Operational excellence

Postman’s journey to operational excellence in Talent Acquisition

monthly hours saved
reduction in low-value work
Pavan Chatlapalli, Talent Acquisition Leader at Postman, used to start his day facing a daunting mountain of emails, each requesting updates on hiring statuses, budget approvals, or clarifications on the headcount plan. Every day working in multiple headcount spreadsheets, Pavan felt the weight of inefficiency bearing down on him – mired in the minutiae of manual data entry, constant corrections, and chasing down the latest info. In this customer story, you’ll hear how Postman identified the need for a centralized, collaborative headcount platform, how unified people data and smart workflows saved the company time and money, and what efficient headcount management means for Pavan, the Finance team, and everyone at Postman.
Inefficient headcount processes
Chaotic email approval chains led to uninformed hiring decisions
Siloed data and workflows
Outdated and error-prone spreadsheets

Postman is a 700-person company that provides an API platform for developers. The company was growing rapidly, which made headcount management especially difficult. 

As the Talent Acquisition Leader, Pavan worked closely with Yatin Mody, Head of Strategic Finance, to create and track the headcount plan. Yet, they encountered significant operational challenges.

Inefficient headcount processes affected forecasts

One of the most pressing issues was inefficient headcount tracking. Pavan's team relied on error-prone and outdated data in spreadsheets, which bogged them down and made it especially difficult to make informed hiring decisions. 

For example, it was not uncommon for unplanned jobs to find their way onto the master headcount spreadsheet. The Talent team wouldn’t know exactly who added them or why, but in many cases, would still deliver against them before realizing they were unplanned.

This inefficiency made it really challenging to budget and forecast accurately.

“The downside of hiring somebody that is unplanned goes beyond just the budget. The other side is a chaotic and inefficient org structure.” –Yatin Mody, Head of Strategic Finance

Chaotic email approval chains led to uninformed hiring decisions

Compounding these difficulties was the non-collaborative approval process for hiring and budget adjustments, mainly conducted through email. This decentralized approach caused delays and a lack of transparency in decision-making, making it challenging for Pavan and Yatin to track and manage each request efficiently. 

“I would get an email for a specific headcount add, but there was no context. I'd have to go down the email thread to see what really happened to make sure I understood the request so I could approve it.” –Yatin Mody, Head of Strategic Finance 

Yatin essentially was relying on his memory of past approvals to help guide his decision to approve another role. Had he already approved a new Sales Engineer this quarter? What did the Sales organization look like at this point? All of this context was lost in an email exchange.

As a result, Postman faced departmental imbalances and budget overruns, which affected the entire organization when they had to do reorganizations. Reorgs are inefficient and force employees to work through unnecessary change, while creating a huge amount of work for HR and Finance teams. 

“We discovered organizations that had grown in an unplanned way, as well as other areas that were under-resourced. We had to do reorgs, which are very expensive from a time management perspective,” said Yatin.

Siloed data and efforts

Additionally, there was a noticeable misalignment between departmental needs and available resources, complicating effective talent and financial management. 

“People would add jobs to our master headcount plan spreadsheet seemingly at random. But we’d never notice that it was a net new add on a spreadsheet of hundreds of jobs. We’d just deliver on it. But it was never approved, it wasn’t in the budget or the forecast, and then we’d find it after the fact.” –Pavan Chatlapalli, Talent Acquisition Leader

The culmination of these challenges underscored the critical need for a solution that could streamline efficiency, ensure accuracy, and bring strategic coherence to Postman's headcount management process. Addressing these hurdles was essential for Postman to continue its trajectory of innovation and growth.

Most importantly, the solution had to be collaborative. It needed to be the single source of headcount truth for all stakeholders.

“The biggest issue with our process was that it was not collaborative. We relied on others, but we weren’t working together effectively. That was number one.” –Yatin Mody, Head of Strategic Finance
Our solution

In early 2022, Postman was one of the first companies to eliminate their headcount spreadsheets and adopt TeamOhana’s Headcount Planning Platform. The move has been transformative.

Accurate headcount data on-demand

Before, Postman’s spreadsheets were error-prone and outdated; today, the team has a centralized source of accurate, real-time headcount data because TeamOhana integrates with their ATS (Greenhouse) and HRIS (Charthop) and replaced their hiring spreadsheet. 

This means that the Talent team doesn’t have to update hiring tracker spreadsheets as roles are filled – updates happen in TeamOhana automatically as offers are created and new hires are added to the HRIS. Pavan’s team can focus on hiring via Greenhouse, while TeamOhana pulls over all relevant hiring data for Finance and Hiring Managers. 

This shift addressed the inefficiencies that Pavan’s team faced daily. They no longer need to consult multiple systems and spreadsheets to review changes and make updates. They use TeamOhana as their single source of truth for headcount. 

In addition, Yatin and the Finance team can access accurate headcount forecasts in TeamOhana rather than rely on inaccurate spreadsheet data.

