e-HR in action: How an expanding engineering and consulting group keeps on
top of its disparate HR needs
Seven years ago, Interfleet was a UK traction and rolling-stock business,
created from the engineering arm of British Rail. Today, it operates as an
international rail infrastructure and business strategy consultancy.
With clients all over the world, it now has six offices across three
continents including Derby and London in the UK, Philadelphia in the US and
Sydney and Brisbane in Australia. It recently expanded its European operation
with the acquisition of TrainTech Engineering AB in Sweden.
Although its workforce numbers less than 500, with HR data spread across 20
disparate systems, many of them manual (including a paper-based leave system),
Interfleet was a classic candidate for an enterprise-wide HR system. Added to
this, the HR department already had its work cut out with the typical global
and cultural issues that arise following a merger.
After looking at a number of providers it decided on MidlandHR’s Trent HR
management and payroll system.
"It is important that the HR department concentrates on the business
and related cultural issues that taking on a new business creates, rather than
worrying about collating leave sheets," says Mark Nosworthy, MidlandHR’s
project assistant for the Trent system at Interfleet. "The company will
now be able to do this because of the reduction in administration as a result
of employee self-service. This will enable HR to be more strategic."
Interfleet currently has the people, development, absence, organisation,
recruitment and training modules in use in the UK and, last October, the
organisation went live with self-service HR in Australia. It hopes to go live
in Sweden by the end of the year. The organisation admits, however, that the
paperless approach has received a mixed reaction in some areas.
"A number of the more mature employees are used to filling in
paper-based leave sheets so the transition to the new system may be more of a
challenge to them," says Nosworthy. But he emphasises that the ease-of-use
of the system means that little training was needed. "We arranged 30-45
minute awareness sessions for managers to explain the technology," he
Interfleet HR assistant, Louise Sherwin, who oversees the Trent system on a
day-to-day basis, says that while HR can expect a significant reduction in
administration, the overwhelming benefit so far has been the system’s in-built
"We can quickly find out how many holidays are left, for
instance." She says the system is also helping to drive staff training by
letting HR know when essential refresher courses in first-aid and health and
safety are required.
The database is also used to download information on to the Interfleet intranet
which contains contact details, phone numbers, policies and the company
Interfleet was an early adopter of the Trent system and Anton Roe, software
director at MidlandHR, says that its progress and use of reporting tools is
particularly pleasing, especially as it is putting the new functionality to
good use in a live situation.
"Organisations that are forward-thinking are now using the reporting
suites to develop key performance indicators. In one of our recent releases
we’ve included an analytics module specifically to help with this."