Turning a passion project into a workforce management app for 600+ employees
When the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, Darren Murphy was working in IT in the hospitality industry. With zero tourism happening, he suddenly found himself out of a job with plenty of free time during lockdown.
With 20 years of IT and product development experience, he turned his attention to his passion project of building his own app and discovered Glide. He immediately fell in love with how easy and powerful the software was for building his own software.
With an abundance of time, he immersed himself in learning everything he could about Glide throughout the lockdown.
“I watched all of your videos, read the whole library from beginning to end, and got really involved in the Glide Community,” says Darren.
A few months into this side project, a former colleague from a previous company, Charles Reed, reached out with a problem. Charles is the CEO of Royal Greyhound, and he had limited visibility into the day-to-day staffing operations in his large organization.
Darren came on board to the Royal Greyhound team, which is a solution partner for the Port of Singapore. The company’s contract is to supply crane operators, truck drivers, and all of the people that keep the port running.
The organization had no IT department and was fragmented, with all of its HR, finance, and IT systems, processes, and documents in different places.
“There were all these siloed compartments, and everyone was just basically doing their own thing with their own spreadsheets,” says Darren. “There was no single source of truth in terms of employee databases. It was just a big mess.”
Darren came on board to the company to lead IT and had a hunch that he could build something with Glide to solve Charles’s problem.
Consolidating rostering, equipment, payroll slips, and org charts into one Glide app
With over 600 workers and needing to pull in real-time data from operations, finance, and HR, Darren knew building this app was going to be a massive project.
So, he started working on a new Glide app in early 2021 to tackle the company’s most immediate problems: rostering, equipment breakdowns, pay slips, and an employee database.
The impact was immediate across the company.
For Charles, this meant he finally had the visibility he needed to make data-driven decisions as CEO.
The level of granularity made an even bigger impact for supervisors and HR.
“We now can track the average number of shifts that each worker does per month,” says Darren. “And we can break this down into different groups, plot that as a distribution chart, and then target those workers that need encouragement.”
We have a baseline of shifts per month but if someone works more shifts, he gets a bonus.
By using the app, we're able to identify those team members that may need more encouragement. That was something that was very difficult to do before.
We can also do a bit of crystal ball gazing. We can look at the target number of workers we want to supply to the port and see how we're projecting so we can make adjustments, which we could never do before.”
In addition, since they hire a lot of foreign workers, this new workforce management app makes it easy for HR to keep all of their employment passes and work permits in one place.
Now, HR can have a roster of all work permits in one place. For instance, they can run a report to see any permits that need to be renewed in the next month. It is no longer a mad scramble to get everything done.
It is not just the CEO and supervisors who love this new app. The drivers love it as well since they always know what’s expected of them.
“Now, the drivers can actually track their own performance and see their targets on a day-to-day basis,” says Darren. “It used to be that they would only find out when they got their pay slip at the end of the month. But now, because they have their own dashboard, they can track how they're progressing each month.”
Establishing a “single source of truth” for the company
Darren was surprised at how the workforce management app he built in Glide has evolved over time. The initial vision was just to consolidate and automate various tasks in Google Sheets.
“We've used Glide for workforce management,” says Darren. “It helps us manage everything from rostering, logging equipment breakdowns, logging productivity and infringements, and HR.
Today, the Glide app has evolved to become a single source of truth for the company.
Just by adding a handful of app scripts and integrating a few Google Sheets, Darren was able to get the app to update in real time. That’s particularly important in this business where drivers are asking for time off or taking sick days on an hourly basis.
Building a new desktop app with Glide
As more people in the company realize what this Glide app can do, their vision continues to expand.
In fact, Darren is now working on a new desktop app, including an HR-specific one for expense claims and PTO approvals.