Trusaic: This Company Enables Pay Gap Monitoring In Over A $20 Billion Market

By Amit Chowdhry ● Jan 9, 2024

Trusaic is a company that believes regulations can be an opportunity to demonstrate transparency and integrity to employees and prospects, cultivate a fairer environment, and create a stronger enterprise. Pulse 2.0 interviewed Trusaic founder and CEO Robert Sheen to learn more about the company.

Robert Sheen’s Background

Robert Sheen

Trusaic was inspired by Sheen’s experiences as an immigrant child who came to America from South Korea in the 1970s. And Sheen said:

“My family moved to the Los Angeles area. I witnessed and experienced discrimination throughout my life, which would come to influence the work that I do today.”

“After earning a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California and a J.D. from Loyola Law School, I began my career at KPMG, where I specialized in corporate reorganization, mergers and acquisitions, and multi-state tax product development and implementation. In 1998, I joined BDO Seidman in Los Angeles and led the company’s state and local tax practice. In 1999, I founded First Capitol Consulting, specializing in tax credits, data solutions, and quality of the workplace.”

“In 2004, I raised $19.6 million in starting capital to launch U.S. Metro Bank, which was a disruptor in the field of mobile banking. I served as Vice Chair of the Board of U.S. Metro Bank until 2013. In 2006, I also developed TaxAdvantage in partnership with Intuit, which provided tax-centric data solutions for Intuit’s Employment Management Service’s 1.4 million customers.”

“I’m a member of the California State Bar. I have served as a member of the National Advisory Board for the Asian American Justice Center. I am a former President of the Korean American Bar Association. I’m also a former trustee for the USC Pacific Asia Museum, a former board member for MTV’s Rock the Vote, and was honored as a Man of L.A. by The Women’s Foundation.”

Formation Of Trusaic

How did the idea for Trusaic come together? Sheen shared:

“My life experience and life’s work helping businesses with tax issues in the workplace laid the groundwork for the creation of Trusaic and the company’s eventual expansion in areas such as the Affordable Care Act and pay equity.”

“When I was at KPMG and BDO, working on multi-state tax product development and implementation (among other things), I realized that only the biggest organizations were getting tax credits. I worked to help mid-sized and smaller companies receive tax credits as well, helping to level the playing field. I ended up having more power of attorney than anyone in California at the time and helped many businesses get tax credits they deserved.”

“This helped disadvantaged workers get jobs because the government was encouraging workers to hire people who typically might have a hard time getting work (e.g., ex-felons, disabled veterans). Hiring and retaining an employee who may typically have a hard time getting work would result in a tax benefit to the company and a leg up for the employee and anyone relying on that employee’s income.”

“This is similar to the recent employee retention tax benefits that were established during the pandemic. If you were loyal to your employees during such a crisis, your company would receive a tax break for helping keep employees’ salaries, benefits, and lives stable in the face of the crisis.  My company now helps organizations navigate compliance laws and regulations with regard to pay equity, helping them level the playing field for their employees and do the right thing while also complying with the law.”

Favorite Memory

What has been your favorite memory working for the company so far? Sheen reflected:

“One of the most memorable moments during my time at Trusaic was when we achieved a significant milestone with our pay equity product. At Trusaic, we don’t just tackle challenging problems; we delve deep and strive to offer superior solutions. This dedication becomes especially rewarding when the market recognizes the value we bring.”

“When we successfully secured our first Fortune 500 client for our pay equity product, it served as a powerful validation for our entire team. It highlighted the intelligence and effectiveness of our pay equity solution. This achievement underscored that our tireless efforts were aligning perfectly with the market’s needs at that particular juncture. It was a moment of immense pride and affirmation for our commitment to excellence.”

Core Products

What are the company’s core products and features? Sheen explained:

“We have several products with one common thread: they all use best-in-class technology and data analysis to make the workplace equitable for everyone. Our flagship product is PayParity, which allows our clients on-demand pay equity analytics and continuous pay gap monitoring so they can comply with new laws and do what’s right for their employees.”

“We have supplemental products that work with PayParity, such as Salary Range Finder, which allows organizations to confidently share salary ranges in job postings to ensure fair pay from the start, and OpportunityParity, which offers organizations opportunity analytics in hiring, promotion, and retention activities to find the hidden and subtle equity issues happening in their organizations.”

Challenges Faced

Have you faced any specific obstacles in your sector of work recently? Sheen acknowledged:

“Our main challenge is continually keeping up with new laws and evolving pay equity regulations around the world, so we can be a trusted real-time resource for our clients. To meet this obligation and live up to this challenge, we employ a regulatory compliance department that works full-time to make sure we know about, understand, and translate these global regulations in order to quickly create and evolve meaningful software that makes it simple for our clients to comply.”

Evolution Of Trusaic’s Technology

How has Trusaic’s technology evolved since launching? Sheen noted:

“Our solution and software development process at Trusaic is very rigorous. We involve experts, HR leaders, and practitioners from around the world in our product development process. Our comprehensive process ensures that when we bring a product to market, it meets their needs and goes above and beyond. We also listen to the voices of our clients. This input is incredibly valuable to us as it enables us to make necessary improvements. Our products evolve to meet client needs. And we will continue to evolve and make our products the best…we never settle for anything less than perfection.”

Significant Milestones

What have been some of the company’s most significant milestones? Sheen cited:

“Each time we are able to bring a new solution to market is a big milestone for us. First, it helped with tax credits for smaller companies, showing that we can offer value in this way. Then, it was our success in helping companies comply with and navigate the Affordable Care Act when that law passed and was implemented. And, most recently, it has been our ability to bring a successful pay equity solution to market and seeing immense success.”

