Boosting HR productivity through automation with Sage People

RateSetter invests in automated HR for scale to realize the vision of becoming an employer of choice

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Right to be forgotten

Customer

Ratesetter

Industry

Industry

Finance and banking

Location

Location

United Kingdom

Ratesetter Logo

A relatively young company, RateSetter was launched in 2010. RateSetter’s mission is to make investing in loans available to everybody – so returns, previously only available to banks, can now be enjoyed by investors themselves.

RateSetter has set the market alight in recent years. In 2011 they lent £12m, but by 2018 this figure had jumped to £710m, reflecting the phenomenal growth of the company. However, whilst this growth was lauded as a huge success, leaders at the organization knew that they needed to make this growth sustainable. With outdated systems and no HR processes or infrastructure, they knew a People strategy was vital to this.
With over 200 employees, ambitious growth plans, plus the desire to create a new operations hub, the company realized they had a lot to do. That led to the appointment of Rob Crowley.

“As a newly appointed HR Director, I certainly had my work cut out,” laughs Crowley. “Here I was, in the middle of an exciting business experiencing growth. The HR approach needed to evolve from simply getting ‘bums on seats’, to getting a decent HR infrastructure in place that could provide efficiencies, instill a winning and rewarding culture, and provide meaningful and accurate HR data to help drive the business forward.”

Crowley wanted an HR and People system that was modular in its approach, with flexibility built in, that could cope with the growing demands of a flexible and dynamic business.

The mandate Crowley set himself was clear: make RateSetter a great place to work. That’s some challenge, but undeterred, Crowley set about creating a HR vision and strategy. Ultimately, the challenge was to build great employee experiences that would enable the organization to compete in the competitive finance sector by attracting, and retaining, the very best. Crowley’s concept was to get the basics right first and build from there.

Getting started on the People Company journey
Through initial discoveries, Crowley found that HR was a manually driven part of the business, relying on monster-sized spreadsheets and largely reactive to anything HR related. Simple tasks like on-boarding of employees were burning unnecessary hours each week due to the manual nature of the admin involved. Crowley knew this needed to change.

“Addressing the basics, I needed to look to see how we could become an employer of choice,” comments Crowley. “I knew what we needed to do, what I had to work out is the how. We started looking for an online cloud solution to help us,” he explains.

With the HR and People team’s time being mostly spent on admin and spreadsheets, Crowley wanted to make sure that this drain on time was removed. For example, knowing where to find HR policies, a way to book and record holidays, an tool for stock options data so employees could see their holdings in an easy to use and transparent way, and a way to log personal objectives and performance conversations.

Crowley looked to Sage People to solve this. The system met all of his criteria and more, by being a single source of truth, that was intuitive for both employees and the HR team.

Launching a people-oriented system
Implementing Sage People took four months. Rather than a big launch to the business, Crowley wanted to take a softer approach.
“We didn’t want the launch to be a disruptive distraction, considering the business was undergoing lots of change,” recalls Crowley, “So we chose a soft-launch within the business, putting out simple messages that a new system ‘was arriving’, issuing trial log-ins for anyone who wanted to try it out for themselves.”

Crowley was quietly confident that they had made the right decision: “We received good feedback from the trial; how professional the system looked; how easy it was to use; how the experience was positive for the employee.”

However, the real test was to come. Although an existing system was in use for absence management, it was a standalone and therefore required additional management. By removing access to it and redirecting employees to Sage People, Crowley introduced employees to ‘Team RateSetter’, the name for the new HR and People system.

What impressed Crowley the most was the shift in employee perception of Team RateSetter. “We knew the decision to move to Sage People was the right one when, as after launch our Employee Net Promoter Score improved, with employees commenting positively and enjoying the advances in HR such as being able to manage and book their own time off,” smiles Crowley.

Before the launch of Sage People, employees would come to HR for rudimentary needs ranging from where to find a policy or how to update personal information. That has changed as Sophie MacDonald, HR Advisor at RateSetter, explains: “I can safely say the People Operations team are saving about eight hours a week just by removing that basic overhead. That means I can now focus on providing a proactive HR service to the business,” she says.

“It means I can also develop, learn new things about Sage People and build a real community that helps drive our values. That was pretty much impossible before,” MacDonald adds.
As a result, MacDonald is now able to spend more time working with managers advising on more strategic HR activities such as training and retention, rather than manually maintaining data on complex spreadsheets or responding to basic information requests.

Results that matter to the business
With RateSetter’s employees now having access to everything they need, there’s a sense of satisfaction from Crowley that they are moving in the right direction. Instead of day-to-day admin tasks, the HR and People team are concentrating on more strategic initiatives – and placing employee experiences at the heart of what they do. Crowley says Sage People has brought simplicity, accuracy, and professionalism to the business driving his vision to make RateSetter a great place to work.

It hasn’t stopped there. Crowley is now exploring more efficiencies through the Sage People system, meaning he can look outwards strategically, rather than inwards. Next, Crowley is tackling forward talent planning, identifying successors for key roles, managing resource more effectively, and reducing time spent on simple tasks such as managing employee personal information, all through Sage People.

“I can now provide real and meaningful People data,” says Crowley, “and that makes my CFO very happy. It means as we are scaling, we are engaging our employees and we have a happier team.”

Crowley reports: “Our people are key to delivering on our long-term vision for RateSetter. We are on a journey to becoming a People Company, and Sage People is the foundation helping us to get there.”

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