When Tim and I decided to list Xref on the ASX in early 2016, we had big plans for the company in the imminent future, and the rest of that year saw us laying the foundations for what has proven to be an incredible 2017.
To say this year has exceeded expectations would be a massive understatement. It has been fascinating, gruelling and exciting all at the same time and I believe our ultimate success as we close out the year can be marked by five pillars:
- Product development
- Brand evolution
Our focus on international growth has been stronger than ever this year, with our brilliant team rapidly expanding globally and the opening of our first physical presence in the Nordics region. I’m proud to say we have the best team for the job on the ground in Norway and, with industry veteran, Hans Jørgen Wang, at the helm, we’re so excited to see what they can achieve in a market that’s hungry and hugely susceptible to the Xref solution.
Of course, this ongoing international growth has led to Tim and I to spend an increasing amount of time in the air, traveling from one country to the next, visiting colleagues, partners, customers, investors and industry peers. But being able to get on the ground in the countries we support, has been invaluable in helping us to really understand the demands and opportunities in each market.
A huge contributor to our global expansion this year, has been the incredible integrations we have formed with some really smart HR tech providers.
During 2017, we have added a number of big names to our list of partners, including Checkr - a market-leading, automated background checking platform; enterprise resource planning platform, Workday - an integration is already in use by NBN Australia and Qantas; and leading talent acquisition platform, SmartRecruiters, as well as Equifax, Zapier, SnapHire, and Talent App Store. These new partnerships join a long list of integrations introduced since early 2016, including iCIMS, Bullhorn, Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud, Equifax, and Expr3ss!.
Our unbelievable dev team continued to work tirelessly in the background of the platform this year, making sure we are able to provide a seamless, market-leading and simple solution for our customers.
2017 has seen us championing the use of AI in the market and even embrace it for our own service, with the introduction of the Sentiment Engine, a machine-learning-based functionality that enables us to provide the sentiment of a full reference report, at a glance. We really believe this is a game changer when it comes to offering organisations everything they need to make a fast and informed hiring decision, based on a greater volume of more valuable information.
Our continued focus on product enhancements has been a significant contributor to the growth in the number of organisations we’re now supporting, particularly in terms of the impressive household names we have introduced, including Snapchat, who require robust, flexible and secure tech solutions to ensure they maintain their own consistently high level of service.
This year Tim and I made the tough decision to let go of the original Xref branding - our baby and the identity we had grown for the company since we sat together and scribbled it down in 2009.,
In turn we embraced a slick, new look that marks a major change in the way we talk about Xref, as well as the way we are seen by others. This rebrand - which included a move away from individual market-specific domains, to Xref.com - really poignantly reflected our evolution from an Australian-based startup with separate offices overseas, to one, grown-up, global entity.
Finally, this year we were also recognised as an Employer of Choice by HRD, something we have spoken about previously and continue to be very proud of.
At the core of our business is the passion to drive positive change in the HR industry and our focus continues to be on growing a team that shares our enthusiasm, heart and ambition, and enjoys coming to work everyday. With 34 people added to the team globally in the last 12 months (a huge number considering it was only a couple of years ago that we were just 10 people working from one office!), and with further international expansion plans in the pipeline, we’re looking forward to growing the team we take with us on the Xref journey, next year.
Thank you to all those who have been part of our epic year - we wish you a very merry christmas and a happy new year, and we look forward to working with you again in 2018.