Frustrated by a time-consuming legacy system, Ashfords researched the market for a more user-friendly solution that would provide better functionality, collaboration, employee self-service and reporting.
Ashfords LLP is a specialist in business and personal law, based in Exeter but has officed across the south-west in Bristol, Taunton, Tiverton and Plymouth, as well as London.
Established in 2004, its personal services cover family law and divorce, clinical negligence, personal injury, and property, among others.
On the business side, its team of experts work in a number of sectors – from retail and housing, to agriculture and the public sector – helping organisations navigate the complexities of employment law, immigration, disputes and other legal matters.
The Exeter headquarters has a workforce of nearly 300 people (including partners, associates, solicitors and paralegals), and there are around 200 more working at the firm’s brand offices. Its 15-strong HR department comprises of a mix of generalists and specialists in recruitment and L&D.
What were the objectives?
The HR team needed a solution that would speed up daily tasks by creating a culture of collaboration and employee self-service.
The HR team had become frustrated by the legacy system in place at the time and wanted a user-friendly platform with better functionality and the ability to efficiently collate, and report on data.
Given the size of the organisation, and the fact that people are based in different offices, the HR team also wanted to make it easier to coordinate annual leave.
Having used Access People’s software in the past, the next logical step for Ashfords was to launch the latest version of SelectHR with the Premier Plan and integrate it with Access Payroll.
The successful roll-out was, in part, down to the collaborative approach members of the HR team took. Driven by efficiency goals, the HR team worked together to ensure they got the most out of the software.
In addition, Ashfords have made use of the consultancy days, included in their plan, and later added the Onboarding module for new starters.
We have the Premier Plan, so we have a dedicated analyst who knows our system inside and our, as well as a customer success manager. It’s a collaborative relationship, so even though Access SelectHR is an off-the-shelf product, it has been configured to suit our needs.
Since launching the software, those working in Ashfords’ HR department have seen the time it takes to complete tasks dramatically reduced.
As well as being in a stronger position to spot any potential problems, for example, around sickness absence, they are also upskilling the team.
“Even though I am not that techy, I am comfortable using all aspects of the system and have become a superuser. I’ve developed new skills and can personalise the software to meet our needs. Now I am introducing an apprentice to the system and looking at how else we can use it in the future,” says Jessica Iley, HR Assistant at Ashfords LLP.
“We are in the process of getting rid of our huge payroll spreadsheet, for example, because information is now automatically updated through the software,” continues Jessica.
Buy-in from the wider workforce proved straightforward, with employees making full use of the self-service function to book annual leave. Managers now receive a timely reminder when an employee’s member’s probation review is due, along with relevant documentation, so HR does not have to chase them to arrange a meeting.
The onboarding module has been an effective way to engage people before they have joined the company, giving them a taste of workplace culture using videos. Furthermore, it has reduced the paperwork burden for HR by promoting self-service right from the start.
Jessica says the reporting function, headcount reports, self-service and onboarding have all become essential tools for the department.
“We have the Premier Plan, so we have a dedicated analyst who knows our system inside and out, as well as a customer success manager. It’s a collaborative relationship, so even though SelectHR is an off-the-shelf product, it has been configured to suit our needs. It really helps to have our customer success manager’s perspective, since she sometimes questions our processes to help us achieve our goal of working more efficiently,” concludes Jessica.
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