New tech officer wants to help Minneapolis’ When I Work get bigger customers

Increasingly, companies are turning to software to help manage employees. When I Work in Minneapolis has been in the thick of the market and wants to add more features to attract larger business customers.

Octavian Tarcea, as the company’s new chief technology officer, will lead development of those applications, which he says make for “happier and more productive teams” at shift-based workplaces.

The When I Work platform, which includes scheduling, time tracking and team messaging solutions, will add new features to appeal to more of the market, Tarcea said. More than 2 million shift workers now use When I Work at more than 200,000 workplaces worldwide, according to the company.

Tarcea has been working at technology companies for two decades.

Joining When I Work reunites Tarcea with CEO Martin Hartshorne. The two launched a company called EmployTouch Inc. in 2010 and sold it to Ultimate Software in 2013.

Tarcea is the latest addition to When I Work’s leadership team as the company continues pursuing rapid growth. Hartshorne came aboard in February 2020 as chief executive, allowing founder Chad Halvorson to become chief experience officer. When I Work promoted Greg Wallace to chief financial officer earlier this year.

“I’ve seen small, medium and large companies go through these high-growth phases,” Tarcea said. “My experience by being through and leading some of these companies through high growth will absolutely help us here at When I Work.”

Tarcea’s two decades in workforce management software include working at CyberShift, Infor, Ultimate Software and UKG (formed after Ultimate Software and Kronos merged last year).

“Octavian has substantial domain expertise in building applications for shift-based workplaces, and he has been successful as a leader in high-growth companies and running large, growing teams,” Hartshorne said in a release. “He also understands the importance of building a strong caring culture, which is something we prioritize.”

Q: What are your goals as chief technology officer at When I Work?

A: Our main goal is to set up the company so that we can bring our solutions to larger and larger organizations, to be able to service both small businesses, which we already have a very good presence in, but also to expand our solutions into larger organizations. To do that we will need to scale our R&D team, which will allow us to build more and more features that are necessary for the small business market but also in the larger enterprises.

Q: Why have you focused your career on workforce management technology?

A: I immigrated to Canada from Romania in 1997. As a hardware engineer and eventually as a software engineer, I started working for a company in the workforce management space. It is a great space. Being able to make work as easy as possible and as productive as possible and helping so many employees around the world is basically the main driver.

Q: Why should companies use When I Work’s software?

A: We need to have all the tools necessary for the company to be able to run their business and for business managers to schedule their employees and hit all of their business metrics. But we are very much focused on the employee actually liking to use the product and will continue to spend a lot of energy and attention on building employee-focused products going forward.

Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is [email protected]

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