This week was the end of a long journey, and beginning of a new one for Eric Mosley. Over 21 years, with little fuss or fanfare, the 49-year-old Dubliner has built an extraordinary business worth more than $1 billion.

Mosley and his team of 700 people, has built a sophisticated software platform that helps businesses build cultures of gratitude and human connection. The result is a happier workforce that works harder, better and sticks around. Called Workhuman, the company now joins a select pantheon of Irish tech businesses to achieve unicorn status. In a revealing interview, Mosley explains how he did it and what comes next.


Eric Mosley dials into our call exactly on time at 1.15pm on Wednesday. It is less than 24 hours after his business announced that Intermediate Capital Group, a London-based investor, had spent $120 million to buy 10 per cent of the firm he co-founded.  

Mosley is calling from his home in Sutton in North County Dublin. He is back in Ireland, having returned recently from his other home in Boston. He is in the middle of a two-week quarantine to ensure he has not caught Covid-19 en route. So, meeting up for even a socially distant coffee is impossible.

Mosley founded his business in 1999, a year or two before I began working in business journalism. I have never written about it before, however.

The company is not reclusive, but it does not court publicity either. It has received a handful of mentions in the Irish press over the years.  But internationally, it is a big deal. Google Workhuman and you will find a thriving pool of content, and over 1 million results. Salma Hayek, Michelle Obama, George Clooney and Michael J Fox have all spoken at its events, back when people still attended such things.

So how, under the radar in its home country, has Workhuman become a $1 billion business? “We have been very much heads down in the HR world especially in the US,” Mosley replies.

“I would be guilty of not putting enough energy into building our profile in the Irish market.”

“It is literally because we were hugely focused on winning sales and building customers on a global scale. For a long time the market was the HR community in the US. However, in the last few years that has started to work against us as we are hiring a massive amount of people in Ireland. So now we are investing in our profile.

“We are one of the most successful tech companies in Irish history, so we want to ensure people understand that, as we want to attract the best people to work with us.”

Workhuman, he said, was now competing with household names and big brands for talent.

From helping companies build their own cultural story, it is now ready to tell its own.


Workhuman has come a long way since a 28-year old Mosley co-founded the business with Eddie Reynolds in 1999. Back then Mosley had an engineering degree from Trinity College Dublin and two years’ experience working with Reynolds in a tiny tech firm called CSK Software.

The first iteration of Workhuman was called GloboGift. It was the peak of the tech bubble when companies were promising to revolutionise everything and anything.

In GloboGift’s case, the idea was to develop software that would allow, for example, a Macy’s customer in New York purchase a Brown Thomas gift voucher. 

For Reynolds, who was at retirement age, it was a last moonshot. For Mosley, however, it was a first go at being an entrepreneur. They raised €3 million to kick-start things from a group of 20 Irish investors and they were off.

Mosley, then operations director, predicted the business would double in size in six months: from six to 12 employees.

“The website will be marketed in conjunction with the stores worldwide, and we plan to integrate a lot of services that previously would only have been provided on a local level,” he explained at the time.

This business wasn’t a bad idea. It generated cash from the start. So, when other tech-bubble businesses went bust, it could keep going. Reynolds later left the business. Mosley, however, stayed, determined to deliver a new vision, as the business pivoted.

Workhuman was not a world beating idea from day one. But it would get there. 

“In the end we gave those angel investors 100 times their money back.”

Eric Mosley: “We have been cashflow positive for ten years.”

Last year Workhuman quietly hired Morgan Stanley. The prestigious American investment bank began to shop-around a stake in its business. After 21 years, Workhuman felt it was time for a liquidity event to give its early backers, who had been patient for so long, one final payday. Many of them were in their 60s, or even 70s, so a last exit made sense.

As the process heated up at the start of 2020, it became “quite competitive,” according to Mosley.

“We had about 20 investors from an early seed round who had never really had the opportunity to sell their shares,” he said.

For a moment, the world of dealmaking paused. But for Workhuman, it took off.

Workhuman, he explained, was in an unusual situation. It had been profitable for a number of years so it didn’t do the usual thing of raising more money every few years, a move that would have given early backers a chance to sell out or be diluted.

Instead, this group of angels stayed with the business, retaining a significant stake.

“We have been cashflow positive for ten years,” Mosley said. This was not to say the early investors had not made many times their money from dividends and other distributions. But it was time for the big payday.

However, as a deal was about to close, Covid-19 caused the world’s financial markets to go into lockdown. Some investors drew back, as they scrambled to sort out other investments. Others called a halt to everything.

For a moment, the world of dealmaking paused. But for Workhuman, it took off.

“Our underlying business was exploding,” Mosley said. “If you just take April, which was the first month of the real lockdown, our business grew 40 per cent year-over-year in April,” Mosley said.