Centralized approval process

Another significant stride for Postman was the overhaul of the approval process. TeamOhana introduced them to centralized approval workflows, a game-changer for recruiters. Instead of trying to track approvals across long message threads, which delays and confuses the hiring process, recruiters only work on roles that are assigned to them in TeamOhana, which can only be done once the right people approve a role.  

“There is zero opportunity for someone to submit an unapproved job in TeamOhana because every new request enters the approval workflow, and I can’t even assign a recruiter to work on it until it is approved and ready to be hired.” –Pavan Chatlapalli, Talent Acquisition Leader

A strict approval workflow also guarantees adherence to the process, meaning no unapproved or unplanned hires. Approvers can see the contextual details of every headcount request: 

  • Where does the new headcount fit in the overall org design? (e.g. team, reporting line, etc.)
  • How do total compensation and target start date affect the budget?
  • Location? Level? Job title? 

This level of detail and context also provided significant relief to Yatin’s Finance team. 

"I can see all the activity leading up to a headcount request on a req-by-req basis." –Yatin Mody, Head of Strategic Finance

When a new request for a Sales Engineer is submitted, Yatin can see all approved hires for the Sales organization and identify potential mismatches before they become reality. Postman can make better headcount decisions with such organizational insights.

Fostering organizational harmony

A key aspect of Postman’s transformation was establishing what they termed 'organizational harmony.' TeamOhana’s structured and transparent system facilitates a balanced approach to hiring and resource allocation. 

“We’re not a company that wants to solve our problems by adding more headcount. If you need to, of course. But it should be thoroughly vetted, it should be thoughtful, and people should be aligned. TeamOhana forces us to plan and hire in that way.” –Pavan Chatlapalli, Talent Acquisition Leader

In other words, TeamOhana brings discipline and rigor to a previously chaotic process. This was a critical shift from the previous state of misalignment and played a vital role in aligning departmental needs with available resources, leading to a more streamlined operation.

Key workflows

Approval Desk

Rather than rely on back-and-forth email chains, Postman now uses the TeamOhana approval desk. The platform’s powerful process orchestration streamlines complex cross-functional approvals to eliminate unplanned and unapproved headcount. Every headcount includes a detailed audit trail so no information is ever lost.

1-click job creation in Greenhouse

Thanks to TeamOhana’s integration with Greenhouse, Pavan’s recruiting team can see all approved roles assigned to them and open jobs directly into the ATS without any duplicative work. All job details, descriptions, and compensation are automatically transferred over. As hiring progresses, TeamOhana pulls in updates so that hiring managers and Finance folks have complete visibility.

Hiring Tracker – not in spreadsheets

Postman’s Talent team no longer needs to update a hiring tracker spreadsheet manually. It is synced with the Greenhouse and Charthop for real-time status updates when jobs are opened, offers sent, start dates changed, and offers accepted. In addition, Postman can now offer visibility into the hiring plan to anyone who wants it, without concern for exposing sensitive information or giving uncontrolled edit access to a spreadsheet. Access control is built into TeamOhana directly. 

Impact & results

Today, Pavan’s email inbox isn’t empty, but much less cluttered with headcount approvals. The daily grind of managing unwieldy spreadsheets and disjointed approval chains has been replaced by a streamlined, efficient process. He and his team can focus on strategic talent acquisition rather than administrative busywork. 

“The role-based permission controls and the integration into Greenhouse make using TeamOhana simple and effective." –Pavan Chatlapalli, Talent Acquisition Leader

Yatin and the Finance team also realized increased efficiency with the centralized approval workflow, as well as greater control of org design, maintaining balance within the company. 

“I was spending a lot of time relying on spreadsheets that were unreliable and inaccurate, and TeamOhana solved it.” –Yatin Mody, Head of Strategic Finance

As a result, Postman achieved 'organizational harmony' and saw a considerable improvement in resource allocation and budget adherence. 

The shift to a more structured and transparent system catalyzed a positive transformation across the company, setting a new standard for operational excellence and laying a robust foundation for future growth and innovation in Postman's journey.

Replaced spreadsheets

  • Single source of truth for all current and future headcount data
  • 100% compliance in budget-impacting changes going through TeamOhana Approval Desk
  • Collaborative platform for all stakeholders

Time and resource savings

  • Save 20 hours monthly on updating job postings and managing headcount approvals, plus additional time saved on job requisition management
  • 50% productivity gains through standardized workflows and a single source of truth for headcount
  • 50% reduction in low-value work managing headcount

Trustworthy data

  • More deliberate and informed hiring decisions led to a more balanced and effective organizational structure.
  • Fully automated budget and forecast for finance and budget owners
  • Real-time hiring plan status for budget owners
  • 100% reduction in manual reporting on budget vs. actuals
monthly hours saved
reduction in low-value work

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