Customer Stories 13 min

Pento becomes an equitable employer with Remote

Written by Marie Nayaka
Marie Nayaka

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Running payroll in-house is a complex process. You have to dedicate weeks to complete the work manually — and then start all over again each month. This pressure can lead to burnout, frustration, and potential errors. 

UK-based startup Pento realized that many businesses were stuck in this vicious cycle, and built a product to reimagine the entire payroll experience. It was a huge success and, by mid-2023, Pento had raised over $54 million in Series B funding.

As a remote-first company, Pento was also already leveraging the freedom to hire the world’s top talent, regardless of location. But in order to transition from startup to a global leader, it needed to identify an employment partner with: 

  • Widespread multiple country coverage

  • Deep international and local labor law expertise

  • A robust and usable platform

  • The ability to self-serve information as and when needed

With these requirements in mind, here’s why Pento chose Remote to be its leading international employment partner.

Pento at a glance

  • Headquarters: The UK

  • Founded: 2016

  • Remote employees in the following countries: Finland, India, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Malta, and Spain

  • Industry: HR, finance, and payroll

Pento is built to remove the administrative burden of payroll. From automating payroll calculations to employee and tax payments, companies can manage their entire payroll process in the platform.

"Pento's intuitiveness makes it easy for non-payroll experts to get started,” explains Kayleigh Smart, Pento’s head of people. “But it's robust enough for payroll professionals to configure the most complex payroll setups, especially since we support every pay schedule and every type of worker in the UK.”

This emphasis on optimization and efficiency isn’t limited to Pento’s product, either. It’s deeply instilled in their own internal processes, including their approach to hiring.

“There’s a big theme at Pento of being very intentional about where a lean team's time goes, and trying to remove our own internal blockers,” Smart explains. “We want to make sure that we’re not accruing unnecessary layers of bureaucracy and process.”

Unlocking operational efficiencies by hiring globally

While the majority of their employees are based in the UK, Pento has worked with international talent since well before the pandemic, and has been a remote-first company since day one. But when Smart joined the company as its first strategic people hire, she knew that a more scalable approach to global recruitment would be required.

“Several years ago, my roadmap would have been heavily tied to headcount,” says Smart. “Now, it’s about how we can optimize operations. Teams need to be lean and do as much as possible with as little as possible.”

We wanted the best possible partner where we knew we were compliant in all the countries where we hire, but also where we could self-serve as much as possible.

As a professional who had mostly operated in an office-based setting prior to joining Pento, Smart was aware of the size of this challenge. “Hiring internationally can be scary,” she laughs. “For example, there’s no way I can be up to date with all the relevant legislation for all the countries where we hire.”

In order to future-proof its hiring strategy, Pento needed a reliable, best-in-class international employment partner.

Choosing Remote

When Smart first joined the company, Pento was working with several employer of record (EOR) providers. But spreading the hiring and onboarding process across multiple providers was proving inefficient, and negatively affecting its employees’ experiences.

Smart decided to slim down the number of tools and hiring partners, and focus on finding one, central partner aligned with Pento’s own “do more with less” philosophy. She quickly realized that Remote was that perfect partner.

“Remote has clearly invested so much in building a really sophisticated platform that allows us to be as self-sufficient as possible,” she says. “It's such a delight when we can get the answers we need within a few clicks. And there’s a huge team at the other end of an email or chat function ready to offer more support when we need it.

“Remote keeps evolving, which is a huge attraction. It's the ideal product experience, and it's exactly how we think about things at Pento.”

With such a reliable partner, Pento can be more intentional about its international recruitment. The inbuilt cost calculator helps Smart be strategic about the company’s growth costs, while the Country Explorer contains a wealth of valuable insights.

“Country Explorer is one of my most used tools,” she says. “And it’s become even more comprehensive over time. I use it as a single source of truth for things like maternity pay, notice periods, and all the country-specific details that we can’t keep on top of internally. It’s a fantastic resource.”

International budget planning made easy

After transferring all its international employees over to Remote, Pento began to focus on its future international hiring costs.

