Oliver Shaw, CEO of Cascade HR
Katie Mallinson

Member Article

Yorkshire Festive Focus: Oliver Shaw, Cascade HR

In this instalment of the festive focus, we speak to Oliver Shaw, CEO of Cascade HR about his business highlights of 2016 and how he plans to spend the holiday period.

Your business

What were the three biggest highlights for your business in 2016?

We acquired Octopus HR (which later became CascadeGo), which acted as the catalyst to us forming IRIS Human Capital Management. Comprising the Cascade, CascadeGo, IRIS payroll, Earnie and KashFlow brands, this is now the UK’s 4th largest provider of people-critical software.

We created 45 additional jobs across the north, taking us to a team of 410. At the same time, this injection of new talent enabled us to develop 90 of our existing colleagues, who have now progressed into the next stage of their career with us.

We launched a new remote payroll entry product which has created a more robust way for customers to interact directly with Cascade’s Payroll Managed Service (payroll bureau).

What are your business’ goals going into 2017?

I expect us to maintain our journey of continued 20% growth, year on year. Whilst this has become the norm for us, it requires a lot of planning, effort and hard work to achieve this ongoing expansion without there being any detrimental impact on our brand, customer service, employee engagement or technological development. That said, the entire team is focused on the same vision, so I don’t see any reason why we won’t achieve this goal again in 2017.

Anything you/your business would have done differently over the past year?

Our business is driven by the talent within it, and we put an enormous amount of effort into hiring great people and developing staff internally. We’ve learned things along the way but, the one thing I would have done differently, would have been to accelerate the processes we put in place to recruit the best available candidates. After all, we’re a HR company – we know what best practice looks like.

Now we’re utilising predictive analytics to understand exactly who we need in our business, and we’re training colleagues on different interview techniques, so they know what to look for when the search is underway.

Your region

Why do you think Yorkshire is a great place to do business?

There is a vast amount of talent within Yorkshire’s tech space. You only have to look at the brands that are based in and around the region – Sky, the NHS and Sage to name just a few – to see how much demand there is for the skill-sets that reside here.

Any other company/companies in the region stand out for you?

The big brands I’ve just mentioned show that Yorkshire is an inspiring place to do business. But really the list goes on. I have spent some time talking to healthcare tech specialist EMIS recently – they’re a fast-growing yet focused, straightforward and honest company with a Yorkshire ethos still at their heart. Networx is another ambitious Yorkshire business, with a great recruitment product.

What does Yorkshire want to see happen in the future/next year?

I honestly think it boils down to infrastructure. I travel on the train from Leeds to London at least twice a week and don’t need to shave 15 minutes off my journey. However, it can take me two to two and a half hours to get from Warrington to Leeds. This is bound to hold businesses back over the coming years from a recruitment perspective.


What individual goals did you achieve personally/professionally in 2016?

A personal highlight has to be becoming a father. There’s been a huge transition into undiscovered territory but I am loving family life.

From a professional perspective, I became responsible for running a team of 400 people. This is something I’ve done before but the notion is always daunting. However, eight months in, I’m not only enjoying it – I’m also incredibly pleased with what we’ve achieved as a team and how equipped we are to tackle our 2017 goals.

How do you unwind after a stressful day at work?

Family time has become the most important way for me to relax in 2016. I also enjoy getting out into the countryside with my horses. When I’m out riding, I can’t use my mind for anything other than the job at hand – it offers real escapism after a stressful day or week.

What would be the perfect Christmas gift for you?

Time is one of the most important things for me, so the opportunity to enjoy an uninterrupted week with my family, is all I need.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Katie Mallinson .

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