Marie Leary, Assistant Director in charge of HR at Hodgkinsons Solicitors, speaks to LPM about how IRIS HR Professional has revolutionised their HR practices.
Lincolnshire-based firm Hodgkinsons Solicitors is vying to become the number-one legal business for client service in the county. The key to this goal, from the firm’s perspective, is using technology to improve the business’s processes – enabling greater efficiency and significant cost savings that can be passed on to clients. Hodgkinsons’ Assistant Director in charge of HR, Marie Leary, says that the firm pulled out all the stops to make its processes more efficient over the past year, including adopting IRIS HR Professional’s cloud-based HR software to revolutionise its human resources practices.
“Before we adopted HR management software, HR took up an inordinate amount of time. It was a very time-consuming process to request, approve and authorise holidays and absences. Furthermore, the paper trail required to audit changes in office policies and ensure ongoing compliance was not an efficient process.” She adds that IRIS HR Professional’s HR platform automated these processes and facilitated greater collaboration within the firm – significantly improving its efficiency, accuracy and overall communication.
Putting People Together
Marie says HR management software makes HR significantly more efficient by automating and managing numerous processes. “Instead of running around the firm trying to get the right permissions, an employee who wants a day off will make a request on our HR system and the line manager will be informed of the request via email. As soon as that manager says ‘yes’ it goes to HR, prepopulates all the information, makes all the calculations, and it’s done.” She adds that processes for sick leave and absenteeism are similarly automated – significantly reducing the firm’s costs on paper and giving fee earners more time to spend providing exceptional client service.
But a key benefit of implementing HR software, according to Marie the level of flexibility it brings to HR practices. “Our HR management system is cloud-based and accessible on mobile, tablet or laptops from virtually anywhere in the world – which is convenient for both employees and management. I frequently receive absentee requests outside of working hours from an employee’s IRIS HR Professional’s phone app – and I’m able to process that request on my mobile before I even arrive in the office.” Another crucial improvement that HR software has brought into the firm is allowing managers and employees to more effectively share information. Marie says that HR software provides staff with a convenient hub of information that can be updated online and accessed from anywhere.
“Instead of manually distributing updated policies, they are uploaded electronically. All employees are notified of changes via email and they can view the updated policy online.” Employees can also view their own HR information on IRIS HR Professional, including their contract of employment, job description, number of holidays left and other personal information. Having virtual HR files on individual employees can also be useful when onboarding new members of staff, according to Marie.
“New recruits want to know who everyone is and who they need to talk to for various problems or tasks. IRIS HR Professional’s system allows employees to view other staff public profiles, such as extension numbers, job roles, location within the office and biographies of who they are and what they do.”
Ultimately, she adds, IRIS HR Professional has enabled Hodgkinsons to become significantly more collaborative and efficient.
Appraise You Like I should
But, Marie says, perhaps the most important feature of IRIS HR Professional is its performance appraisal module – particularly in light of the SRA’s new approach to continuing competence. The module allows her to easily export records from the HR system to provide statistical analyses of employees – significantly aiding the performance review process. “And more than that, the performance appraisal module has helped us revolutionise performance reviews in the same way as much of the rest of our HR. The process is completely automated – employees fill out a series of questions on the system, it comes to me as the HR manager and it’s automatically populated.”
But, she adds, the key benefit of the module is that it enables reviews to be personalised for employees based on their position within the business. Once the appraisal is over the module also allows managers and the appraised employee to view their talent management record in a central hub – providing charts and average scores for easy review analysis and full feedback visibility.
Marie says her firm chose IRIS HR Professional firstly because of the user-friendliness of its HR platform and its exceptional client service. “The software has allowed Hodgkinsons to bespoke its homepage by using our logo, colours and pictures. It feels and looks like an internal intranet system. New recruits can learn how to use it in just over half an hour.” She adds that despite the quality of the platform it isn’t the most expensive, and was very well pitched in terms of its costing. But the most important factor in choosing IRIS HR Professional was the quality of its client service.
“As a firm that’s committed to excellent client service, we expect a high level of service from our service providers. The platform’s client service is exceptional – if I ever call them with a problem or suggestions they’ll log it and often email or call me back within the hour.” IRIS HR Professional’s HR management software has proven to be a vital addition to Hodgkinsons, making the firm considerably more efficient and collaborative to allow fee earners more time to spend on client service. Marie says the system’s usability, performance review module and IRIS HR Professional’s exceptional client service have been key components in this transformation.