“For a company that last year did $585m in revenue to grow 40 per cent in that month year-over-year showed there was a huge amount of interest in our platform and the concept of appreciation in organisations.”

The world of work was changing fast, and Workhuman’s customers realised that the company provided a way to bring company culture out of the office into the home.

Everyone was under pressure, and Workhuman provided a way for companies to build teams by allowing them to show appreciation online, rather than in the flesh. “We were seeing huge companies turning their businesses on a dime, and we could help them respond,” Mosley said.

Cisco, one of its biggest clients, saw its video conferencing division Webex become one of the most used products in the world. “We have a lot of pharmaceutical companies too,” Mosley added. “Four out of the five vaccine contenders are Workhuman customers.”

“Another customer is Procter and Gamble. It has 100,000 employees all over the world making things like cleaning products and toilet rolls. They had to ask their employees to put in an extra effort as these were vital supplies.”

“All these companies wanted to reward their employees and thank them, so we just saw the use of our platform explode across the board.”

Mosley said many good businesses had been impacted badly by Covid-19, but Workhuman was fortunate not to have been. Like Zoom and Slack, the crisis had caused an acceleration of adoption for Workhuman. 

“It is a testament to the concept and our mission which is to bring humanity to the workplace and recognising and appreciating employees,” Mosley said. “In a crisis, every one of your employees is worried. There is despair. Sometimes great sacrifice.”

“If you are a company with 200 or 200,000 people, you are facing the same problems. A product suite like ours helps galvanise the workforce. Helping people recognise one another for the work they are doing, helps build deeper relationships and make more agile businesses.”

As a result, as other private equity deals either disappeared or price-chipped, the valuation of Workhuman stayed rock solid.

“There was a lot of fear in the world,” Mosley said. “It was surreal to close a transaction in lockdown. We could see a lot of other transactions being shelved, but this was one deal where there was continued interest. Our growth was actually increasing during that period.”

The investors who backed Workhuman over two decades ago were about to get one of the largest returns in Irish corporate history.

“In the end, we gave those angel investors 100 times their money back [including dividends over the years]. They were unbelievably patient, and they did have to wait a long time!” he laughed. 

“The Workhuman concept works no matter what size you are.”

In the post Covid-19 world, Workhuman finds itself more important to its customers. “There are no water coolers now for people to have serendipitous conversations around how things are going,” Mosley explained.

“A lot of companies realised they desperately needed something like Workhuman.”

Eric Mosley

Workhuman has given away some of its best products for free since the start of Covid-19, including Moodtracker, a popular survey tool to help companies track underlying engagement by employees. 

Mosley said Workhuman was committed to maintaining Moodtracker as a free service but admits that once a company starts using its free products, it may well start to look at its paid ones.

“We hope you will look at other solutions in the future, but you don’t have to,” Mosley said.

In the first half of this year, an additional 300,000 employees started using Workhuman. It now has five million people on its platform, more than the population of the Republic of Ireland.

It has huge customers like Eaton, a New York listed power management giant with revenues of over $20 billion, LinkedIn, the professional networking company bought for $26 billion by Microsoft, and P&G, the consumer brand king with almost 100,000 employees.

But its client base is across all-sorts of firms from mid-sized down to start-ups.

“In the first half of this year we have signed contracts worth another $50 million of new business from new customers,” Mosley said, adding that Covid-19 had accelerated the sales process for Workhuman – from companies thinking about it, to just doing it. 

“What has happened in the crisis is sales have got compacted,” Mosley said. “A lot of companies realised they desperately needed something like Workhuman.”

Its core remains the US, but it is now targeting Europe more.

“The market in the US is more disposed to investing in culture and making sure employees are engaged, happy and energised. Europe has started to catch up in terms of acceptance by companies of next generation tools to galvanise their workforce,” he said.

“In the last two to three years some of our biggest customer wins have come from Europe and the UK, especially northern Europe. It is very gratifying, and I think that trend will continue.

“We were very focused on big global companies with large workforces but now we are seeing midmarket and even SMEs which is a huge focus for us. The Workhuman concept works no matter what size you are. We are investing in growing each tier of company, in terms of size, and we are seeing that beginning to bear fruit.”


Eric Mosley on Workhuman and diversity

“Workhuman is about treating employees like human beings and being progressive and inclusive. Companies that care about these topics tend to gravitate towards us and what we provide. Chief diversity officers are starting to look at the drumbeat of recognition as an inclusivity pulse. They are looking at whether there is a difference between how different segments of their employee base are being treated or recognised? For example, women often receive a higher quantity of rewards from others, but less value for each reward. That tells us that women do a lot of work but are undervalued. When you analyse the data you see these subtle but definite trends around gender and race distributions of value and gratitude in a workplace. Progressive companies think this is fantastic as we can let them see it and measure it. It is exciting to see companies then do something about it.”


