From Humble Beginnings to Industry Innovator: GovDocs Celebrates 25 Years

By GovDocs
Published June 12, 2024
GovDocs Celebrates 25 Years

GovDocs, a leader in employment law compliance solutions, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Zach Stabenow in the early days of GovDocs

Zach Stabenow in the early days of GovDocs

Reflecting on a Legacy of Compliance Excellence

It’s been 25 years since young entrepreneur Zach Stabenow founded GovDocs in a basement-level studio apartment. The year was 1999. Y2K was in full swing, and Tiger Woods was swinging his way to his first PGA Championship win. But unlike these now obsolete headlines, GovDocs and its founder are still going strong in 2024, with plenty more to come. 

As is often the case with great ideas, GovDocs’ early days were rather humble. Stabenow and his business partner’s “office” equipment consisted of a futon, one desktop computer, an analog internet line, and one state-of-the-art fax machine.

Tracking and keeping labor law posters up to date was as tough a job back then as it is today, and Stabenow’s vision of simplifying this process proved to be a very reliable business model, especially during a time when business-to-business software solutions were few and far between.

GovDocs headquarters in 1999.

GovDocs headquarters in 1999: a 12-by-18-foot basement studio apartment.

Meeting Compliance Challenges – Both Emerging and Unchanging

A lot can change in a quarter century. And although the employment law and compliance space would see plenty of change in the years that followed (especially in the areas of new legislation and posting requirements), one thing remained consistent – the need for physical labor law posters in the workplace.

Today, there are over 2,600 jurisdictions with unique posting requirements that US employers need to track in addition to federal requirements. This challenge for employers paved the way for steady growth at GovDocs as the need for a fully managed compliance program grew and the company’s service offerings expanded. 

GovDocs has always been at the forefront of innovation. The company was the first to market with products that are now considered industry standards, including online poster ordering, digital labor law poster file access, QR code-powered ComplianceCheck, and its more recent and robust successor, PosterCheck.

25 Years of Innovation and Growth

GovDocs has a history of innovation. The company was the first to market with products that are now considered industry standards, including online poster ordering, file access, QR code-powered ComplianceCheck, and its more recent and robust successor, PosterCheck.

That innovation has led to tremendous growth. In the past five years alone, GovDocs has seen a 47 percent increase in its customer-base and currently serves over 35 percent of the Fortune 500 List. In addition, GovDocs introduced both a Minimum Wage and Paid Leave Solution to help customers with other challenging areas of compliance, with more expansions on the way.

These new and planned product expansions are part of how GovDocs is looking for innovative ways to address the emerging challenges of its customers. This year, for example, the industry will see a near-record number of increases to minimum wage rates at the state, county, and city level. GovDocs Minimum Wage, powered by cutting-edge geolocation technology with rooftop accuracy, was designed to help its customers meet this challenge. 

“Nearly every aspect of employment law compliance has increased in complexity, and I believe that we’re headed in the right direction in giving our clients the tools they need to succeed in the coming years,” said Stabenow when speaking on GovDocs’ expanding product offerings. 

“These emerging trends—especially minimum wage—almost always affect labor law poster compliance at some level as well, which is an area we have paid special attention to improving as part of an effort to provide smarter tracking technologies to our customers.”  

Measuring Success with Meaningful Metrics

Part of what has separated GovDocs from the competition throughout the years is their focus on the needs of the customer over profit alone. This attitude is reflected in the fact that, on average, 97 percent of GovDocs customers choose to renew their subscriptions. For comparison, the industry’s average renewal rate is just over 40 percent. 

“This is an enormously important statistic for us, and one I’m very proud of,” said Stabenow as he explained his method for measuring success at GovDocs. “Our renewal rate shows the value we provide our customers better than just about any other metric and is a testament to the health of both GovDocs and our customers.”

According to Stabenow, there are plenty of reasons why so many GovDocs customers have renewed their subscriptions throughout the last 25 years.

“We know why our customers renew because we’re continually measuring those reasons.”

Today, GovDocs has grown exponentially, now operating from a 14,000+ square foot office in Eagan, MN. The company boasts an expanding team, including a dedicated client services team and a specialized employment law and compliance team comprised of several employment law attorneys who have decades of experience in employment law compliance matters for Fortune 500 companies as well as a supporting staff team of paralegals and research analysts. Together, they provide industry-leading thought leadership and unwavering support to their clients. 

A Look to the Future

“We’ve spent the last few years investing in technologies that will redefine how employment law compliance is tracked, and there are some pretty exciting announcements on the horizon in 2024,” said Stabenow while speaking about what’s next for GovDocs and its customers. 

In 2023, GovDocs hired Joel Coppin, a former leader in software engineering and technology at Amazon Web Services, to lead their software and technology development. The company is rounding the final corner in a system update that will improve nearly every aspect of the customer experience going forward, including the expansion of geolocation technology.

Throughout the growth and innovation of the past 25 years, Stabenow noted that they’ve “Kept their eye on what’s most important – the human element.”

GovDocs has grown to include 67 talented employees who have contributed 1,800+ volunteer hours throughout 16 years of community outreach. 
“That’s definitely a trend that I and everyone at GovDocs would love to see continue in 2024 and beyond.

This Employment Law News blog is intended for market awareness only, it is not to be used for legal advice or counsel.

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What is GovDocs?

GovDocs simplifies employment law compliance for large, multi-jurisdiction employers in the U.S. and Canada. The GovDocs software platform integrates three solutions in one convenient place to help you master the employment laws impacting your business. Whether you manage labor law postings, minimum wage or paid leave program, our products cut through research time, provide proactive insights into the everchanging landscape of employment laws and reduce the risk of noncompliance. The company is headquartered in Eagan, Minn.

Have fewer than 30 locations? 

The GovDocs Poster Store simplifies posting compliance for employers with less than 30 locations across all industries, offering a variety of posting products to meet your labor law compliance needs.