Banking on improved employee engagement and experiences

Shawbrook Bank undergo a rapid digital transformation utilizing Sage’s HR and People capabilities

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Shawbrook Bank



Finance and banking



United Kingdom

In the quest to modernize their HR processes, Shawbrook Bank invested in Sage Business Cloud People to boost the employee experience and engagement, whilst streamlining operations.

Empowering employees

Shawbrook is a specialist UK lending and savings bank focused on property finance, business finance, consumer lending and savings. Established in 2011, Shawbrook differentiates itself by concentrating on markets where they have specialist knowledge and gain competitive advantage by offering a personalized approach. This benefits businesses and consumers usually underserved by mainstream banks.

As the world of work grows ever more complex and diverse, organizations need to change the way in which they manage their people and workforces. Focusing on their digital HR approach led Shawbrook to review their capacity to recruit and retain the right people, while keeping HR more closely aligned with business growth.

People are critical to the business at Shawbrook, who have a rapidly growing workforce made up of 700 employees. Lee Shaw, Head of HR Service and Delivery at Shawbrook, sees them as fundamental to the business, but needed a cloud-based HR and People system to manage them effectively. Shaw was also looking to automate non-value adding activities and empower Shawbrook employees to own their HR data.

Shaw explains, “Technology is changing the world we live in; we expect easy access to things, from anywhere, at any time. We wanted to modernize the HR function to bring it in line with our employee’s expectations.”

Shawbrook was using a combination of emails, spreadsheets and a payroll system to keep track of employee information. This meant that a lot of HR processes were manual and time-consuming, at risk of human error, and provided no single source of truth. “We really wanted to make operations more efficient, be able to use reliable data, and give time back to the HR team to focus on employee experiences and value generating activities,” says Shaw.

When considering a HR and People system, Shawbrook looked at their business-critical needs to help them make the right choice. Shaw comments: “We need to be compliant with FCA regulations and the senior managers regime, and needed a system with conversation tracking. We also wanted an end-to-end solution to include payroll functionality – that was important for us. Oracle and Workday were too complex for us given where we are as a business today, and we felt Sage People was a closer cultural fit given our rapid growth.”

“Oracle and Workday were too complex for us given where we are as a business today, and we felt Sage People was a closer cultural fit given our rapid growth.”
Lee Shaw, Head of HR Service and Delivery, Shawbrook Bank

Digital HR services

Shawbrook now delivers their HR services in the cloud. With Sage People in place, there is one single source of truth and a centralized portal employees can go to for their HR needs. “Sage’s HR and People system has started to change the role of HR at Shawbrook,” says Shaw. “It’s helping us to achieve operational efficiency by automating basic tasks, and is enabling us to improve our line managers’ ability to perform better people management activities.”

“Sage People is a one-stop shop for all interactions with HR. You can view your payslip, book time off, update personal details and access our learning management system. It’s removed the admin burden on the HR team and freed up their time to reinvest in leading people, spending more time with their team, or working on deliverables that add to the bottom line,” he says.

Making decisions based on facts

Sage People has also helped Shawbrook to improve the credibility of the HR function. Shaw can now report to the executive and operations committee with regular updates on core topics such as staff turnover, absences and headcount, demonstrating key HR trends. Importantly, it also means that Shawbrook can be confident they are meeting the needs of FCA legislation. Shaw tell us: “There’s meaning behind the data and numbers and we can make decisions based on facts, and efficiently manage risk within the business.”

Shawbrook put pulse surveys to good use straight away and obtained employee feedback immediately after they went live with the system. They found that over 90% of respondents were very confident with the new HR system.

“By the end of week one after go-live, we had 82% adoption which was a big win.”
Lee Shaw, Head of HR Service and Delivery, Shawbrook Bank

“We also asked if people would like to see any changes. Over 80% of comments were very positive but also provided a useful list of improvements based on what people were struggling with. The HR team could then focus their attention on the most relevant actions going forward,” Shaw added. “By the end of week one after go-live, we had 82% adoption which was a big win.”

Shawbrook has chosen to outsource its payroll function and lower skilled work. By automating transactional processes, they’re freeing up the HR team to focus on the company’s biggest asset; their people.

“We’re raising the game of HR. We’re moving away from being reactional, to being more laser focused on the business and delivering real business outcome – not just operating HR as a service,” says Shaw.

“I am highly confident in the success of Shawbrook Bank. We have a strong leadership team and excellent colleagues throughout the business who continue to deliver growth and value to the organization. The more we do with Sage People, the more strategic the HR team can be to the business and help achieve our ambitious growth aspirations.”

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