May’s HR Manager of the Month: Rachel Davison, Turnitin

May’s HR Manager of the Month is Rachel Davison from Turnitin.

Rachel received more nominations than any other candidate, it’s a testament to how effective she is in her job that she was nominated by 8 separate people across the Turnitin office, including this warm nomination from her colleague Jennifer Earl, who said:

“Rachel has gone above and beyond to make our working day/life as comfortable and beneficial as possible. She has trashed traditional images of unapproachable HR, as she is friendly, bubbly, welcoming, and most of all very caring.”

Rachel was flattered to hear of the multiple nominations, and explained her approach in her winner’s interview:

“I’ve always thought that work is where people spend most of their time, and I wanted to make it my job to make it as enjoyable and as easy as possible for them.

There has always been a stigma attached to HR I feel, from the days it was ‘Personnel’, and I wanted to change that. I wanted to be the approachable HR that was there to help employees and reward/recognise them, not inundate them with paperwork or only be “the person that handed out brown envelopes’.

People are now seen as a companies biggest asset, and rightly so! I believe HR is becoming much more involved in business strategy and companies have realised by having a people strategy, this can enable businesses to achieve their goals and objectives.

In addition I feel management ask for advice from HR on many areas they previously wouldn’t have, so I’ve also just completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Employment Law.  I plan to carry on at Diploma and LLM level, to allow me to specialise in employee relations, and be able to more competently advise on HR legal matters. . HR is now much more than just a support function or a facilitator.

I started at Turnitin in October 2013, in about a year I managed to grow the headcount by 50% from around 40 staff. I have also expanded the HR team, bringing in an Internal Recruiter and a HR Generalist. We are currently nearly at 90 staff, and are about to move office premises to enable us to continue to grow.

Going from a small company to this size, (in addition to Turnitin aquiring companies around the world) it has meant that I have had to learn a lot on the job. However I wouldn’t change this for the world as its probably given me 5 years experience in the space of 2!

Systems and processes have also been a big challenge, growing so quickly, but I really feel now with the help of Global HR, we’re in a really good place. Now rather than being so reactive as a department, we’re very proactive, with this year seeing a heavy push on employee engagement and improving benefits.   Cloud based systems have helped.

The ability to access files and data from anywhere has been a lifesaver for International companies like ours. With offices in California and Pittsburgh in America, England and the Netherlands and future expansion plans, plus employees travelling around the globe. It has never been more essential for employees to be able to access data.

In HR it has enabled us to be more proficient, with online HRIS, applicant tracking for recruitment and e-signature tools, not only allowing for paperless employee onboarding, but allowing us to recruit more easily – we have been lucky that our HR Director has implemented so many systems in the past couple of years.

Working in a global company that is rapidly expanding internationally, I feel the biggest future challenge we face is ensuring we hire the right people, keeping them engaged and ensuring performance measures can be adapted and changed, in addition to ensuring they receive good management, and that being remote is not a detriment to them.  Furthermore HR will have to play a bigger role in risk management, that having employees in other countries will bring. I’m sure this is felt by many other internationally expanding companies.

Of course, juggling my demanding role, my masters degree and a new puppy, can sometimes be very demanding, but as cliché as it sounds I enjoy the pressures my job can bring, because I love my job.

It keeps it exciting and I know that the more effort I put in, the better it will be for Turnitin and our employees. As an Educational Saas company, its great that Turnitin makes such a difference to improving student learning – though I hope it speaks for my own recruiter skills when I say, I’m lucky, I have the best team I could have working with me!”

It only remains for the HR News team and our sponsor Activ Absence to congratulate Rachel on her very well deserved award.

If you know an HR Star that deserves to be rewarded for their outstanding performance, you can nominate them for June’s award here.

Author: Editorial Team

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