How PuzzleHR Aims to Transform Organizations Through Strategic Human Capital Management


PUBLISHED: September 19, 2023
Photograph of the founders of Puzzle HR, a tall Black bald man smiling to the left and a shorter white man with glasses also smiling to the right. On the wall behind them text reads: "You've got the humans, we've got the resources."

In 2019, after decades of seeing businesses across industries experience lackluster HR function due to lack of investment, Chris Timol and Lonny Ostrander founded PuzzleHR with a mission to elevate HR departments into a powerhouse of efficiency and engagement, driving culture, growth and innovation.

Longtime friends and leaders Timol and Ostrander realized that while the business world is changing, HR departments need help keeping up. They believe that employees are a company’s best asset and with proper human capital management, organizations are bound for success. As businesses rapidly adapt to the digital revolution and remote work cultures, many HR departments lag behind, relying on outdated processes.

Companies are embracing AI, remote work and employee well-being, while HR departments may struggle with implementing digital tools, managing a geographically dispersed workforce and navigating benefits and compensation.

“For years, Lonny and I held executive roles in the HR outsourcing industry,” Timol says. “We’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative impact a well-funded and strategically directed HR department can have on a company’s profitability.”

Ostrander continues, “But a lot of HR departments lack the essential resources to devise and implement effective strategies. We recognized a gap in the market for vital support, and so we founded PuzzleHR.”

A helping hand for struggling HR departments

Timol and Ostrander’s careers in leadership gave them insight into the challenges organizations face and how HR departments could be improved to fix these problems. Observing how some businesses struggle to adapt to changing technologies and employee expectations, they found that those HR departments were underutilized and under-resourced, rendering a crucial organizational asset ineffective.

“For years, we saw that businesses had no place to turn to get the support they needed to deal with a constantly changing HR compliance landscape. That has stayed the same, and that landscape is only becoming more complex with rapid advancements in technology and social norms,” Timol notes. “We see organizations all the time struggling with change management, remote leadership and talent management. And they’re doing all this while navigating complex legislation. You need an ‘HaRmy’ to keep up, and that’s where we come in.”

The Puzzle process

Effective human capital management is pivotal in maximizing productivity, spurring innovation and catalyzing growth. Managing the tactical and strategic aspects of human resources often poses significant challenges for in-house HR professionals. Non-HR employees are too busy performing the essential functions of their jobs to take on additional HR-related responsibilities, and recruiting specialized HR professionals to manage each facet of human resources is an intensive endeavor.

“We start with deep discovery sessions with clients to understand their mission, challenges, vision and goals. Based on that, we identify the right Puzzle teams to partner with clients and build them a roadmap. Whether that means we take on their whole HR function or help with one aspect of HR like managing payroll all depends on the client’s needs,” Ostrander says about Puzzle’s diagnostic process.

Timol adds, “People come to us at all stages of an HR department. Sometimes it’s just one person managing all the work, and they’re completely overwhelmed. Other times they have a few people but need additional support, maybe with technology or processes they haven’t been trained on.”

PuzzleHR offers custom services designed to manage the entirety, or just facets, of an organization’s HR function. With strategic and tactical HR solutions, Puzzle empowers organizations to recruit, retain and engage their workforces, achieve organizational goals and ensure regulatory compliance.

Keys to success

Growing to over 300 employees across the six time zones of the United States, partnering with many payroll providers, insurance brokerages, private equity firms and HR software firms and providing HR services to tens of thousands of employees every day doesn’t come without difficulties.

“Like every company, we face new challenges every day. We are not immune to the exact same challenges our clients face… managing a remote workforce, dealing with benefits, handling leaves of absence, talent acquisition, performance management. The list goes on and on.”

What helps the organization thrive, though, is its commitment to developing a welcoming culture. Timol rebuffs the notion that all-remote companies are unable to build a strong company culture.

“It takes a different level of collaboration and commitment,” Timol says. “A company is about its people. Treat your people the way you’d want your family to be treated. We try to create and maintain a motivating environment where people can show up and be their best selves—for themselves, for their families and for their clients.”

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