“Operationally, we work in very short cycles, but that's teamed up with a much longer-term product vision,” Smart explains. “So, we’re always straddling those two worlds, which can make it hard for us to look ahead.”

“We reached out to the team at Remote, who took us through a planning and pricing exercise so we could accurately budget for the year ahead.”

Remote’s Fair Price Guarantee meant that Pento wouldn’t have to worry about third-party markups, upfront deposits, or hidden fees — which was key for Smart. Indeed, this high level of transparency was particularly important, with Pento having recently been named one of the world’s top 10 most transparent companies

“The level of trust and transparency we had with Remote felt quite different from some of the other pricing conversations that I have had in the past,” says Smart. “Sometimes you go into these conversations feeling like you’re about to be oversold. But you can tell that Remote is genuinely interested in optimizing our business, and giving us the best pricing models and plans for our needs.”

Remote has such great transparency, and the information is there for everyone to see.

This clarity and openness made it simple for Pento to plan out their international hiring budget.

“It was great to be guided through that exercise, and made us focus on the future hires we were going to make,” says Smart. “It allowed us to land upon a package with Remote so we could budget accordingly.

“The pricing has tracked very accurately to what we planned during that exercise, so there have been no big surprises.”

Bringing on the world’s top talent

Smart believes the relationship has also helped Pento build a more effective hiring strategy — which is vital for such a fast-moving company.

“Things are moving really quickly at Pento,” she explains. “We’re scratching the surface of a truly global hiring strategy and, with Remote’s coverage, we can begin to develop country-specific hiring strategies as we scale.

“For instance, pockets of talent have started to emerge across Europe. We’re able to respond to that and hire the best people, wherever they reside.”

Pento doesn’t have to worry about setting up its own entities across Europe and beyond. It relies on Remote’s fully-owned global infrastructure, and can grow its global footprint with confidence, focusing the team’s time and effort on winning over the world’s top talent.

Once it secures that talent, Pento can then self-serve many HR tasks through the platform, such as hiring, onboarding, and payroll.

“We’re always aiming to optimize the time spent on administrative tasks,” says Smart. “Now, we no longer have to think about the details. We can use Remote and focus our time on what benefits the business.”

The onboarding experience is seamless and the timelines have sped up dramatically. I’m constantly surprised at how quickly things happen. It’s a fantastic weight off my mind.

Two aligned partners

It’s not just about streamlining operations and automating tasks, though. Smart is keenly aware of the need to build deeper relationships with its remote employees, and she believes Remote is the perfect middle layer.

“Our relationship with Remote is built on a strong foundation of trust,” she says. “At the very top of mind is, as we grow, how can we be intentional about enhancing our employee experience with the things that matter?

“For instance, we’re looking to implement equitable benefits on a global scale. It’s less about everyone having the same in each country, and more about: ‘is what we’re offering fair?’ It’s brilliant to see Remote support us in that mission.”

For Smart, another key synergy is the people-first approach of both partners.

“Pento’s success doesn't rest entirely on the product,” she explains. “If you ask any of our customers, they'll talk about it, but in the same breath, they’ll talk about the team. And that’s the experience I’ve also had with Remote.”

What’s next for Pento?

As Pento continues to scale its workforce, the need to be lean and flexible is more important than ever. And Smart is confident that, with Remote’s assistance, Pento can stay ahead of the curve.

As an experienced HR leader, she is also excited by the potential that international hiring brings.

“It’s fascinating to see the people function change over time, going from HR administration to a very strategic part of the business,” she says. “And it’s exciting to be in the midst of this transition and learning from so many incredible peers, business leaders, and partners like Remote.”

So what advice would she give to others?

“There’s a big conversation in people communities about hiring internationally, and the EOR space is really booming. The key is being open to change.

“I always share my experience working with Remote — and how it’s my go-to partner that matches all of our needs. It’s been a huge personal journey and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved.”

Want to take the stress and ambiguity out of your international hiring? Contact us today to schedule a friendly consultation with one of our global hiring experts.

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