How HR-Tech Firm When I Work is Still Growing Despite Covid-19’s Impact

Imagine having about half of your revenues tied to serving the restaurant and hospitality industries last year… How would you have delt with Covid-19-related temporary closures and ongoing restrictions in those industries, the plunge in their revenues and the potential harm to yours?

Chad Halvorson and his leadership team had to deal with that challenge, and more, during 2020 and he talks about it all in this episode of One Take CEO Interviews presented by Platinum Group. [Note: These interviews now have chapters, allowing one to tune into one or two subjects if there isn’t enough time to catch the entire interview.]

Halvorson is founder, chairman and chief experience officer of the Minneapolis-based HR-technology firm When I Work. His 10-year-old business provides a unique employee engagement-focused scheduling, time tracking and messaging solution ensuring reliable shift coverage and faster decisions amongst more than one million hourly employees at 150,000 workplaces across the United States. Annual revenue is “in the tens of millions” and headcount is expected to grow from 130 to 200 by the end of the year, he says. The company has conducted two rounds of financing totaling $25 million, with the most recent a $15 million raise in 2016.

In his interview, Halvorson explains how his business managed to end 2020 strong financially, the greatest challenge he overcame last year, and the greatest challenge he anticipates in 2021. The entire interview can be watched in this YouTube video or listened to through this Spotify link or Apple Podcast link. To go directly to specific parts of this interview, see the subjects and corresponding links below.


  • 12:09 Greatest challenge in 2020
  • 13:21 First reactions to when Covid-19-related shutdowns affected business
  • 04:58 How When I Work responded to Covid-19’s impact on its business last year
  • 01:09 How Covid-19’s impact on the hospitality and restaurant industries affected When I Work
  • 08:34 How diversification is helping the business during the Covid-19 economy
  • 09:57 Which industry sectors When I Work is planning to expand the most quickly, and why
  • 15:50 What it was like transitioning the CEO position to another individual while Covid-19 was hitting
  • 19:18 Greatest challenge for 2021
  • 21:01 When I Work’s unique value proposition
  • 23:54 Growth plans
  • 25:10 Talent sought/help wanted
  • 05:59 How When I Work uses artificial intelligence in its HR tools
  • 07:30 What sorts of intelligence When I Work provides to employers
  • 22:38 Tracking employees vs. tracking their checking in

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About One Take CEO Interviews: CEOs share how they’re leading during the Covid-19 pandemic and other unprecedented challenges. These are unscripted, unedited one-take interviews produced by business leader and award-winning journalist Dale Kurschner, who today provides strategic communication, crisis response and reputation management services through Platinum Group, Minnesota’s most experienced advisory group helping business owners and leaders with extreme challenges including rapid growth, turnarounds, acquisitions and divestitures.

No funding or other financial consideration is provided by companies interviewed, and interviews are selected solely upon the relevance of what may be discussed during an interview.

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