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Creating a better working experience for overlooked frontline teams – Interview with Yoobic Founder Fabrice Haiat

There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has thrust the hybrid workplace in the forefront and consequently shone a light on remote workers and how to keep them engaged and productive. But prior to the pandemic, around 80% of the world’s workforce were already not working in an office. These are the so-called frontline teams, the deskless workers that are for example, working in the retail and hotel industries. Despite their large numbers, only 1% of IT spending is allocated to them, making them a largely underserved workforce. 

We spoke with Fabrice Haiat, CEO and Co-Founder of Yoobic. Creating a better every day working experience for frontline teams is the mission that Yoobic is undertaking. Yoobic’s all-in-one digital workplace full-service software platform is designed for frontline teams. Its scalable and user-friendly app gives retail associates, restaurant staff, fieldworkers, and all types of frontline employees a single centralized mobile hub to support their daily task management, deliver digital training, and enable seamless communication with peers, supervisors, and HQ. With $80 million in total fundraising since inception in 2014, Yoobic is now helping more than 200 companies around the world including Boots, Lancôme, Lacoste, Logitech, Peloton, Puma, Vans and Sanofi.

Fabrice spoke about Yoobic’s mission, how it is driving engagement in frontline teams, the tools needed to manage and keep frontline workers engaged, the future of workplace management as well as Yoobic’s expansion plans.

Walk us through your entrepreneurial journey and the story of founding Yoobic.

I founded Yoobic with my two brothers Avi and Gilles (3 brothers/3 founders). We are a French entrepreneurial family; both our grandfather and father ran a family business. 

With my engineering school degree (Centrale Supelec in France) and consulting (McKinsey) / software development background, I share the responsibilities with my brothers – Avi assumes the role of CTO while Gilles heads the UX and app development. We created Yoobic in 2014 to provide business leaders and frontline teams with the performance tools they need to communicate, learn, and work – all on one platform.  Yoobic’s vision is to create a better every day working experience for frontline teams, which represent 80% of today’s workforce yet only receive a small percentage of IT investment, making it a massively overlooked workforce.  

The pandemic highlighted remote/hybrid working and brought about many “workplace management” solutions to the forefront. How do you view workplace management – pre versus post pandemic? 

COVID shone a light on frontline teams, perceived as heroes during the pandemic, highlighting the importance of this largely overlooked workforce. The pandemic accelerated digital transformation in retail and has had positive outcomes for Yoobic. We saw a peak in app activities by our customers. Retailers know they must digitize their activities and implement more scalable ways to communicate with their teams and be able to launch new processes like health and safety compliance quickly. Also, retailers know they need to manage and motivate their growing Millennial and Gen Z workforce differently. They are digital natives, adept at using social media tools and they want a similar experience in the workplace to their personal lives.

What are the top 3 pain points/problems cited by potential and current customers that they want Yoobic to solve?

  • Drive operational excellence at scale in retail and hospitality industries and reduce operational costs
  • Get real-time visibility into multi-location business execution
  • Improve employee experience and reduce the turnover of the teams

For frontline and remote teams and the so-called “deskless workers”, what are the top 3 tools do you think are needed to manage and keep them engaged?

  • Social media like / gamified communication platforms to connect with the organization (managers, peers, head office)
  • Learning tools adapted to their day-to-day working (mobile first, available on the shop floor, micro learning, very gamified) – these tools are a critical asset for employees to feel considered and engaged in the company
  • Tools to manage back office / admin tasks easily, saving time to do what they do best – serving customers

How do you see workplace management in the future? What current trends do you observe that are here to stay? And what next trends are anticipated in the market?

  • Physical shopping remains the center of the omnichannel strategy – people will continue to shop in stores because that is the best way to connect with a brand and enjoy the brand experience – Physical retail will continue to evolve powered by solutions like Yoobic.
  • Gen Z frontline workers expect digital tools to facilitate their day-to-day work and identify their importance as a metric in recognising their input in the business (feedback is key)
  • Automation and AI will make retail operations smarter and help retailers grow faster

You acquired Heystan, a digital training and knowledge management platform serving the catering and hospitality industries, just recently (Sept. 2022), marking your move to double down on hospitality and quick service restaurants (QSR). Tell us more about Yoobic’s growth strategy – including market expansion acquisition plans that you can disclose.

Yoobic’s ambition is to be the category-defining leader addressing the massive global deskless worker market with a $12Bn Total Addressable Market (TAM), leading the deskless worker digital transformation, a trend accelerated by macro tailwinds:

  • Millennial & digital native workforce aspirations
  • Bring your own device (BYOD) trend
  • Greater need for employee productivity & organizational agility
  • New capabilities associated with AI

Our 2 targeted markets are Retail and Hospitality industries (Restaurants, Hotels, Fitness Clubs…)  and the acquisition of Heystan is aligned with this strategy and aims at creating a strong expertise in the Hospitality sector.

In the coming months, the company will continue targeting big retail and hospitality organizations worldwide, with a focus on North America, Western Europe and Southeast Asia.

Maricel Sanchez
Maricel Sanchez
Maricel Sanchez has over 10 years of experience in various fields including trading, supply chain management, logistics and manufacturing. As well as helping startups to raise funds, she is an award-winning public speaker and the current President of Toastmasters Nice, a bilingual club that promotes public speaking and leadership.

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