a solution in place so we could hire people from all over the world.”
But Stefanie’s team didn’t have the knowledge or expertise to hire compliantly in other countries. For a small People & Culture team of only six people, it would be time-consuming and burdensome to do the research themselves. Besides, the legislation is constantly changing, so even if they did look things up online, they couldn’t always be sure if the information was accurate or up-to-date.
“As a very small People Operations team, we don’t always have the right expertise. It’s really difficult for us to know all the legislation in different countries. How much PTO do they get? What are the holidays? What’s required for maternity or paternity leave? What happens when a person wants to resign? It’s something that a small team cannot handle.”
Alongside building a global team, Spryker also needed a flexible HRIS to compliantly store, manage, and track employee data across geographies, which can be complicated due to varying regulations around personal information. Also, they were tracking processes and generating reports manually using “a lot of Excel sheets and trackers” because they didn’t have the necessary automations and integrations.
Most importantly, Spryker’s People & Culture team couldn’t make data-driven people decisions because their existing HRIS software “was lacking the analytics part,” says Stefanie. “We could pull reports, but it was really hard to work with them. Since we wanted to make data-driven decisions, we needed a system that was more usable for that purpose,” she explains.
These were some of the challenges Spryker needed to overcome in order to scale their team seamlessly across borders and drive innovation in enterprise digital commerce solutions.
After trying other vendors, Spryker eventually landed on Oyster as a global employment partner and Bob as their HRIS, a combo solution that works well for their distributed HR needs—from global hiring and local compliance with Oyster to HR automation and people analytics with Bob.
So how does Oyster fit into Spryker’s HR tech stack? For their small but mighty People & Culture team, it’s a relief to be able to count on Oyster to create locally compliant contracts. This means they can focus on getting their new hires set up, without having to do research on probation periods, PTO, or parental leave.
“Onboarding is definitely one thing that’s really well managed by Oyster. What needs to be included in the contract? What are the legal requirements we have to look at? What do we need to pre-check before we hire someone, especially in so many different countries? Having a partner like Oyster who helps us with those very location-specific regulations is really helpful for a small team.”
Beyond contracts and onboarding, Stefanie’s team receives guidance on legal requirements and best practices throughout the employee lifecycle, including regular updates on changing laws. For instance, if a country introduces new salary regulations due to inflation, “these are things we don’t constantly monitor as a team,” says Stefanie—and they don’t need to because Oyster does it for them.
For People professionals tasked with keeping their organizations compliant across multiple jurisdictions, it’s important to have reliable information available. That’s why Stefanie appreciates the self-serve resources and country hiring guides on the Oyster platform.
“Oyster has a helpful library where we can look at the internal regulations and labor laws of different countries. It’s a really good overview when we’re trying to decide whether to hire in this or that country. It’s really helpful because if you look things up online, you don’t know if it’s accurate information or still valid today.”
While Oyster helps Spryker with the compliance and logistics of global employment, Bob helps on the operations side to capture, store, and track employee data. Setting up a system to work across multiple countries and their specific requirements can be challenging, but Stefanie finds that Bob’s HRIS is flexible enough for global teams.
“Bob really gives us the flexibility to update and map employee information. From an operational perspective, we use Bob for capturing employee information, tracking internal data, and creating employee documents like contracts, NDAs, and so on.”
Stefanie also appreciates how Bob enables her team to automate routine HR tasks and processes, so they don’t need to do the work manually.
“There are a lot of automation functionalities within Bob that we use. So when internal stakeholders need reports on a regular basis, we don’t have to do it manually by ourselves anymore. We can set it up once and then it’s rolling. Before using Bob, we had a lot of Excel sheets and trackers to manually track processes and make sure that everything was checked off.”
In addition, Bob offers robust people analytics capabilities which was important to the Spryker team. They use Bob for “pulling reports and creating dashboards,” says Stefanie, and they’re looking into more ways to leverage its features and functionalities
After tripling in size over the last three years, the Spryker team is currently distributed across 50+ countries through a combination of their own entities and EOR services, with Oyster as their primary EOR partner. With Oyster’s help, Spryker successfully navigated their hypergrowth phase by seamlessly onboarding talent around the world.
“We’ve been using Oyster since the beginning of our hypergrowth phase starting in 2020, and then we really scaled up. The company grew from about 100 or 200 people to almost 500 people right now. Our hypergrowth was only possible because we had support from a vendor like Oyster that enabled us to onboard talent all over the world.”
That period of rapid global expansion was relatively smooth and frictionless because Spryker could depend on Oyster to help them stay compliant with local processes across dozens of countries. It also saved them time and effort that they’d otherwise have to spend doing research.
“There are a lot of local processes that are different depending on where we employ people. We can’t hire a lawyer in all the different countries, so that’s definitely where Oyster is a great partner. Oyster takes care of processes that we’re not capable of doing—or we would be capable, but we would need a lot of research time in order to do them.”
On the operations side, Bob has enabled Spryker’s People & Culture team to streamline HR processes and reduce manual work by automating tasks and workflows. By reducing repetitive work, they’ve freed up time for more exciting and impactful initiatives.
“With Bob, we’re moving from manual processes to automated processes. For example, we can add internal and external stakeholders to tasks and workflows in Bob, so we don’t need to remember things or make lists—it’s all captured in the tool. With the automations we implement in Bob, and also by integrating it with other applications using their open API, we’re able to reduce the work that we usually did manually. This gives us more space for fun HR things.”
In addition to automating processes, Bob’s analytics capabilities also allow Stefanie’s team to easily pull data and generate reports for internal stakeholders so they’re better equipped to make data-driven decisions. In fact, they’re actively collaborating with Bob to find more ways to improve organizational effectiveness through data.
“Bob has a really good analytics section that we can use for scheduled reports, for instance. They’re also working on solutions for how we can share dashboards and enable managers to work better with data. We also use Bob for looking into, for example, how we can hire more diversity in the future.”
Another aspect of Oyster and Bob that makes People Ops easier for the Spryker team is integrations. Connecting Oyster and Bob has streamlined their HR workflow by ensuring that nothing critical gets missed or forgotten—especially during key phases like onboarding and offboarding, for instance.
“Bob is our HR information system that we use to track employee information, and Oyster is our main EOR vendor. Both systems are increasingly cooperating with different integrations, and that makes our work easier and easier.”
Stefanie is constantly working on ways to optimize processes that will drive the company forward and improve the employee experience. Regarding the tools in her HR tech stack, including Oyster and Bob, she’s optimistic about smoother integrations enabling more efficient processes in the future.
“I’m really looking forward to having things work together more smoothly in the future. Not just Oyster and Bob, but for all the systems we use in HR to work together better and smoother—because there’s a lot of room for improvement, but also a lot of potential in the future.”
Having built a global team spanning 50+ countries, Stefanie is both positive but also realistic about the rewards and challenges of global hiring. For any company considering it, her advice is to be aware that there might be some hiccups initially, but to be patient because it’ll improve over time.
“Even though everything isn’t working perfectly right now, we’ve made really specific feature requests from our side and our support teams have already fixed some things we had on our list. They just need time, so be patient and optimistic because things are moving forward all the time.”
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