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Hiring app aims to manage the risk of bad picks

Cynthia Bent Findlay
Jody Shaffer, Portal Green

With dire times in the hospitality industry, many restaurants and hotels are experiencing turnover and as a result are hiring. Local startup Portal Green has been innovating tech solutions to make that process smoother.

CEO Jody Shaffer, co-founder Michael Delanty, and Portal Green’s other board members bring backgrounds in human resources, service and law. They saw a niche in helping clients with affordable, no-nonsense tech tools to help them navigate the often-rough waters of hiring and employment.

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Portal Green’s goal is to eventually offer a complete suite of risk management tools, from hiring onward, to manage risk in employing an entry-level crew.

The company decided to start with a pre-employment integrity assessment tool, filling a need for the service industry.

Personality assessments aren’t new, but they’re not a dime a dozen. They’re mainly aimed at corporate-level jobs. Shaffer says most on the market are too expensive and time consuming for a crew-level hire such as a fast casual restaurant or a hotel cleaning shift.

But such a tool can measure the quality and fit of new hires, saving time and training dollars lost to crew picks that go bad.

“A lot of literature suggests a correlation between integrity assessments and core characteristics like reliability and conscientiousness. The indirect result is decreased turnover and increased productivity,” Shaffer says.

Her company’s prototype tool was vetted extensively with University of Michigan researchers for both validity and to make sure it is not discriminatory against vulnerable groups. It was built as a fast process that’s easy for managers to understand.

Pricing is on a subscription model per location and size of business rather than per test.

Portal Green launched in January 2019 and spent the first year serving beta customers around the country, evaluating data with them and moving them into a more regular paying customer mode when Covid-19 hit.

As the pandemic shut down hiring, Portal Green pivoted to serve an urgent need for health screening. By the beginning of May, it launched S.A.F.E. for Work, a quick, easy to use, web-based health screening tool with a crew-level focus.

S.A.F.E. for Work asks for self-reporting of symptoms and potential Covid-19 exposures before every shift. There are a slew of competitors, but Shaffer says Portal Green is simpler and offers the benefit of not being tied to health care or insurance systems.

Portal Green has grown its number of customer locations and revenue over the past year. It’s hoping to focus on entry into home health services in the coming year.

Portal Green

PortalGreen.com

CEO and co-founder: Jody Shaffer

Business: HR risk management tools

Investment: Early-stage funding from Rev1 Ventures, amount undisclosed