Career advice, insights & tips for HR professionals
Putting paid to paper at Hill Dickinson 02/07/2012
Founded in 1810, Hill Dickinson LLP now has offices in seven locations across the globe. In this Q&A, HR director Andrew Rushworth explains how HR software has helped streamline the business.
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- When did you join Hill Dickinson?
- What drove the need for a software solution?
- What results have you seen?
- What challenges did you have to overcome?
- What advice would you give other HR directors?
When did you join Hill Dickinson?
In 2007. We have an HR team of about 20 people and we're providing learning & development and HR for over 1,400 employees.
What drove the need for a software solution?
We started working with Access in 2006. Prior to implementation of SelectHR, there wasn’t a specialist HR software or database product – we had a combination of accounting-type systems and bolt on HR modules, which had limitations. They couldn’t provide any meaningful management reporting data. We wanted to manage data more effectively and provide accurate, timely management information about our various employee groups.
What results have you seen?
Since 2006, we have been able to utilise the full breadth of capabilities of the system:
Streamlined performance management: We’ve introduced an online appraisal system – employee feedback forms, objectives etc are embedded within it. Employees can access it at any time. It’s removed paper from the system and the format is fully customisable, so we’ve been able to design bespoke appraisals for different employee groups.
Reduced administration: We’ve started to introduce a web based self-service module. Employees can update their own records, record absence, request holidays etc. This is all done through an online system which has significantly reduced the admin burden on the HR department.
Timely & accurate reports: We can roll out monthly reports at a push of a button. This used to take us several days – it’s saved us 3-4 days’ work.
At any given time, we’re able to report on core people issues such as headcount, recruitment and employee turnover. Managers can also pull off their own stats, at the level of detail they want – they don’t need to wait for HR to produce reports.
Accessible by all: Line managers don’t always share their geographic location with their teams, so a central online system works well.
Fully customisable: We don’t have to wait for developers to make changes – we can do this in-house.
User-friendly: Most HR people aren’t terribly IT literate. We’re normal users so wanted something we could be comfortable with.
Joined up at recruitment stage: SelectHR works back to back with our recruitment platform, so once an employee has accepted a job offer, their details flow into the HR system – it’s seamless.
What challenges did you have to overcome?
The beauty of the system is that it’s simple to use, so we haven’t had a great deal of issues. Most problems we have able to overcome ourselves – these were more around ensuring everyone was suitably trained. Once that was overcome, the results have been good.
What advice would you give other HR directors?
The critical thing is to decide on a solution that fits your organisation – law firms are relatively simple, so don’t need a huge SAP or Oracle system. Because Access is customisable, we could mould it to the requirements of our organisation – that was the key for us. Choose something that’s suited to your needs, and it isn’t always the market leader that does that.
Andrew Rushworth, HR director, Hill Dickinson LLP
Andrew Rushworth is human resources director at Hill Dickinson. He heads up a team of 20 who together provide HR services to offices across the UK and internationally.