DIY Meets HR: The Skim-Milk Approach to Employees

What is the name of the site and URL?

Our name is “docrobot DIY Documents”, and our website is at

A brief synopsis of the website / application?

If I walked up and asked you “How much do you make?”, you’d likely look at the number at the bottom of your pay slip and tell me that.

Your HR department would despair. They know that salary is one of the weakest ways to keep employees engaged ( They go to great lengths to get other benefits for employees: anything from free coffee to company cars to pensions.

Even better, for many such programmes, the more employees that join them the more the company or the employees gain from them.

HR departments have created Total Reward Statements (TRS) to communicate the range of benefits that a company offers to its employees in addition to salary. This gives prospective employees more reason to want to come to the company. It gives current employees reasons to want to stay, and can also instruct them what benefits are available and how to sign up. It can even be used to tell them how much they are financially missing out on by not joining!

However, TRS can be quite a challenge to produce, and can take lots of time and cost a fair amount of money. This limits the availability to large offices that have the luxury of planning some way ahead.

This is where docrobot becomes useful. docrobot offers Variable Data Printing, (sometimes called variable information printing), or Do-It-Yourself documents. It’s very much the skim-milk version of document creation that allows you to take control of the process.

One person creates a template in much the same way as a word processor. Logic is added to specify which fields are shown or hidden. The data about employees is loaded into Excel-compatible spreadsheets, and then uploaded to the server. The author gets a PDF file or files as output.

This PDF file can be sent electronically to employees at that point, or it can be printed and delivered to the customer’s office within 5 days.

If the template doesn’t change next year, just upload the data, and generate new PDF files.

We’re also looking for customers interested in low-cost online TRS so that we can build our offering for them as well.

Why did you start this company?

My wife is a Senior HR person in a large company. She’s worked in 4 major multi-national companies over the last 15 years. One of her jobs in each of them was to create TRS, and in each of them she’s been unhappy with some aspect: cost, speed, flexibility.

docrobot is a response to those problems. It can cost less than 10% of a full-fat solution, TRS can be delivered in 10% of the time, and with more flexibility.

This means that she can have TRS in small regional offices, or for spur-of-the-moment events like job fairs that simply couldn’t have been given TRS before.

There have already been several interesting situations:

1) Almost done with a TRS, the country manager called 45 minutes before they were to be delivered, and asked for the colour and order of fields in a pie chart to be changed. 10 minutes later, and we were done.

2) A regional office wanted to bring TRS to a job fair for recruiting. We were able to create those in less than a day. The next day, the local office had them printed just around the corner.

3) A regional office was suffering from bad morale, and a competitor was trying to poach the bulk of the staff by offering 3% better salaries, and cutting benefits by 10%. After being given their TRS showing all their benefits, not one employee left.

Was your company started on a shoestring budget or funded?

On a shoestring budget. We could have gone for funding, but it just wasn’t necessary.

We are taking advantage of virtual servers, the best of open source software, and hand-picked commercial software to very efficiently deliver our tool.

We wrote the software to scale as demand ramps up. We simply add more servers. For that reason, we can now handle creating TRS for even the largest companies.

In addition, we’re running as a Lean Startup, which means that we can pass along the savings to our customers.

Who is your competition, and what do you do better?

We compete with traditional scripted printing solutions on the high end and consultancies using purpose-built variable data printing software on the low end.

What we do better:

docrobot is quick.

It’s meant to be used by regular people.

It’s flexible (PDF or printed, it is up to you).

It is designed to be reusable year on year.

It is more accurate. Once you’ve built your data, it’s not touched/entered/changed by human hands.

We’re aiming to deliver TRS for less than the cost of a chocolate bar per employee.

Why would a small business, entrepreneur, freelancer, etc use your product?

We’re interesting to small businesses because you can deliver TRS in a fast affordable way, even to very small offices that most companies would struggle to reach.

We’re interesting to large businesses because you get the flexibility and speed that no other solution can provide.

We’re interesting to consultancies of all sizes because our tool lets you offer outstanding reliability, service, and responsiveness to your customers. Other consultants won’t be able to match your offering.

How could you effectively use these tools?

docrobot is a web application meant to be used on Windows or Macintosh computers, without having to get IT to install any software in your organisation. (Linux computers are a possibility if there’s customer interest).

You log on to the web site with your favourite web browser (most modern web browsers should work just fine) and get started as soon as your company’s account is created.

A short bio of your company ?

docrobot was created in 2010 to build tools and services for harried HR teams. The main product is a tool that was created to let you deliver fast, flexible and reliable Total Reward Statements. We will offer more modules in more countries over time.

Are there different pricing levels?

We offer 3 packages for our paper-based TRS:

per TRS – for companies that want to do 1-4 TRS in a given year.

per annum – for companies that have a variety of TRS projects in a given year.

per consultancy – for a consultancy that would like to use this software with many customers.

We are looking for customers interested in exploring online TRS in an affordable way as well.

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How do you see your company in the next 2-5 years (more products or services?)

The goal this year is to focus on growth in UK and the US. Next year we’ll aim to grow into the West European market, and the year after that into Eastern Europe. As staff levels allow, we’ll be adding different tools and services to broaden our HR reach.

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