A single query led to a full HR overhaul at Barques. Here's how, and why, it happened...


Barques is a full-service marketing agency based in Birmingham. Emma Cosgrove, Finance & HR Manager, tells us a little bit about her company:

“We provide a full range of marketing and branding services that connect our clients with new customers. Our in-house team specialises in everything from PR and social media to graphic design and digital services, such as e-marketing, web design and SEO.

“We work with a wide range of public and private sector organisations and charities in industries as diverse as manufacturing, property, asset management, technology and education.

“We employ a busy team of 18 industry professionals and are looking forward to celebrating our 30th anniversary in October.”


It was a single query regarding probationary periods that put Emma in touch with Croner. After the first conversation, Barques decided to take on Croner’s services for a full overhaul of their HR documentation.

“We came to Croner because we wanted to update our employment contracts and all of our HR documentation. I initially phoned Croner to ask a question around whether we could change notice periods for staff from one week to one month.

“Following on from the advice we received we decided to undertake a full HR overhaul. I looked at a couple of different HR providers, but Croner seemed more on-the-ball than everyone else.

“Part of my role is to manage HR, but we don’t have an HR team. So, Croner have come on board to cover most of the HR elements and I distribute and communicate them to our team.”

How We've Helped

Barques is a BrightHR client. This platform helps HR to cut back on admin, create rotas, sort holiday requests in seconds, and record absences in a click.

“I really like the BrightHR system,” Emma states, “it’s very easy to navigate, it’s nice and bright to look at and it’s incredibly user-friendly.”

While BrightHR is being rolled out, Barques have utilised a documentation review, the 24/7 Croner advice line, and an on-site SafeCheck:

“So far the most useful element of the Croner service has been the reworking of the employment handbook—all of the amends are great. I’ve utilised the advice line a couple of times, mostly relating to disciplinary procedures and conduct issues.”

The Croner advice line is operated 24/7, 365 days per year. Pragmatic advice is delivered by specialist advisors, giving clients peace of mind and tailored guidance, unique to their situation.

“We’ve also had a SafeCheck visit from a consultant, James Dean. He was really nice, very helpful, and easy to talk to—he just ran us through the health & safety considerations around the office.

“As we’re a relatively new client we’re still in the process of getting everything up and running, however I can say it’s made my life a lot easier by easing some of the burden of HR. I’d definitely recommend Croner’s service to any business working in the marketing sector and to businesses of a similar size to our own.”

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