Founded in 2012, Breathe is a rapidly growing Software as a Service (SaaS) company that provides comprehensive HR management software for SMEs. In January, Breathe’s CEO, Jonathan Richards, was acknowledged as one of the UK’s most promising Chief Executives in our annual ‘Ones to Watch’ programme. Jonathan took some time out of his busy schedule to discuss how Breathe is helping to drive the growth of the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses.
There can be no denying that SMEs are the lifeblood of Britain’s economy. Yet, they are – in comparison to their larger counterparts –often not equipped to fully recognise their potential. Technology, after all, is the great driver of modern business change, and those that adopt the latest technological developments are in line to benefit the most. For instance, automation is playing an increasingly important role in streamlining business processes, leading to reduced costs and increased efficiency. However, many SMEs don’t yet realise how these options can improve their business at the most basic of levels.
People management and human resources, equally, are often underrepresented in an SME’s hierarchy, lacking in resources or relegated to a future consideration – something that is simply not needed until the company achieves sustained growth. However, HR remains a fundamental part of any business’s day to day operations, intrinsically linked to all facets of the company.
Breathe offers a solution- unifying comprehensive, costeffective approach with easy to use software that promises to take the difficulty out of people management, as Jonathan explains. “Our software has been developed to substantially reduce HR related administration. This frees up CEOs and their teams to invest time and resources into other key business areas. Our software provides businesses with a rapid return on investment in a short space of time.”
In terms of Breathe’s software core functionality, Jonathan comments: “Our system is built around three themes: organise, automate and inform. Breathe’s software automates the most missioncritical areas of HR including self-service holiday booking; absence reporting; employee data and document management; performance reviews; training and expense management.”
Breathe’s approach certainly seems to be working, having recently celebrated reaching 5,500 customers who, in turn, manage over 185,000 employees. All of this only draws one distinct conclusion: there was an urgent demand for HR software that targets the needs of SMEs. Breathe was designed to fulfil these needs from the outset. Their cloud-based system was created from the ground up to be flexible, scalable, secure and easily accessible, giving clients the power of best in class IT infrastructure without the astronomical cost. Further, cloud technology offers peace of mind,
entirely eliminating the need for manual back-up schedules and the worry of hardware failure resulting in data loss.
“The secure managed software hosting we provide is central to our value proposition. We are ISO 27001 accredited which means that our security standards have been independently verified and certified. Given the sensitive nature of HR and employee related data – especially since the 2018 introduction of stringent GDPR regulations- this is integral to our solution.”
The core ethos of Breathe’s software is to enable business owners and managers to be able to manage their employees as effectively as larger organisations, regardless of their level of experience or expertise in HR. In Jonathan’s words: “This is crucially important as a company’s team members are integral to its success.”
According to Jonathan, the same holds true for Breathe’s expert team. “Our people are integral to Breathe’s success. We believe that company culture is every bit as important as business strategy when it comes to growth and long-term success. As a company, our values are steeped in positive workplace culture and this is something we actively promote to our customers and partners.
We’re also committed to ending mental health discrimination and recently signed the ‘Time to Change Pledge’ which underlines our commitment to staff and their mental wellbeing. With poor company culture costing the UK economy £23.6 billion per year, can any business afford to not invest in its employees?”
Further, the team play an essential role when it comes to client support, ensuring that SMEs can use the software confidently and fluently. Our support ranges from providing people with online software demonstrations through to onboarding activities and providing web-based training and support.”
It would be remiss to not take a moment to mention Breathe’s thriving partner community, which utilises their considerable expertise to help others achieve their growth strategies through top-tier HR management. Partners include firms from across a plethora of industries and regions, including HR Hub Plus, My HR Hub, People Matters HR, Emphasis, Crispin Rhodes and PSM HR Outsourcing.
Ultimately, Breathe remain focused on forging long-term partnerships with their clientbase, understanding that ongoing support can be a priceless asset to the UK’s small and mediumsized businesses.
On the subject of the future of Breathe, Jonathan takes a moment to talk about the firm’s continued development and growth. “2019 is going to be another exciting year for us, both in terms of long-term strategic development and growing our number of customers and partners on a month-to-month basis. Our development team are creating some fantastic new features which we’re confident will be very well received by customers new and old.”
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