Talmetrix is a Cincy-based employee research feedback and insights company. Cincinnati Future had the opportunity to speak to its CEO, Chris Powell, and its COO, Jason Ruebel, about the company.

What does Talmetrix do?

Chris: We help companies capture, aggregate, and transform employee and organizational data into insights and intelligence. This helps to improve retention, engagement, culture, inclusion, and performance. As a consulting services firm, we’ve worked with some big companies in Cincinnati, such as Procter & Gamble, Macy’s, and Kroger.

We help them develop engagement and retention strategies for their college new hires they recruited to Cincy. We help those employees get embedded into work with their companies but also help them get embedded in their community.

What’s the background of the company?

Chris: The company has gone through a couple of iterations since it launched in 2009. Chris Ostoich, who started the business, was really big on engaging employees who were new to the city because he himself was a transplant to Cincinnati. He wanted to help others do that as well so he launched the company as Black Book HR.

He got his first capital investment from CincyTech and that allowed the company to start developing cloud-based solutions to help drive that engagement. In 2016, the company name was changed to Talmetrix to better reflect our market offering (Talent+Metrics). CincyTech is still an investor in the current-day company and has a representative seat on the board of directors.

Chris, how did you come to be the company’s CEO? And Jason, what’s your background?

Chris: Prior to joining the company in 2014, I spent 20+ years as an HR leader and executive at companies like Deloitte, Marriott, and Scripps Network Interactive.

Jason: I have 20+ years of experience scaling high-growth organizations in pharma/biotech, manufacturing, consumer packaged goods, durable goods, QSR, retail, and healthcare.

 What advantages and disadvantages do you see having the company here as opposed to areas like Silicon Valley and New York City?

Jason: The advantages are that we have a really strong startup community and startup network. There are a lot of resources available for support. Everybody is trying to help everybody succeed vs. trying to undercut each other.

Another advantage is access to talent at a much-reduced cost vs. the coasts. A disadvantage is that the talent pool isn’t as deep as you’d find in Silicon Valley.

How has COVID affected your operations and how have you pivoted?

Chris: We took a hit as our clients took a hit. We had to step up our game even more on innovation. With COVID and the social justice movement, there are a whole lot of new factors influencing work. We had to adjust what we sell and how we market it. It helps us think innovatively about product and how to deliver it. We’re not putting our head in the sand.