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How HomeServe Reduced Time Spent on DSARs by 50%

Their Story

For HomeServe, a UK-based multinational home-emergency repairs and improvements organisation, an inefficient process became unworkable for their HR department. The high volume of incoming DSARs and the HR team’s manual process for handling these requests made it difficult to focus on the core aspect of their role: providing excellent customer service for HomeServe employees.

With Everlaw as their tool of choice, HomeServe’s HR department leveraged an easy-to-use and intuitive technology to expedite a typically lengthy and tedious DSAR process—while also cutting costs and reallocating the time spent on DSAR to tasks that have more business impact. The end result: HomeServe cut the time it takes to review and respond to a DSAR by 50%, from 30 days to two weeks.

Their Challenge: A Manual Process for Reviewing and Responding to DSARs

Teams within large organisations aren’t always the best positioned to handle additional tasks outside the realm of their responsibilities, and for HomeServe’s human resources team, this was especially true. HR team members, such as Melissa Holt and Kate Evans, had no previous experience with edisclosure technology before being tasked with responding to DSARs, forcing them to commit to a manual process.

A DSAR is a submitted request by an individual asking an organisation to share what personal data of theirs they have, how they’re using it, how they’re collecting it, and how it’s stored. Additionally, individuals can use a DSAR to request a company take specific action with their data. However, responding to DSARs can be cumbersome and create significant backlogs due to the volume and complexity of these requests.

This initial issue was exacerbated when the team saw an increase in DSARs from about two requests a month to ten, which was straining their resources. More specifically, these requests would lead to:

  • Challenges during review. HomeServe’s HR team had significant difficulty identifying what was relevant and not during the review process because they had to manually review each individual page in large document sets, making it challenging to locate specific information for a request. On top of this, they were then reviewing documents in Adobe, in which redactions and searching were cumbersome and slow and also brought up security concerns.

  • Exhausting redaction process. Before and even into the pandemic, members of the HR team had to go into the office to print out, redact and mail documents for physical paper DSARs (or otherwise use CDs for electronic or call recording data). Additionally, these DSARs often include recordings of telephone conversations, further complicating the process because the team did not have the proper software to transcribe, review and redact privileged information from these data types.

  • Tedious data security protocols. The HR department would have to reach out to IT for a request. From there, they would search for emails and then save copies to their system. In a separate spreadsheet, they would track, with HR systems, what would need to be combed through during review. 

  • Elongated workflows. Homeserve would receive, on average, ten DSARs a month, with each request taking, on average, 40 hours to complete. The team was keen to find a tool that allowed them to take a more efficient, repeatable approach to handling DSARs, enabling them to free up their employees’ time.

With a 30-day deadline, it was quite difficult for the team to handle the volume of DSARs coming in, especially since the team had no software or other functionality to help with that.

— Kate EvansEmployee Relations Officer, HomeServe

The Everlaw Solution: Modernising the DSAR Process with Edisclosure Software

The HR team needed a solution to transform their DSARs process but had to demonstrate the value that an edisclosure solution would provide to internal decision-makers. Additionally, the team had to prove that their chosen solution would meet the highest security requirements.

With Everlaw, Homeserve’s HR department was able to do just that. The team found the Everlaw platform to be user-friendly, and the IT and procurement teams were comfortable with the level of communication from Everlaw to make sure things were completely secure and provided adequate business impact.

Once the HR team was able to implement Everlaw into their DSAR workflows, they found that the solution enabled them to:

  • Learn the basics from experts. It was daunting at first, not having used a platform like Everlaw before. The HR team found the account manager was immensely helpful in easing them in with training. Additionally, the customer support team understood how the Homeserve HR department worked and ensured that any information provided was clear, relevant to their use case and simple to follow. Whether it was face-to-face time or training sessions, they always felt supported.

  • Eliminate repeatable tasks with project templates. The HR team handles multiple DSARs at a given time and leverages project templates to expedite the process. With project templates, the HR department streamlines project creation and automates the process by copying project settings from previous DSARs they’ve completed. The project templates have helped create more consistency across all incoming requests and saved the HR department a lot of time.

  • Shorten the redaction process with batch redactions. The HomeServe HR team moved on from manual redactions, and they haven’t looked back. The team utilises batch redactions to redact the same term across documents within each DSAR by selecting the documents in question, identifying the words, phrases or patterns, and applying that selection. 

  • Quickly respond to the requestors. The former manual process would take the HR department a full 30 days to fulfil a single DSAR, inhibiting their ability to handle the other aspects of their roles. That all changed when the team implemented Everlaw into the DSAR process. Once they completed the request, sharing the end-protect was seamless. The team exports the requestor’s data to a PDF, providing a zipped deliverable through a trackable secure link. This expedited workflow has helped HomeServe cut the time it takes to handle a DSAR in half.

HomeServe cut the time it takes to complete a DSAR by 50%, from 30 days to 2 weeks.

Results: More Time to Focus on What Matters

The HomeServe HR department has an entirely streamlined process for reviewing and responding to DSARs:

  • The IT department does an initial search for relevant data and uploads that data directly into the Everlaw platform.

  • Then, the HR team uses Everlaw to search, highlight and conduct batch redactions to organise those relevant data.

  • And, the HR department shares the requestor data as a ZIP file.

It’s all about efficiency for us and improving the process, and Everlaw has been a huge help with that. And, in terms of business impact, it’s allowed us to focus on improving the employee experience, which is one of our main areas of focus.”

— Melissa HoltLead Human Resources Assistant, HomeServe

This efficient workflow has given the HomeServe HR department ample time to focus their attention on providing excellent customer service for employees at the organisation. As a result, the team has increased engagement and has improved the quality of the employee experience. It has changed the way the team works, and they can get on to bigger and better projects and not be overwhelmed by requests.