Martin Hartshorne, to be announced Monday as the new chief executive of When I Work, said the hourly workforce management technology company is hiring and aiming to double revenue just three months after reducing full-time staff 35% as pandemic-related shutdowns slowed business.

Hartshorne, who has more than 20 years of experience in workforce management solutions for hourly employees, is the first outside chief executive at Minneapolis-based When I Work.

When I Work founder Chad Halvorson, CEO since the company’s 2010 launch, now serves as its first chief experience officer, focusing on unifying brand experience through all points of customer contact with the employee-scheduling and time-tracking software service. Halvorson chairs the board of directors, which Hartshorne has joined.

Halvorson said he began thinking last year about the company’s next phase after When I Work, which had grown year over year since its start and saw record growth in 2019, hit milestones in serving more than 150,000 workplaces and more than 1 million employees. When I Work has more than 100 full-time employees after its 35% reduction in April.

Hartshorne joined When I Work in February after discussions with Halvorson that began in late 2019. With the company and many customers soon facing uncertainty from the coronavirus outbreak, Halvorson and Hartshorne concentrated on guiding When I Work through the initial shock before announcing Hartshorne as the new CEO.

Hartshorne, who earned an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, also previously served as founder and CEO of EmployTouch Inc., a tablet-based solution for labor data collection, and in leadership roles at WorkBrain, providing enterprise workforce management solutions.

Q: Where is When I Work now?

Halvorson: We reduced the size of the team in response to what we saw with the government shutdowns of businesses, restaurants, retailers, hospitality, which are core to our market. The good news is while we’re definitely impacted and we had to make hard decisions to put ourselves in a position to make it through, we’re a very durable company and we’re very diversified in who our customers are. There are other categories like service and health care that are growing at scale with the need for touchless and reduced contact for things like clocking in and clocking out.

Q: How is the company positioned going forward?

Hartshorne: When the reduction in force took place it was out of caution and concern with the economic environment. Some customers were going out of business or pausing their operations. A lot of them suspended for a while and they’re coming back. The best part is we’ve been able to find new customers every month at a similar pace to what we were prior. We’re hiring again at the moment in various roles across the company. We’ve got new customers. We’ve learned how to be leaner.

Q: What are you priorities as the first outside CEO?

Hartshorne: The biggest thing is growth. How do we double the revenues and somewhat less than double the team to make the company more valuable? Expanding sales and marketing, driving more revenue, scaling the rest of the company behind that thrust. The second point is going to be innovation. There’s a huge opportunity here to think more strategically and broadly and long term about where you want to go with all the products, which ones we want to build, enhance, adjust and some partnerships. All of this will help drive that growth.


Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is