Muxu.Muxu discovers the world of Payroll and HR with Margaux Lajouanie of PayFit

Margaux Lajouanie, custodian of PayFit’s image and values, recounts her experiences as brand and content manager within the company that has revolutionised payroll and HR processes. It is with great pride that we feature our collaboration with Margaux and PayFit in this article.

What is your professional background and your formal education?
I studied law at undergraduate level. I found it a bit too theoretical for my taste, so I went to business school in Rouen where I got a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship.

What personal and professional projects had you worked on before getting the job at PayFit?
After doing a range of internships, I quickly realised that I wanted to work in a startup, where things moved fast. When I was working in somewhat more traditional companies, I was very quickly frustrated by the fact that things moved very slowly. Dealing with the hierarchies at play meant we lost a lot of time, and it was pretty disheartening. After my studies I had my first professional experience in an American startup called Hotel Tonight, where I was account manager. I enjoyed that very much. Now, it’s been a year and a half since I joined the PayFit adventure, initially as content manager.

What is PayFit? Can you tell us a bit about the company?
PayFit is a solution that automates and facilitates the management of payroll and HR. It facilitates the life of entrepreneurs, CEOs, finance and administration managers, and managers generally, by automating tasks related to payroll, social security declarations, expense accounts or the number of hours worked, thanks to a really intuitive tool that is simple and fast to use. PayFit lets these people concentrate on the tasks that create real value. Tasks such as payroll management take up a crazy amount of time, and are not always the most intellectually stimulating.

What are you working on at the moment? What does your position involve?
I initially joined the adventure as content manager. When I arrived at PayFit, there were only 7 of us — now there are 80. We were working in a small apartment by Montmartre, and I used to make my calls from the bathroom! Of course, that was the very early days. My role was to create a good base of content relating to the product, that is to say about the topics of HR and payroll more generally. As soon as more than a couple of lines were needed, it was me who wrote the content — for blog articles, client newsletters, interviews, newsletters for leads, email strategies, ads. Then somebody joined the marketing team, and took the lead on the acquisition side of things so that I could concentrate on the content. My role today is more generalist. I handle brand and content. That means ensuring that the image of PayFit is always the best, and producing quality content that will enable us to acquire new clients. The sales and acquisitions team then uses the content that I produce to attract new customers, to sell PayFit and to demonstrate that it’s the best payroll solution on the French market today.

Do you work remotely sometimes?
We can work remotely when we want to. For example, when I need to write the fundamental ideas for a large project, it’s nice to be able to work from home and in a calm environment. But it’s good to be at the office too, to be at the center of the action.

What does your typical day look like as brand-content manager?
I work on a wide range of subjects, with many different teams within PayFit — the blog, social networks, newsletters, product marketing, all the content for PayFit’s online support, client and press interviews, the list goes on. One day is always different to the next, and that’s what I really love about my job.

What tools do you use?
We use Slack a lot. We use the note-taking tool Slite quite a bit, to share notes across the entire team. We use Trello to manage projects within the marketing team. We also use Hubspot for our CRM marketing, to manage the sending of newsletters and our social networks.

What have been the biggest challenges you have faced so far? How did you overcome them?
I tried to remember the problems I’ve encountered over the last year and a half and, in truth, I don’t think I have encountered any! I’m very lucky! PayFit is growing very quickly; we’re still learning lots of new things every day and I can feel that I have progressed enormously over the last 18 months because, right from the start, I was trusted to do my job. The difficulty is perhaps starting from scratch on various subjects, but that’s also part of the fun! That’s part of the pleasure I take in my work and not something I view as a difficulty that I encounter.

What has helped you most in your work at PayFit?
Something that has motivated me since my first day at PayFit is that I really believed in the project from the outset. There is a huge need for what we are providing, and enormous potential. It’s really a solution that can be useful in everyday life and which can help a great number of people to save time. Payroll is a real headache for many people: I studied labour law, so I know only too well just how over-complicated the French system is. A payslip in the States is 2 lines long — in France, it’s 40 lines! So there was clearly a need for an automated solution. I also know about myself that I am much more comfortable selling a product that I truly believe in. The team is also the best. The founders are brilliant; even though things are working well and there are now 80 of us, they still keep their feet on the ground and continue to be very inspiring people. That is really very important. I understood quickly that they wanted to preserve our team spirit and strong company culture at PayFit. When I wake up in the morning, I feel as though I am going to work with my friends rather than with colleagues.

Now that the team has grown, I imagine that you have become a manager or team leader. How has your role evolved?
I am actually in a transition phase right now. Until a few months ago, there were only two of us in the marketing team. It’s the team that has grown the least quickly. We divided the marketing department into two: content and acquisition. For my part, I manage the brand and content side of things. There is now someone who works with me, but we are recruiting another four people to my team: a content manager, a press relations, a product marketing manager, a community manager and a brand designer.
So my role will evolve, and will become more strategy-oriented, to transmit the PayFit vision.

How you organize yourself when it comes to recruitment to ensure that you pass on the company’s culture and ensure that future colleagues are well integrated?
We have a pretty well-established process in place, which works well. Initially, it is me who makes the first calls and meets new leads. From time to time, I’ll send candidates a small test to work on. If all goes well, the candidate will come to our offices to meet Amandine from HR. She is really the one who is responsible for PayFit’s company culture. She’ll talk to them about the company’s values; how things work here; our mentality; what is important for us. I will then see the candidate again, and we’ll talk about the details of the position together. Depending on the position in question, the candidate will also meet with someone from the marketing or product teams, and one of the three founders.
Each Wednesday evening, we hold what we call the “barbecue test” (even if there isn’t always a barbecue). It’s an opportunity to have a few relaxed drinks in our offices with all the candidates who are currently in the recruitment pipe. We want as many PayFit employees as possible to meet and talk to the candidates. Our aim here is to decide whether we would be happy to work with the candidate in question on a daily basis. The barbecue test can be very revealing: sometimes candidates who get as far as this round in the recruitment process are not taken on in the end, because we feel they might struggle to integrate. We feel very strongly that it’s important to be able to say, I could go for a beer with any one of my colleagues and be able to spend 2 hours with them without talking about work. If I can imagine myself going for a drink with this person, and talking about a whole load of things, that means that I would be happy to work with them.

What advice would you give to anyone hoping to do your job?
It’s really important to believe in the project. Otherwise it will be difficult to go the extra mile. I would also say that it’s important to be able to take a step back and put things into perspective. In a job like mine, you need to be able to demonstrate a great deal of creativity all the time, and to be able to bounce off a range of subjects. You can’t do that if you have your head too close to the grindstone.

Interview realized by Floriane Fontaine & reread by Emily Fiennes for Muxu.Muxu.