Customer Success Stories 

After asking Sheen about customer success stories, he highlighted:

“We work with a diverse set of organizations, although many don’t necessarily want to go public with the specifics of their pay equity efforts. I can share a couple of great examples, though… Boston Beer and Mother Jones. These companies used our software and worked their way through the pay equity audit process. They each learned the baseline of where they stood with pay equity when they first engaged our services and then created plans to address any issues.”

“It’s been great to watch these organizations, as well as our other clients, make a long-term commitment to their pay equity journeys and do it right. They are having great success and gaining all the benefits of pay equity. Not only are they complying with the law, but the trust is increased, and the transparency is there so their employees know that they are being treated fairly.”

“Trusaic helped Boston Beer achieve ongoing monitoring of pay equity, which is critical for maintaining an equitable workplace. We helped wrangle Boston Beer’s employment data—an extremely complex data set due to the company’s many unique roles—while also applying our expertise to interpret the data in order to identify a pragmatic approach to close any workforce gaps over time. Trusaic’s dashboards help Boston Beer identify whether any pay inequity exists within its organization so the company can remediate any pay disparities. By ensuring they have fair pay, Boston Beer is organically promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion.”

“Mother Jones is a nonprofit that uses ADP Workforce Now to manage payroll and HR for its 85-employee workforce. Through our PayParity product, we were able to help Mother Jones evaluate their pay equity status and meet their fair pay objectives.”

Funding/Revenue

After asking Sheen about the company’s funding and revenue information, he revealed:

“We are a privately owned company, owned by me (Robert Sheen) and our employees. We are debt free and haven’t taken on any outside funding. We’re not a big company but we are growing quickly. We have about 160 employees and independent contractors throughout the world. Our leadership is diverse; I’m of Asian descent and Trusaic’s CFO is also. In addition, two-thirds of our C-suite are female.”

“We try to embody the fairness that we also encourage through our product offerings. In fact, we are a California “Equal Pay Champion” and were one of the earliest companies in the state to take the Equal Pay Pledge, which states that we agree to conduct an annual, company-wide gender pay analysis, review hiring and promotion procedures to reduce unconscious bias and structural barriers, and promote best practices to close the pay gap.”

“We attract great people because we have a great mission that they too believe in. The growth we’re experiencing and our ability to make a real difference in the world comes directly from the passion, dedication, and intelligence of our people.”

Total Addressable Market

What total addressable market (TAM) size is the company pursuing? Sheen assessed:

“The pay equity TAM is very large because virtually every company needs this help.”

“According to Fortune Business Insights, the global human resource (HR) technology market alone is projected to grow from $23.98 billion in 2022 to $39.90 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 7.5%. And based on a recent report by Mercer, 82% of companies want to target pay equity as part of the compensation strategy.”

Differentiation From The Competition

What differentiates the company from its competition? Sheen affirmed:

“We stand out from our competition because we approach problems in the most comprehensive way possible, leveraging what we refer to as the triangle of trust…regulatory expertise, analytics, and data. By prioritizing these three pillars, we achieve the best outcomes for our clients. We support our products with stellar client service. In fact, we’re proud to have a 75 Net Promoter (NPS) customer satisfaction and loyalty score, which is considered world-class client service.”

“We’re also one of a few organizations in the world that does a true intersectional pay equity analysis. Pay inequity can be the worst at the intersections of race/gender (a Hispanic female, for example). If you only do a binary analysis, you’re grossly underestimating the problem.”

“We provide our analysis on demand for our clients, so they know, in near real time, if they are complying.”

“We know the pitfalls of workforce data, which can be raw data and a bit messy. We have patented the Workforce Analytics Machine (WAM), which identifies data issues often present within our clients’ raw data to ensure that they have high-quality data going into their analysis. WAM analyzes and cleans HR data using machine learning and artificial intelligence, supported by our patented technology. WAM incorporates 24 years of experience and is the result of our ability to identify the issues in workforce data we know drive risk and penalties.  Other solutions can ‘manage’ compliance, but without clean data, they can never eliminate risk the way we do.”

Future Company Goals

What are some of the company’s future company goals? Sheen pointed out:

“Trusaic’s future goal is to help build better workplaces, so our clients can have better and more equitable businesses. We’ll continue to do what we’ve been doing, which is to strive to make the world’s workplaces live up to what we believe is a freedom evolution. Freedom is equality… being treated equally as an employee and as a human being is what it takes to truly be free.”

“We will continue to create solutions to answer any future workplace equality issues to help the employees and the employers that want to do better by them. We’re also committed to helping companies stay ahead of any future compliance laws and regulations.”

Additional Thoughts

Any other topics to discuss? Sheen concluded:

“We have so many exciting things happening. We just partnered with workplace intelligence firm Revelio Labs, to create a Shadow Workforce Research Report, which focuses on the pay practices surrounding the contingent workforce in the tech industry.”

“We found some interesting stats in the state of pay for these workers. For instance, those in contract science and engineering roles in the technology industry make on average $102,650, which is 10% lower than the $114,514 that regular employees in science and engineering roles are paid. The science and engineering field also remains male dominated in both the contingent and regular employee workforces; with nearly three-quarters of this category (71%) being men.”

“We also have a new Global Pay Day Reporting Guide that anyone can download to understand the current state of pay data reporting regulations in their area and around the world.”

“I’m also excited to announce the recent appointment of eminent pay equity expert Gail Greenfield as our Executive Vice President of Pay Equity and Total Rewards Strategy and Solutions. Gail, who was most recently the U.S. Pay Equity Program Director at Oracle, is one of the country’s foremost authorities on pay equity, with more than 20 years of experience helping organizations develop evidence-based strategies to create more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforces. We’re really looking forward to building an even better working world with Gail’s expertise guiding our way.”