In 2014, Workhuman, then called Globoforce, was reported to be looking at listing on the Nasdaq. The first word of the name of its new investor is Intermediate. Will an IPO come back on the agenda?

“I definitely think ICG would take a long -term view. They don’t do a transaction of this size for a quick return,” Mosley said. “An IPO could be one step in that process.”

“It is not something that is on our agenda for the next 12 months. It is not something we have to do financially. We don’t need capital to invest in the company. We are profitable, highly cash flow positive, so we can continue to invest in our company without doing an IPO.”

“We have grown every year for 20 years. It took us 12 plus years to be a $100 million in revenue a year company. Now we are adding $100m every year,” he said.

Mosley said an IPO was not off the cards, but it was not a main focus. “It doesn’t need to be, but it is something we do evaluate regularly,” he said.

Workhuman admitted it was worth $1 billion this week. But looking at the numbers, was it not there already a few years ago? “Yes. But because we hadn’t taken on any investment, we haven’t had a third party value the company. We felt we would have had a $1 billion valuation a couple of years ago but there was no transaction to verify that.

“We were not on that treadmill of having to raise money every year or two,” he said.

“There are different personalities and that itself can mean that the culture of leadership in the company changes.”

Eric Mosley

Mosley said Workhuman was heading towards $1 billion in sales annually. 

Will it get there in three years? “I would say, yes, most likely. And most likely sooner than that,” Mosley said.

“I am somebody who is a huge believer in the mission of the company. I see the growth. We literally have unlimited opportunity.”

“We can provide a service to every company on earth which is very unique. If you look at other companies, maybe they are in billing software for telecoms or they are in software to help customer service departments. They have to sell to customer service or telecom companies only. We can sell our product to every company that has employees.”

“Workhuman has unlimited potential and to me it is a life’s work situation. As long as I wake up every morning feeling energised by the mission then I am happy to do it. I haven’t paused to take a breath in 20 years! Maybe I will feel differently if I ever do!” he laughed.

Few founders have the ability to lead a business from the hardscrabble of a start-up to becoming a medium-sized business, and on to a very large one.

How has Mosley managed to do it? “I am very much a product and marketing focused CEO,” Mosley said. “For me, the leaders of the companies that can go through transition – and every company pivots over the years – the one thing that is consistent is that you have to able to create your own market and innovate.”

“The hardest thing is the market and the product. Being so focused on that over the years has stuck to me [as CEO]. It is for others to say why that worked! But I have also had a very supportive business team and that is never to be underestimated in any business especially when companies go through iterations and funding rounds.”

“A lot of times what happens is new investors come in with a different set of objectives than the old investors. There are different personalities and that itself can mean that the culture of leadership in the company changes.”

“We haven’t had that because we have been profitable for so long. We haven’t had to change the leadership side. We have had the same support from the same group of people which has been amazing.”

It is however steadily building its team, as its growth continues to accelerate.

“You learn from everybody who joins the company.”

“The fulfilment of this mission and type of work we do is why people like to work for us.”

Workhuman employs 700 people, with 400 in Dublin and 300 in the United States. It is currently hiring 150 people split between Dublin and Boston. In the first six months it hired 100 new people.

Along with new funding, Workhuman also announced three big new hires.

Chris DeMeo left Staples to become Workhuman’s vice-president of customer marketing. Staples is an American office retail sales company best known for its more than 1,000 stores. In 2017 it was bought by Sycamore Partners, and DeMeo was part of the team pushing its fast-growing digital and B2B divisions.

Dr Patti Fletcher is a futurist who joined Workhuman from SAP as vice-president of brand marketing. She has written a bestselling book called ‘Disrupters: Success strategies from women who break the mould.’ Jason Griggs has come on board as senior vice president of global sales, after spending a decade at Workday.

Most of Workhuman’s senior team have been with the business for years. “One thing that is unusual is the longevity of our executives,” Mosley said. “They tend to stay with us a lot longer than normal high growth companies. That is part of our culture.”

Workhuman’s chief financial officer Steve Cromwell has worked with the business since 2005. Its CTO Jonathan Hyland has been there since 2001. Jim O’Dea, vice president of operations, joined in 2011. Lauren Zajac, its chief legal officer, has been with it 12 years.

“The timetable for returns becomes a serious topic because everyone is going to see dilution if more money has to be raised.”

Eric Mosley

Mosley does not buy into the cult of the CEO. “It is not about anyone heroic individual. It is the blend of everyone that is key,” he said. “It is like a sports team. You won’t win even with the best player in the world if the team is not right.

“You learn from everybody who joins the company. You need to bring on people who have experiences that you don’t have.”

“Our team gets to work with the best technology. It is a global platform working with five million employees. It is building relationships with those employees, affecting them emotionally and helping create amazing cultures.

“The fulfilment of this mission and type of work we do is why people like to work for us.”

“You are constantly trying to move the company in a new direction.”

Workhuman, according to Mosley, was also lucky with its board. Barry Maloney, the former chief executive of Esat Digifone who set up Benchmark’s European business, has sat on the board of the business for 19 years. Benchmark, which later became Balderton, was one of Workhuman’s earliest investors.

“Barry has been a phenomenal support and helped guide the company,” Mosley said. “He continues to be a buyer of shares in Workhuman even after all these years because the investment case only gets better.”

“A team dynamic where you have individuals in it for the long haul is what creates real long term success. When people come in with short term agendas that is when things start to go awry.”

Mosley said Workhuman was lucky in the support it got from its investors. “What investors and shareholders in Workhuman saw over the last 20 years was a company that continuously kept growing and moving into a new phase of higher growth and higher scale.”

“Success was very visible to them. They were quite happy to be patient. We have had a unique set of investors and board members over the years. That stability has seen us through undulations in the world economy and different phases of the company allowing us to keep growing.”

“What tends to happen especially in the technology world, when you are not profitable and pursuing growth at all costs and incurring huge losses, investors have a very different mindset,” he explained.

“The timetable for returns becomes a serious topic because everyone is going to see dilution if more money has to be raised.”

“When investors know they are not going to be diluted. They are going to earn money from dividends… They tend to have a much more stable outlook on the future. That is not to say they didn’t put any pressure on, they did.”

“But it was unusual that growth kept accelerating. The past eight years have just been an unbelievable time for the company and also a recognition that the concept that underlines our mission has actually become part of the zeitgeist in the world of business and how corporate cultures are created.

“When you start to see you have created a market and that that is bigger than the company then you tend to want to stick around.”

How did Mosley know to pivot from gift vouchers to something much bigger?

“We were lucky in that our customers through all of that period were also innovative companies who were using our offering in new ways,” Mosley said. “We got to learn from great customers about how they were using our platform and we were able to start to be creative and innovative ourselves.”

“It wasn’t a hard decision to change as our customers were also leading us there. As a company innovation is one of our core values. We feel we are in constant pivot mode. As a company every year we reinvent ourselves and that is something that all companies that want to continue to be relevant have to do.”

“They all have to be pointing in the right direction, and that is the lifelong struggle for any leader. That is where success is.”

Eric Mosley

“The world changes so drastically that if we are not changing drastically every 18 months we are being left behind. Customers can smell that off companies. You have got to be continuously reinventing.”

“There was never a big moment when we decided to change, we were constantly evolving. The company is unrecognisable every three years. “

Does that stop you being bored? Or cashing out? “That is it. It is fulfilling because it is constantly new. It feels like there is a continuous cycle of start-up mentality. That provides energy when you wake up every morning. You are constantly trying to move the company in a new direction.

“If it was the case that it stayed the same, and you were just trying to resell that, well then yeah that would get pretty boring after a while,” Mosley said.

“But that has just never been the case here. It feels like I haven’t worked for the same company for 20 years. It feels like I worked for 10 different companies! The downside of that is you never get to rest! You never get to take a breath. But that is good as well!”


We are reaching the end of the interview. Mosley is an engaging conversationalist. He has not swapped his Dublin accent for a mid-Atlantic drawl. He is passionate about Workhuman, and shows no signs of stepping back. The unicorn tag is nice, but you get the sense he is more excited about the next customer, and the current ones. Now in his late 40s, he has the potential to lead Workhuman all the way to the stock market. What is the biggest lesson he has learned since starting out? “I think the biggest lesson is you need two things,” he tells me.

“You need to create your own market. You can never have long term success if you are playing in someone else’s market. You need to create your own market and then be the dominant number one player in that market.”

“To do that you have to create a mission based culture meaning everyone in the organisation is focused on that particular mission. If you can get those two ingredients right you will have long term success. But it is not a stagnant success. The market you create is going to evolve and change constantly so you have to evolve and change constantly.”

“The way business is done now, there is no endpoint. It is a continuous evolution. The one thing that we in the leadership team in Workhuman constantly reiterate is that we have to be constantly leading, influencing and creating the market itself.”

“When you do that you become synonymous with it. You become the defacto number one. And you can only do that if you can get all of the imagination and energy of all of your employees to point in the right direction.”

“If they are all pointing in different directions you are done for. They all have to be pointing in the right direction, and that is the lifelong struggle for any leader. That is where success is.”